Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ford's popular Escape reworked for 2017

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – You might call it the sport-utility vehicle for the rest of us.

The Ford Escape isn’t a luxury liner, but it’s nicely equipped.  It can be had for a reasonable price, enabling you to stick with just one job to pay for it.  The Escape is uncomplicated and utterly functional.  It can be an errand-runner or a comfortable daily driver-commuter.

What’s not to like?  No wonder it’s so popular, with annual sales topping 300,000. That makes it Ford’s second-best seller behind the longtime overall sales champ, the Ford F-Series of pickups.

Turns out there’s more to like about the Escape in 2017, as it gets a major reworking.

My tester was the 2017 Escape SE FWD priced at $25,100 to start and a relatively hefty $29,975 on the bottom line with a significant lineup of optional extras.

About those changes for 2017 …

Ford tweaked the Escape’s hood and trapezoidal grille, giving the SUV an attractive, sporty appearance that also looks capable of smashing through some serious mud in off-road mode.

Inside, the gear shifter has been moved, storage bins have been added and a push-button electronic parking brake has replaced the previously entrenched, hand-operated version.

Those changes alone create a more comfortable and functional cabin.

Power on my ride came from a 1.5-liter turbo 4 that was adequately enthusiastic when asked and quietly efficient on freeway runs.  It’s rated just shy of 180 horsepower.

As has been true of past Escapes, this one handled very much like a midsize sedan, a very good thing.  And volunteer passengers were impressed with the amount of interior room.

Fuel mileage is pretty fair at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Cool standard features included the “ice blue” lighting arrangement, a 10-way power driver’s seat and easy-to-use audio controls on the steering wheel.

The tester had extras that included a power liftgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and special 19-inch black-aluminum wheels.  The options were nice, but I would have been perfectly happy with the standard perks.

Oh, and the Escape can be had with adaptive cruise control, a collision-warning system and auto start-stop technology.  As usual, I disabled the start-stop feature for my driving tastes, but just making the point: the Escape really goes beyond the basic SUV.

It’s worth your consideration, whether you are looking to trade in an older sport-ute or pondering your first-ever SUV.

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