Read the 2017 Ford Escape's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2017 Ford Escape's long-term updates.
What We Got
Compact crossovers have eclipsed sedans in popularity with an appealing combination of versatility and practicality. That trend was enough to interest us in the 2017 Ford Escape. With its new exterior styling, updated smartphone connectivity and a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the updated Escape made us pull out our checkbook and buy one for a yearlong test.
Of the three available trim levels (S, SE and Titanium), we opted for the midlevel Escape SE. Getting the SE meant we could upgrade to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as well as opt for the SE Technology package, which included Ford's newest Sync system.
The base MSRP for our Escape SE was $26,850, but after adding the upgraded engine, Technology package and a few other small options, the MSRP climbed to $32,950. We negotiated and took advantage of an available purchase incentive, which brought the price down to $29,646 before tax and title. Then we got to driving. Here are some highlights from our year of testing the 2017 Ford Escape.
"Light steering and a small turning circle give the Escape great maneuverability. Generally speaking, this is one of the easiest cars to drive in our test garage. With its fold-flat second-row seat and boxy interior shape, it is also one of the most versatile." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing
"I wouldn't go as far as to say you have to get the updated 2.0-liter engine in the Escape, but if it were my decision I would pay up for the privilege. I say privilege because this engine is incredibly smooth and powerful for a vehicle in this class. It makes getting on the highway a breeze, and the occasional pass around a slow-moving truck barely takes a modest squeeze of the pedal. It's a feeling you don't often get with many of the four-cylinder engines found in the Escape's competitors." — Ed Hellwig, senior editor
"Having tested the turbo 1.5-liter-powered Escape just this past week, I really appreciate the difference just a half-liter makes. The smaller engine car weighed in at 3,620 pounds, roughly 200 pounds lighter than our long-term car due in part to its front-wheel-drive layout, but was 2.5 seconds slower getting to 60 mph. On top of this, the 1.5-liter car is only rated 1 mpg better across the board. I'll gladly make that trade for the 2.0-liter's juice." — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager
"To the surprise of nobody, our Escape got mediocre fuel economy in September, averaging 19.6 mpg. As Dan Edmunds wrote in our June update, it is possible to get high fuel economy. But the long-term trend for the Escape and its energetic turbocharged engine has definitely been subpar." — Brent Romans, senior editor
"During the month of August, we turned the fewest miles and the lowest average fuel economy since taking ownership of our 2017 Ford Escape. With commuting making up the majority of the 322-mile month, our Escape returned a disappointingly low 17.4 mpg average. This was enough to drop our lifetime economy by a tenth of an mpg — no big deal — right as we clicked over our 20,000-mile target." — Jonathan Elfalan
"These seats are excellent. Initial comfort is good, bolstering is respectable for a vehicle in this class, and I love the material. Everyone is pushing faux leather into the market that looks good but doesn't feel nearly as nice. It's so refreshing to have a quality cloth seat to sit on." — Travis Langness, automotive editor
"The Escape is a pleasant-riding machine that soaks up rough roads cleanly and doesn't jostle the occupants. And it does this without being overly floaty and buoyant. Ford seems to have found the sweet spot." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing
"I can see why compact SUVs are becoming the go-to vehicle for families. Our Escape has all the space you need 90 percent of the time. Whether you're hauling people or cargo, it has just enough room to squeeze it all in. Plus, when you're running errands and navigating parking lots, its smaller size makes it far easier to maneuver into tight spots and around sharp turns. As nice as it is to have a third row sometimes, the larger dimensions that come along with it can be a pain." — Ed Hellwig
"I had doubts that our newly purchased bathtub would fit into the Escape. There wasn't a lot of wiggle room front to back or side to side. But I needed only drop the second-row seat flat and slide it in." — Mike Schmidt
"The Escape's interior feels large, but something about the design rubs me the wrong way. It could be the materials, especially the cheap-looking and cheap-feeling stuff around the steering wheel. It might also be the squeaks and rattles I've heard emanating from the center console. Either way, there's this rental car sensation I can't quite shake." — Carlos Lago, senior writer
"Before I go all Debbie Downer on the Escape, let's be clear. I like the Escape. In fact, I like it a lot. That's why the tiny fails I noticed — the kind of interior fit and finish blunders that made me literally blurt out 'Oh come on!' — bother me so much. Not because the mistakes are big or gross, or that they take away from performance or functionality. But when you miss something that is in the driver's line of sight, it shows a lack of attention to detail. It's like being served a drink at a restaurant in a glass that has lipstick on it. I owned a Ford Edge a few years ago and dug it. I felt confident it was made well. Small details like these misses don't inspire the same confidence." — Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor
Audio and Technology
"Sync 3 might be great overall, but the satellite radio streaming quality is garbage. I like audiophile quality. I can't afford it, but I like it. And I can tolerate a wide range of sound quality, but not the overcompressed warble that comes through the Escape's speakers when listening to SiriusXM. The sibilance on vocals, the phasing cymbals — it's bad. Like Napster-circa-2000-96-kbps bad. Satellite radio inherently has these bandwidth/compression issues, but the radio receivers in most of our other long-term cars sound decent. The Escape stands out as awful." — Dan Frio, staff writer
"I love listening to music from my personal library, and I don't have an unlimited data plan on my phone. These reasons are why I break out my old-school, final-generation iPod Classic when I get tired of satellite radio and podcasts. Sync 3 seems to hate indexing my iPod library. Between the Lincoln Continental and the Escape, I usually have to go through several iPod resets and vehicle on-off cycles before I can select music through the touchscreen. With our long-term Chevy Volt, I just plug in the iPod and my music is accessible about 30 seconds later." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"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." — Brent Romans
"We started up our Ford Escape after it had been parked for a couple days to find a TPMS warning light. After a quick inspection, we found a screw in the rear passenger-side tire. Our late-afternoon discovery necessitated a trip to a local Just Tires shop because of its late closing time. The cost was about 30 minutes of our time and 34.73 of our dollars." — Michael Massey, vehicle testing assistant
"I'm gonna keep beating this drum with current Ford products: There's just not enough driving range for comfort in these cars. I pulled into a gas station today with 257 miles on the Escape's trip meter and an indicated zero — zero! — miles to empty. The computer said I was averaging 18.7 mpg, which is pretty typical for this powerful rig. So we're talking about a real-world range of 250 miles in mixed driving, give or take. Our old Mustang GT had similar issues, as does our current Lincoln Continental. Sure, you can plan around it, but 250 miles? A Chevy Bolt can do that! I'd like to see Ford's gas tanks grow by a few gallons to make 300 miles between fills a distinct possibility. Feels like we're getting shortchanged as things stand." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
Maintenance & Repairs
During our test, the Escape had two regular services: one at 10,000 miles and a second at 20,000 miles. Both services were performed by local dealers, and each included an oil change and tire rotation. The first service cost $61.27, and the second service cost $44.75. The two services were performed at different dealerships, which likely explains the difference in cost. A wayward pebble sent us running to Safelite for a replacement windshield, which cost $482.06.
No recalls were issued during our test.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA-estimated fuel economy for our 2.0-liter turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Escape is 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway). After 22,275 miles, we averaged 20.6 mpg. Our most fuel-efficient tank was 32 mpg, and our best range between fill-ups was 408.3 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
Our Escape had an MSRP of $32,950, including destination. We paid $29,646 before tax. After one year and 22,275 miles, the Edmunds TMV Calculator valued the compact crossover at $17,895 based on a private-party sale. We sold the car to CarMax for $18,000. This reflected 39 percent depreciation. To put that in context, our long-term 2014 Nissan Rogue depreciated by 29 percent and our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V lost just 18 percent of its value.
The impressive 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a well-sorted chassis made the Escape fun to drive, especially around curving roads. The smooth highway ride and comfortable seats also made the Escape very road-trip-friendly.
Middling fuel economy and a relatively small gas tank had us spending a lot of time at the pump. The Escape's disappointing cabin materials and an infotainment system prone to glitches left something to be desired. The resale value at the end of one year was significantly lower than that of competitors.
While we enjoyed driving our Escape and it proved itself a versatile crossover, we encountered a lot of small issues over the year we owned it. Creaks and squeaks, complaints about cabin materials, and massive depreciation at the end of the test stuck in our memory the most. The Escape is a respectable compact crossover, but it definitely isn't a class leader.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$482.06 (windshield replacement)|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$106.02 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||None|
|Days Out of Service:||None|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||32.0 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||12.6 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||20.6 mpg|
|Best Range:||408.3 miles|
|True Market Value at Service End:||$17,895 (private-party sale)|
|What It Sold For:||$18,000|
|Depreciation:||$11,646 (39% of paid price)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||22,275 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.