2017 Ford Escape Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
November 02, 2016
What Did We Buy?
When the Ford Escape was first introduced for the 2001, the idea of the compact SUV hadn't really taken off yet. Today, compact SUVs such as the Escape often outsell their midsize-sedan stablemates thanks to efficient engines, elevated seating positions and abundant features.
For the past several years the Escape has been one of the top-selling vehicles in the category. That success didn't stop Ford from pushing ahead, however; it gave the Escape a minor update to assure it stays competitive. We liked the modest improvements, so we decided to add a midlevel Escape to our fleet to see just how well it stacks up to the competition.
What Options Does It Have?
The 2017 Escape comes standard with seating for five, a four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels.
There are three trim levels. The base S trim comes with a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter engine only. In SE and Titanium trims, the Escape is available with a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Both the SE and the Titanium also offer the option of a new-for-2017 179-hp EcoBoost 1.5-liter or a higher-output 245-hp EcoBoost 2.0-liter engine.
We set our sights on the volume-selling SE with front-wheel drive. From there we wanted to try the more powerful 2.0-liter engine and add a few noteworthy options. Ideally, we were hoping to keep the MSRP under $30,000. We scoured Southern California for just the right model, but after coming up short, we ended up settling on an SE that met all of our criteria except for one — it was all-wheel-drive. It raised the price above our intended threshold but ultimately made our Escape a little more capable of handling some winter ski trips.
The Escape S has a starting MSRP of $23,600. Our step up to the SE raised that to $26,850. We spent another $1,295 for the 2.0-liter engine upgrade. Additional options on our car included a power liftgate ($495), Class II Trailer Tow Prep package ($495), a voice-activated and touchscreen navigation system ($795), 18-inch machined aluminum wheels ($595) and a cargo cover ($135). The total MSRP landed at $32,950.
We were able to negotiate a price of $31,646 before subtracting a $2,000 purchase incentive. So our total cost for our Escape was $29,646 before tax and title.
Why We Bought It
There's a reason why compact SUVs have become so popular. They're practical, easy to drive, reasonably priced, and available with most of the features shoppers are looking for these days. And, of course, sitting a little higher with a clear view of traffic ahead helps, too.
The Escape was one of the earliest entries in this category but slowly got overshadowed by new, more modern competitors over the years. The latest version looks as if it once again has just the right combination of performance, efficiency and features to measure up to any of the dozen or so vehicles in the class. We'll have plenty of time to try out the Escape's various upgrades during our yearlong test drive. Follow along on our long-term road test blog for all of our latest thoughts and impressions of this modern compact SUV.
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.
Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing @ 150 miles