2018 Ford Explorer
XLT 3.5L V6
Automatic (6 Speed)
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Shopping for a small crossover presents a dizzying array of options, but the Ford Escape is a smart, safe choice among a crop of great contenders. The 2017 Escape receives style and power upgrades, improved small item storage, and an updated tech interface that packs plenty of connected punch.
The Escape offers optional all-wheel drive, respectable fuel economy, a spacious cargo bay and an available hands-free power liftgate. You can outfit the Escape from comfortable casual (the SE trim with no options) to rugged luxury (a loaded Titanium model that can breach $40,000). On the road, its agility instills a level of driver confidence that's rare in this class.
For 2017, Ford has trickled some desirable features such as automatic climate control down to lower Escape trim levels. The old lever-operated parking brake has been replaced by a button, which frees up space for improved small item storage. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is now available. Finally, there's a new standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in addition to the optional 2.0-liter turbo-four.
2017 Ford Escape models
The 2017 Escape is a compact crossover SUV that comes in S, SE and Titanium trim levels. The S is fairly bare-bones but comes with features such as a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Sync 3 tech interface and smartphone integration. Most buyers will want to start with an SE, which introduces a new engine, nicer wheels, a power-adjustable driver seat and more available options. The top-trim Titanium adds luxury touches such as leather upholstery, a hands-free power liftgate and ambient cabin lighting.
The S starts with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Standard features include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, MyKey parental controls, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a 4.2-inch central display, a rearview camera, the Sync tech interface with AppLink smartphone integration, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB port. Note that this model is generally aimed at business fleet buyers and may not be an easy find on your local dealer's lot.
Upgrading to the SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels (optional on the S), a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine (179 hp, 177 lb-ft), foglights, a keyless entry keypad, rear privacy glass, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, rear air vents, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), upgraded cloth upholstery, a rear center armrest and satellite radio.
Optional on the SE is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (245 hp, 275 lb-ft), all-wheel drive, and the SE Technology package (also called Equipment Group 201A), which adds LED daytime running lights, roof rails, rear parking sensors, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, the upgraded Sync 3 technology interface (including an 8-inch touchscreen), a nine-speaker sound system with dual USB ports, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The available Cold Weather package includes heated front seats and mirrors, a windshield de-icer and a 110-volt outlet (if not ordered with the Technology package). To this, the SE Leather Comfort package adds an eight-way power passenger seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment) and leather upholstery. Also available are a hands-free power liftgate (requires the SE Technology package), 18-inch wheels and remote engine start.
At the top of the line, the Titanium combines the SE packages and options listed above with a slick foot sensor that opens the power liftgate. Also included is keyless entry and ignition, ambient interior lighting, driver-seat memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 10-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio. The 2.0-liter engine is also optional for the Titanium, as is adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.
The Titanium Technology package (Equipment Group 301A) includes xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, a heated steering wheel, lane departure warning and intervention, and an automated parallel and perpendicular parking feature (which includes front and side parking sensors).
A Sport Appearance package is available for the SE and Titanium. It adds black 19-inch wheels, black-painted exterior trim, LED daytime running lights and partial leather upholstery. Optional on both the SE and Titanium are a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.
The turbo four-cylinder gives the Escape rapid acceleration. Unlike many competitors, it never lacks for power. The transmission is a smooth operator, and the manual mode gives easy access to engine braking.
Brake performance is solid and consistent. The Escape was very stable, even during panic-simulation ABS stops.
It has an artificial steering feel, which is the norm these days for compact SUVs. Still, there's enough feedback to make you feel in control.
All-wheel-drive Escapes benefit from an advanced power distribution system that makes the Escape a capable handler as well as a solid all-weather choice. Front-wheel-drive Escapes also feel sure-footed thanks to the well-tuned suspension.
In most situations, the transmission responds quickly. It does get caught flat-footed on occasion, but not any more often than most SUVs in this class.
Overall comfort is good in the Escape. Its ride is amply compliant, even though it's one of the better-handling SUVs in the segment.
The Escape's seats provide all-day comfort. Heating, an option on some trim levels, is a nice touch.
The Escape has a surprisingly comfy ride surprising because it trades off very little in the way of ride quality in return for its excellent handling.
The Escape's turbo four-cylinder is much quieter than some competitors, especially at wide-open throttle. It also remains very smooth even at high engine speeds.
The climate control cluster (and LCD readout) feels as if it came from a mid-'90s Taurus, but hey, it works. You'll find large vents up front and center-console vents for rear passengers but no temperature or fan speed control.
For the most part the interior design makes sense and is easy to use. It's loaded with features, too, especially on the Titanium trim level. The quality of materials and assembly is good.
Ford has made it a point to place commonly used controls in reach and in sight, and it shows in the Escape. It may not look very elegant, but everything is where you would expect to find it.
The seat height in the Escape is just right. Similar to entering a minivan, there's no bending down to get in. The eight-way power driver seat in the SE trim is a nice touch. The combination of the seat and a manual tilt-and-telescope steering wheel makes it easy to find a comfortable perch.
We had no problems fitting comfortably into either the front or rear seats. Visibility out the front and the rear are only average.
Build quality is as good as you can expect in a vehicle in this price range. Materials appear durable and well put together.
Hard to argue with the Escape's available cargo space: 68 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The hands-free, foot-operated power liftgate also becomes a can't-live-without feature once you've used it.
The center console space is much improved with a new push-button parking brake (good-bye, lever!). Several nooks for devices, keys, cups and bottles, and a deep, narrow center console for larger items (wallets, sunglasses). Both front seats have seatback pockets for rear passengers.
The 60/40-split folding rear seats fold flat and flush to enhance cargo area and utility. There's no seatback release in the cargo area, so you'll need to walk around to the rear doors, but the seat-side levers make it quick work.
LATCH anchors are at the seatback surface, so there's no need to fumble and search under the cushion. Reinforcement anchors in the rear seatbacks are similarly easy to access.
Rated to tow as few as 1,500 pounds (base-model S) up to 3,500 pounds with the 2.0-liter engine and the optional Class II trailer tow package ($495). The new 1.5-liter engine models are rated at 2,000 pounds.
The new Sync 3 is a significant upgrade over the previous MyFordTouch infotainment interface. Improvements include clear touchscreen graphics, quick response time and easily navigable menus. SE's optional nine-speaker audio system won't blow away audiophile ears but should sound fine to most (10-speaker Sony audio system not evaluated). No auxiliary audio input, but dual USB ports and seamless Bluetooth compensate. The navigation system offers clean, clear map views and easy menu functions.
Easy Bluetooth pairing. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now included with optional Sync 3 system. FordPass with Sync Connect app enables various remote functions and vehicle health monitoring, even helps to find parking. AppLink (base-model S) enables voice control of various smartphone apps.
A rearview camera and blind-spot mirrors come standard, but blind-spot monitoring costs extra (via the SE Technology package). Forward collision alert and lane departure warning and intervention are also optional.
EQUIPMENT GROUP 200A
235/55R17 LRR A/S BSW TIRES
FLOOR LINERS, FRONT AND REAR
REVERSE SENSING SYSTEM
Package Configuration: 200A
* Note: We always do our best to provide the most accurate and up-to-date features and information. Please contact the dealer to confirm availability and details. Prices listed include all fees, but do not include GST and costs associated with financing.