My wife and I purchased a base model Escape S with no options except alloy wheels. Even in base trim, the 2016 Escape has some nice features. A backup camera, bluetooth connectivity, Ford Sync, Applink, power windows & locks, keyless entry, and full color screens on the dash and instrument cluster....all standard. In order to get some of these items, you have to step up from the base trim (the 2016 Kia Sportage is a good example...you can't get a backup camera in base trim). I was so impressed with the vehicle that we replaced my Ford Fusion with one. We now have two Escapes in the garage!
For a performance standpoint, the 2.5L naturally aspirated four cylinder is just adequate. Meaning it's not dangerously under powered, but it's no powerhouse either. It is quiet, smooth, and proving to be fuel efficient. It's also NOT direct injected, which should help avoid the carbon build up on the intake valves so may GDI engines suffer from. My wife never notices the engine being an issue. She just happily drives along oblivious to the fact that she has the "base model" engine. Myself, on the other hand, am a bit of a speed freak and the 2.5L is not winning any races. Just appreciate it for what it is...an old school, tried and true design that's been around in some form for many years. It's a workhorse and has proven reliable. It also has chain driven cams, so no worry about timing belts.
The Escape has a playful character. It rides a bit firm for a vehicle in this class, but having driven the Honda CR-V, which like all Hondas, is the equivalent of riding a dead horse. Very boring and isolated. If you like a little fun feel in your cars, the Escape won't disappoint. The handling is not sport car sharp, but it acquits itself nicely. When driven is the manner in which it is designed, it is above average. Steering is nicely weighted, especially for electronic steering, and feedback is good as well. The ride and handling of the Escape give it a fun to drive factor that is missing in most other CUVs.
Inside things are very nice for a base model. Soft touch surfaces abound, including on the tops of the door panels where tall folks like me rest their left arm. The center armrest is nicely padded and well located. Underneath it is a smallish bin that is deep and narrow. If the Escape falls short anywhere, it's in the center console. Two cup holders and a hand brake consume much of the space, with a 12v outlet and change pocket for those who have a toll to pay on their route (in which case a pass would be a better option). The new 2017 Escape is going to an electronic brake and moving the transmission selector to the side a bit to offer more storage space in the console. A welcome change!
Seats are nicely padded and even for my long legs (36" inseam) offer decent support. Legroom is also very good. I have no problem finding a comfortable driving position as the seats have plenty of adjustment and the tilt and telescoping steering wheel all conspire to fit even the most oddly shaped driver. Ingress and egress are nice. Not pickup truck high or sedan low....really the "goldilocks" of heights...just right. Doors open wide and offer plenty of room for even a big guy such as myself. On many cars my backside hits the steering wheel or the B pillar when getting in, but not on the Escape. Plenty of room for those large of stature.
The Sync entertainment system on the base model is not the touch screen driven system which has received so much negative press. In fact, if you get a 2016 Escape with the touch screen infotainment system, it is the new Sync3 system which is no longer made by Microsoft. Initial reviews have been very positive, but I have no first hand experience. Sound quality from the base system is, well....pretty poor. This is the case with most base level audio systems, so I'm not picking on Ford here. It's a price point audio system for sure. There are kits available to allow you to step up to an aftermarket system if you like, so if you are an audiophile, you have options. If you listen to mostly talk radio like I do...it's not a big deal and it works fine. There is bluetooth audio and hands free functions as well as USB connectivity. If you hold down the Sync button for a couple of seconds, it envokes Siri on your iPhone and even displays "Siri" on the center mounted dash display. The system works fine with no glitches, but I think Ford got a little button and menu happy. The standard AppLink integration works great and allows you to voice command many apps on your smartphone. I particularly like the AccuWeather app which will reach me the weather over the cars speakers.
So far, I'm really impressed. My wife and I drove almost every CUV offering, and while some were much nicer, they had a much higher price too. A competitor worth looking at is the base model Hyundai Tucson. It's very comparable to the Escape in features and comes with a longer warranty. You can buy an Escape for less thanks to discounts.
Been shopping for a small SUV for quite some time. Had a 2005 Ford Escape XLT and sold with 128,000 miles. Was excellent vehicle and had only regular maintenance, and no major repairs. After looking at what the current market has available (Honda Pilot, Toyota, GMC, Dodge and GM) and tested, kept coming back to the Escape. My main concern was no available V6, only the inline 1.6 or 2.0 with turbo. I worried about having to always run high rpm's and wasn't sure about engine longevity. After driving the Titanium with optional 2.0 L, Package 301 and navigation system a few times, I was completely sold on the 4 cylinder. Has great power, turbo is smooth and rpm's are surprisingly low. Comfortable ride and the new Sync3 is reasonably easy to learn. Fit and finish is also excellent. I did not opt for the 19" wheels, just the standard 18". Have read a few reviews that the 19" wheels made for a bit of a rougher ride. I did not test drive any that had the 19". With 240hp rating, it's much faster than my 2005 V6 was. I also have the class II towing package, rated at 3,500 lbs. At this time, I don't have anything near that range, so assuming it won't be a problem. Have also seen that various auto reviews have been very good. Hoping the reliability factor will meet with what I had on the 2005.
This is my second Escape and again, I was not disappointed. The car looks good, handles great and is a nice value. The size is perfect for me. It holds what I need in the cargo area (golf clubs, shoes, etc.) and is easy to maneuver. I got the 2.0L engine and it accelerates quite nicely. All in all, am delighted.
The 2016 Escape has been an outstanding SUV. I had a 2005 Mazda Tribute before this SUV and the upgrade to the 2016 Escape is outstanding. My fuel Economy is greatly improved and Maintenance is a lot lower. The Driving with the 2.0L has been a blast and the SUV has increasable speed that make you move. The very best thing in the SUV is the design and look inside as the model I have is the higher end with all the bells and whistles. I think for the price and what you get in this SUV is a great bargain as friends that drive MB and Audi model now prefer driving my Escape at time, Thanks FORD for a great new fast and comfortable SUV. I want to mention that I looks around at a lot of models including the Edge but found the smaller Escape better sized for my needs.
After four years of searching for an eventual replacement for our 2002 RAV4 (it simply will not die), we wanted more power, some luxury and modern safety features, all at a good price. We had test driven the Tiguan, Q3, Q5, RDX, CX-5, Forrester XT, Outback, X1, and X3. The only one that we really liked was the BMW X3, but we didn't feel like paying $45k+ for the privilege. We tried a 2.0l 4wd Titanium Escape with the 301A package, moonroof, and navigation and (with incentives) were out the door for under $30k. The Escape is quiet, fast, very comfortable and luxurious, is fun to drive, and has all the capabilities we wanted in a relatively compact package. Gas mileage has been approx 25 mpg in mixed driving. Time will tell if it will be as reliable as we hope, but so far we can't fault it or the value.
UPDATE 9000 miles: Above still applies with a few niggles: 1) not as much fun to drive as I had hoped as steering is heavy above 5 mph and much more boost at hwy speeds would be nice; 2) lack of upfront cubbies is annoying at times; and 3) front passenger seat doesn't go flat which affects the lengths of wood and sizes of furniture that can be carried on weekend Home Depot, IKEA runs.