two thousand seventeen Ford Escape first drive

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 4:57 PM

The humble, tiny SUV has been plugging far well into the six-digit sales for years, emotional over 300.000 out showroom doors latest year alone.

two thousand seventeen Ford Escape first drive

Freshened Escape has everything a tiny SUV buyer could possibly want

Everyone knows that the F-150 is the biggest-selling Ford on the market, but did you know what the second-biggest seller is? It’s the Escape. The humble, tiny SUV has been plugging far well into the six-digit sales for years, emotional over 300.000 out showroom doors latest year alone. It’s not surprising since Americans bought five million SUVs latest year -- one-third of industry sales -- and SUVs are on-track to create up forty % by 2020.

Of all those sport utility sales, the tiny SUV subset is the fastest-growing, from 1.2 million in two thousand-eighth to over three million latest year. Consider that in the year two thousand, when the Escape entered the market, there were only six tiny SUVs (bonus prize if you can title them all!). Presently there are twenty-one entries, with all manufacturers represented, some with two entries. One more stat -- there are over 2.4 million Escape owners in the U. S.

So into that growing pool dives the two thousand seventeen Escape, new from the A-pillar forward and from the C-pillar aft. The interior is also all-new, and there are two new-to-the-ute engines.

You could be forgiven if you thought that the only thing today’s buyers are looking for in a car, truck or SUV is connectivity and electronic gee-whiz functions. The two thousand seventeen Escape has more connectivity than a millennial high school reunion. For instance, it'll be the first vehicle from Ford to proposal Sync Connect, which through FordPass allows owners to utilize their connected phone to locate, lock, unlock and start their Escapes. The remote start function sets the climate interior the Escape just right for when the driver gets in. This is very kind in colder or very hot climates, where a warmed-up or cooled-down interior is a large plus. You can program when you wish the engine to start, too, assuming you leave at the same time every day. But having the car sit there idling while you attempt to recollect where you keep your lunch and your briefcase probably cancels out the eco-benefits of another new feature on the Escape, Auto Start-Stop, which shuts down the engine whenever the Escape stops. Better to tough it out for a few minutes waiting until the interior gets freezing or hot, we say.

Sync Connect can also discover open parking spots, as well as nearby gas stations, 7-Elevens, McDonald's “and more.” And Sync three supports AppleCarPlay and AndroidAuto.

There are also loads of new-to-the-Escape safety features like: enhanced active park-assist that steers your car into parallel or perpendicular parking spots, adaptive cruise control, collision warning that automatically applies the brakes to avert or mitigate a rear-ender, lane-keeping and, if none of that does the trick, a driver alert system that flashes a warning and even vibrates the wheel if it thinks you’re dozing off. That chilly hands-free liftgate that opens the rear hatch when you wave a ft below the rear bumper is also available. In the future, the FordPass platform will authorize everything up to and including autonomous driving.

But the Escape also ticks the boxes that buyers have traditionally wanted ticked in generations past: power, handling and a comfortable ride. You've a choice of two new-to-Escape engines: a 175-hp EcoBoost 1.5-liter turbo I4; another EcoBoost, this one the 245-hp 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo I4. The base engine, meanwhile, which Ford thinks will create up only fourteen % of sales, is a 2.5-liter 168-hp four. All three powerplants are mated to six-speed automatics. The two EcoBoost engines are available with all-wheel drive that can transfer one hundred % of the torque from the front axle to the rear should it detect any slip.

We drove the two thousand seventeen Escape around the hills of Malibu and found a firm ride with responsive handling by the standards of the class. We wondered if it was too firm for tiny SUV buyers’ tastes. But Chris Mazur, global program manager for Escape, said the setup was actually “more compliant than before,” thanks to larger-diameter rear shocks, new and unique tuning and the switch from progressive-rate to linear-rate rear springs. We couldn’t really autocross the thing, but it's more fun to drive than arch-competitors love the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Ford is also pleased of all the noise-reduction work it did on the new Escape, including laminated glass, an acoustic windshield, insulated wheel arch liners and added insulation in the doors. “It will continue to be best in class for wind noise, road noise and NVH,” said Mazur. It sounded noiseless for the class, indeed.

The interior is generally a lot nicer too, with a reworked dash and middle console, made roomier by the switch from large parking brake lever to an electric parking brake. There are elbow rests throughout, a feature Ford is particularly pleased of since engineers and execs kept bringing them up all day.

Power? Yeah, sure, the SE and Titanium models with the EcoBoost fours we drove felt more than responsive sufficient for suburban needs. But this is the tiny SUV class, remember; it’s only “sporty” by the standards of the class.

As Ford admitted at the start, there are twenty-one tiny SUV models for the Escape to compete against. To stay on top means unloading the kitchen sink, and Ford has certainly done that. Neat technology is what people wish nowadays, true, but they also wish a responsive ride with a comfortable, practical interior.

The Escape has all of the over but so do so many competitors. With a starting price of $23.600, $25.100 for an SE and $29.100 for a range-topping Titanium, it’s well priced to support its position; it's also a grand time to be a compact SUV shopper.

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