Ford Escape On the horsepower front, 2017 brings the arrival of the turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, as well as a revised version of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost will be standard in the SE and Titanium trim levels, and although the numbers aren’t yet set in stone, it is projected to produce 180 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. The optional twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost has received new pistons and a redesigned exhaust manifold for improved efficiency and refinement; it is rated at 245 horsepower and an impressive 275 lb-ft. Returning for duty basically unchanged is the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which will be available only in the base S trim. All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic.
Trapezoidal grille aside, the 2017 Escape could easily be mistaken for the previous model, but plenty of fresh sheetmetal has been applied to the familiar shape. Essentially new from the A-pillars forward, the 2017 model's fascia, fenders, and headlamps have been redone, as has the aluminum hood. In an effort to quiet the interior, Ford beefed up the acoustic insulation in the A-pillars, front doors, and fender liners; engineers also reworked the windshield seal and switched to laminated acoustic glass in the doors. The tailgate and standard LED taillamps are new, and Ford even messed a bit with the suspension, replacing the rear progressive springs with linear units and fitting firmer dampers.
To free up some room and create additional storage in the console area, Ford ditched the manual parking-brake lever (time to develop a new winter-driving technique), replacing it with an electronically activated parking-brake button. The shifter has been moved to the spot where the brake lever was, to permit easier access to the climate controls, and the center armrest has been lengthened slightly. A new steering wheel offers redesigned controls, and the amperage of the USB ports has been upped to provide for faster charging. Ford says a wholesale upgrade of the interior materials was ordered, but without a 2016 Escape on hand for direct comparison, it’s hard to tell the difference.
The S, SE, and Titanium trim levels return, and a new Sport Appearance package will be available for the SE and Titanium. Three additional exterior colors—Canyon Ridge, White Gold, and Lightning Blue—join the order sheet, as do six new wheel designs in sizes up to 19 inches.
The Escape has been a runaway success for Ford, the maker selling more than 300,000 units in 2014 alone. With numbers like that, it’s easy to understand why Ford decided to tread lightly with this update to its popular compact crossover.