2017 Ford Escape review

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Despite the name change - Escape - Ford wants its repackaged mid-size SUV to be more in the spotlight for family buyers seeking something tech-savvy and punchy.

2017 Ford Escape

2017 Ford Escape

The 2017 Ford Escape is more a change of identity than a new SUV model. While retaining the core European design and build of the previous Ford Kuga, a judicious make-over and a return to the more recognisable Ford Escape nameplate is designed to give Ford a fresh start in the important medium SUV market.

And there are many places to start. With eight variants, there’s sure to be the right combination of engine, driveline and specification to suit a buyer’s individual needs. The starting point is the 2017 Ford Ambiente which comes with a 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine and the options of a six-speed manual (the only manual in the range) or six-speed automatic in front-wheel drive, and an automatic-only all-wheel-drive version.

In the mid-spec Ford Escape SUV Trend models, the choice is the 1.5-litre engine in front-wheel drive, a more powerful 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine (4x4) and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel (also all-wheel-drive) version. The top-of-the-range Ford Titanium models are all-wheel-drive, with either the 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engine.

2017 Ford Escape price

Pricing across the various equipment levels is competitive, from $28,490 plus on-road costs for the manual Ford Ambiente through to $47,490 for the Titanium diesel. Some cost savings, however, can be seen in things such as the steel wheels and cheap-looking hubcaps on the Ambiente. Even though Escape has a five-star ANCAP rating, the $1300 optional Technology pack available on the Trend and Titanium models has a range of highly desirable active safety features that make it a really worthwhile investment.

2017 Ford Escape

How does the 2017 Ford Escape drive?

As well as driving the 1.5-litre manual Ford Ambiente and the new 1.5-litre automatic Trend, we did our full car review on the Ford Titanium petrol model.

The Titanium’s 2.0-litre engine is one of the best performers in its class, with an impressive 178kW and 345Nm. With a new twin-scroll turbocharger improving the engine response, average acceleration over 400 metres was an impressive 15.4 seconds, around a full second or more quicker than most of its peers. A good spread of strong torque coupled with a well-matched, smooth-changing six-speed automatic provides excellent drivability around town. This performance, however, comes at a cost in fuel consumption, and our review car averaged a rather thirsty 10.8L/100km. Nor are running costs helped by the need for premium-grade (95-98 RON) petrol in the EcoBoost engines.

Being smaller, the 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine works harder and is not exceptionally strong down low but with its power and torque output of 134kW and 240Nm, which is around the class average, the performance is respectable. And its fuel economy improves by around 1.0-2.0L/100km depending on operating conditions.

In keeping with the performance ability, the Titanium has sharp, almost sports-car-like handling and braking, which is typical of the chassis dynamics found in Ford’s other European-sourced models. But for a vehicle of this type, the ride is a touch firm, due in part to the Titanium’s low-profile 18-inch wheels and tyres. Our test car’s steering feel, with the Lane Keep Aid (fitted as part of the Technology Pack), had a slight vagueness that we did not find in the base model with the standard steering and higher-profile, softer-riding tyres.

2017 Ford Escape interior

Design and layout

Refreshed exterior styling has smartened up the appearance of the Ford Escape, while the Ford Titanium’s leather-trimmed interior looks the part and has some excellent features. But the chunky dash layout is busy and not everything is user-friendly. However, the Ford SYNC3 communication and entertainment system has been upgraded to simplify its operation and it works well.

Front-seat occupants are perched relatively high on smallish but well-shaped seats that provide a good level of comfort and support. Leg and foot room in the back is adequate but not abundant, and the width is better suited to two rather than three adults. A good-sized luggage compartment is also compromised by a large step in the floor level when the rear seat is folded down.

Ford Escape servicing intervals

Service intervals are a conventional 15,000km or 12 months and the standard warranty is a basic three years/100,000km, whereas many competitors now have five or even seven-year warranties. Ford, however, does provide roadside service, through the state motoring clubs, for up to seven years or 105,000km. Membership is renewed each year when the vehicle is serviced as specified, and by a Ford dealer.

2017 Ford Escape

The RACV verdict

As a medium SUV, the 2017 Ford Escape delivers an interesting mix of appealing aspects, intermingled with a few compromises. The petrol Titanium’s class-leading performance and sharp handling create a sporty feel but it comes at the expense of fuel economy and some ride comfort, which are often high priorities for buyers wanting a family-friendly SUV.

RACV rating: ****

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FORD ESCAPE TITANIUM SPECS

Price

Ford Escape Titanium Price: $44,990 + $4853 (est) ORC.
Premium paint $550. Range $28,490-$47,490.

Safety

ESC. ABS. 7 airbags. Reversing camera. Front/rear sensors. Auto lights/wipers. ISOFIX fittings. Auto-levelling lights. Front/rear fog lights.

Connectivity

8” touch-screen. Sat-nav. Bluetooth. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. USB input. Music streaming. Digital radio.

Vehicle features

Dual-zone climate control. Leather trim. Heated front seats. Auto boot. Sunroof. Rear-seat tray tables.

Driver features

Powered driver’s seat. Fully adjustable steering column. Keyless entry/start. Auto-folding side mirrors. Auto parking assist.

Specifications

Drivetrain: 1999cc, 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. AWD. 6spd auto. 178kW@ 5500rpm, 345Nm@2000-4500rpm.
Performance:
0-60km/h, 3.2sec.  0-80, 4.9.  0-100, 7.6.  50-80, 3.4. 60-100, 5.1. 0-400m, 15.4.
Stopping from 80km/h, 22.4m. 
Fuel: 10.8L/100km (RACV test); 8.6L/100km (govt test). 60L tank. 95-98-RON petrol.
Wheels: 19” alloy, 235/45 R19 tyres. Temporary-use steel spare.
Towing limits: 1600kg, 160kg towball.
Environment: 197g/km CO2.

 

Service/repairs

 

12-month/15,000km services.
3yr/100,000km warranty.

RACV rating

****

Written by Greg Hill
November 24, 2017

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