2017 Ford Escape Debuts With Two New Engines, New Face
Refreshed SUV Comes Standard With Auto-Stop on EcoBoost Motors
Ford revealed the new face of its compact crossover today, showing the 2017 Escape in advance of its live debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Although it shares its basic structure with the current Escape, the refreshed crossover gets Ford’s new corporate face, a redesigned interior, two new engines, and an extensive list of newly available technology features.
The most apparent change between 2016 and 2017 is the Escape’s new sheetmetal, which takes cues from the 2016 Ford Edge. The new face does away with much of the family resemblance the Escape currently has to the Focus and Fiesta, and that may not be a bad thing. The new Escape’s styling is cleaner, giving it an upmarket look that separates it somewhat from its economy-car roots.
The interior will help with that mission as well. With a redesigned center stack and console, the Escape offers better styling, more storage space, and better ergonomics than before. Additionally, a massive list of newly available technology joins the options roster. For example, the 2017 Escape gets Ford’s first application of SYNC Connect, a smartphone link that allows drivers to remotely monitor their vehicles’ vital stats, lock and unlock doors, and locate the vehicle, handy for crowded parking lots and nights out on the town. Connect will even remotely start the vehicle, and owners can schedule future starts, although we’re not sure what function that feature serves.
New driver-assist technologies will also help the Escape feel like a premium product. Adaptive cruise control, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, automatic lane departure prevention, and fatigue monitoring were once features only offered on Lexus and Mercedes products, but they are a welcome addition to a family SUV like the Escape. They join existing convenience and safety technologies like blind spot monitoring and the Escape’s signature hands-free power rear liftgate.
Furthering the compact SUV’s green cred, Ford will offer two new EcoBoost engines: a 1.5L turbocharged I-4 and a 2.0L twin-scroll I-4. They will replace the 1.6L and 2.0L EcoBoost engines in the Escape’s lineup, respectively, and the front-drive-only 2.5L naturally aspirated I-4 carries over from the 2016 Escape. Optioning up to the EcoBoost not only nets a bit more power and torque, but auto-stop/start as well. The feature cuts down on fuel consumption and emissions by at least 4 percent in stop-and-go traffic conditions by shutting down the engine when the vehicle is idling. Once the light turns green and the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal to begin moving forward, the engine automatically restarts in less than half a second.
“Auto Start-Stop is the equivalent of turning off the lights when you leave a room, or turning off a water faucet when you’re done washing dishes,” says Milton Wong, Escape chief engineer. “It’s a high-tech approach to more efficient driving.”
Ford expects the 1.5L EcoBoost to make about 180 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, while the twin-scroll EcoBoost 2.0L should produce 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, and we expect them to meet or beat the fuel economy numbers of their forebears, which make a bit less power. Expect 27 mpg from the 1.5L and 26 mpg from the 2.0L.
As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think the 2017 Escape makes a case for itself. Available in three trim levels and with a variety of option packages, there should be a decent Escape option no matter who the buyer may be. Those considering an Escape would do well to wait for the new one to hit showrooms in spring 2016.
Ford Motor CompanyDearborn, MI 48126