2017 Ford Escape: Monthly Update for May 2017
by Brent Romans, Senior Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
We drove our 2017 Ford Escape about 1,700 miles in May. Alongside the normal commuting, we traveled from our Edmunds offices in Santa Monica, California, to Las Vegas for a video-related conference and, later in the month, made a trip to Fresno (home to this year's National Spelling Bee's champion, incidentally).
From all that, we've got newfound commentary about our Escape's fuel economy (maybe it's not as bad as we thought), reporting on a windshield repair, and observations on our Escape's lack of certain desirable features and its merit as a small crossover we'd recommend to friends.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our Escape's strong turbocharged 2.0-liter engine performance has gotten a lot of deserved love from our staff these past few months. But we've also previously reported that the obvious trade-off is fuel economy. From those 1,700 miles in May, it averaged just 18.7 mpg.
Not so great. But that's perhaps not as bad as some of my co-workers previously thought. I was checking fuel economy on our Escape and noticed that the EPA numbers we were listing — 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) — are for the front-wheel-drive Escape. Our Escape is all-wheel drive. As such, EPA fuel economy is actually 23 mpg (20 city/27 highway).
Lifetime, we're at 19.9 mpg. That's still below EPA combined. But if you've been following our Escape coverage, maybe a lowered expectation will help soothe the pain. I'll also follow up on a comment left on a prior update in which a reader asked if we've been filling up with regular or premium gas. We've put premium 91 octane gas in a few times, but the vast majority of fill-ups have been with regular.
Another observation: We list our best range below. But our average distance is more indicative of real-world driving. I looked at our Escape's fuel log. Since February 1, we've had to stop for gas every 206 miles, on average. Is the typical Escape owner with a turbo 2.0-liter engine under the hood going to put up with that?
Average lifetime mpg: 19.9
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (20 city/27 highway)
Best fill mpg: 26.6
Best range: 338.7 miles
Current odometer: 13,966 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
A couple guys from our video team drove our Escape to Las Vegas and back for a conference in May. On their return trip, a kicked-up rock hit the windshield and left a small crack. Over the next few days, the crack grew. So Vehicle Testing Assistant Michael Massey made an appointment to have the windshield replaced with Safelite. The total cost was $482.06. It took the technicians about an hour to complete.
"There is plenty of 'go' with this engine. It really picks up well from low rpm. It might even be a little too eager — the turbo-four's torque is fun and addictive. Naturally, the more often you revel in the acceleration, the worse the fuel economy." — Jason Kavanagh, road test editor
"As the miles have accumulated, our Escape's ride sounds clompier. And I don't know if it has always been like this but the steering, while quick, feels numb."— Jason Kavanagh
"The vertical center air vents don't cut it. They don't move a lot of air, and the air they do push tends to hit your right hand when you're holding the steering wheel. Their narrow, vertical nature also means the vents lack any meaningful adjustability and just kind of push the air wherever. When it's hot outside, they're not good for much." — Kurt Niebuhr, photo editor
"It's unfortunate that you have to spend at least $30,000 on the Escape Titanium edition to get keyless entry and start. Our Ford Escape SE had an MSRP of $32K, and it wasn't even an option on that trim. It is more convenient not to have to dig out the keys from your pocket when your hands are full. I realize that smart keys aren't universally liked, but we should at least have the option to buy it it on the middle trim. For comparison,many top rival small crossovers such as the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-5 come with this feature standard in their respective midlevel trims." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"I had a thought similar to what Ron wrote about regarding the lack of keyless ignition and start. I was wondering why there's not a leather-wrapped steering wheel on our midgrade Escape SE. It turns out that it's just an option we didn't get on our test car. For the SE, a leather-wrapped steering wheel is part of the SE Sport Appearance package or the Leather Comfort package. Both have an MSRP of more than $1,000." — Brent Romans, senior editor
"Every time I rest my arm on our Escape's center console, it squeaks. I can't tell what part of it squeaks, either. It's getting annoying." — Brent Romans
"Ford lists the Escape's cargo capacity at 34 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 68 cubic feet with them lowered. A few rival crossovers put up slightly bigger numbers, but the Escape should still be plenty useful for hauling goods. It's a big opening, and the rear seats fold completely flat." — Brent Romans
"I'm not one to leave a car's auto stop-start feature turned on, but I have no qualms with the Escape's. It's quick to fire, not overly quick to shut off, subtle and lets you make a quick getaway. And let's face it, our Escape needs all the fuel economy help it can get." — Kurt Niebuhr
"I've been driving our Escape for two weeks straight and been wondering if I'd recommend it to a friend shopping for a small crossover. The best I can come up with is 'maybe.' It's competent, yes, but there's nothing here that really jumps out to me as a major reason to buy an Escape. I suppose there's the strong 2.0-liter turbo engine, but I don't see that as a significant draw for most shoppers considering the lower fuel economy and short range." — Brent Romans