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2017 Ford Escape Review

Ford’s model refresh makes the compact SUV a strong contender in the market


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While technically just a refresh, Ford has made significant changes to the already solid Escape, giving the compact SUV a rugged new look and filling it with the latest technology.


Compact SUV

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1.5-litre 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, or 2.5-litre 4-cylinder
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Fuel economy
10.6L/100km city and 8.0L/100km hwy (2.0-litre, 4-cylinder)
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168 hp to 245 hp
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Front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive
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Six-speed automatic


Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Jeep Renegade

Best For

Drivers looking for a tech-filled crossover that’s capable on city streets and mountain roads.

It’s a tough gig competing in the SUV segment, even for an established model like the Ford Escape. So when it’s time for a refresh, it had better be something big.

With changes both inside and out, including a rugged exterior facelift, the addition of extra, larger cabin pockets and expanded SYNC 3 functionality, the compact crossover improves on an already good product. It’s also the first in Ford’s lineup to offer the SYNC Connect smartphone app.

From the front, the Escape looks like a completely different vehicle than its predecessor. It’s been given a large hexagonal grille, similar to the one on the mid-sized Edge, set in between revised headlamps featuring HID lighting on the top-of-the-line Titanium trim.

On the inside, the centre console has larger cup holders, plus front and back compartments (perfect for stashing remote fobs, keys and wallets). The bulky hydraulic handbrake has been removed and replaced by a smaller, sleeker electronic setup.

Press the engine start button and the SYNC 3 infotainment system fires up on the touch display screen, where everything from music to navigation can be easily controlled and monitored. For the first time, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, so users are able to access onboard smartphone functions. And, making its global debut on the Escape, Ford’s SYNC Connect app allows drivers to locate, lock/unlock and start their vehicle with a few taps of their iPhone or Google-powered mobile device.

Two new EcoBoost engines are available—a 1.5-litre or a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder, with 179 and 245 horsepower, respectively—and mated to a six-speed transmission. Base models come with front-wheel drive, while SE and Titanium have an all-wheel-drive option. 

Taking turns piloting each along the twisting, climbing roads of the Rockies (perfect testing conditions), both motors felt zippy, even when taking on the elevation on our drive from Calgary to Jasper. In a bout of rain, the standard torque-vectoring control did a good job of balancing engine torque on the front wheels to keep the steering composed and the crossover centred.

Although technically a facelift, the 2017 Ford Escape includes enough enhancements and upgrades to make it feel like an entirely new vehicle. Prices start at $23,765.