The 2017 Ford Escape Titanium EcoBoost 2.0 is Still the Best-driving Small Crossover You Can Buy
Hop out of your 1992 Toyota Camry Wagon in the Costco parking lot and tell me what you see. Plenty of Accords and Altimas and Camrys, I’m assuming. Large numbers of F-150s and Silverados and Rams, maybe even the odd Tacoma here and there. Some minivans and big SUVs.
And legions of small crossovers.
Many of those small crossovers — call them SUVs if you want, it matters not — are downright affordable. Some are powerful. Few are both.
Fewer still are affordable, powerful, and a real joy to drive. The 2017 Ford Escape EcoBoost 2.0 is affordable and powerful. It’s also the best small, affordable, and powerful crossover to drive.
That fact surely matters to at least 12, maybe even 13, of the 26,000 Americans who purchase or lease a Ford Escape every month, and it surely matters not one whit to the nearly 29,000 Americans who acquire Toyota RAV4 every month.
Admittedly, it’s a nugget of truth that does not negate other truths. Fun, yes, but the Ford Escape could stand to be more spacious inside, particularly aft of the rear seats. There are chintzy bits strewn about the interior, from the sunglasses holder and shift paddles to the main circular audio control button that depresses with a scrunch. Our CAD $44,689 tester, loaned to GoodCarBadCar by Ford Canada, was most certainly not affordable. (Equipped similarly, this 2017 Escape would retail at $39,330 in the United States.)
But EcoBoosted 2.0-liter Escapes don’t need to be expensive. A 2017 Ford Escape SE with a 2.0-liter and all-wheel drive is currently discounted to $27,290 on Ford.com. Affordable box: checked.
Small box: checked automatically – the Escape is 14 inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than a Fusion.
Powerful? Most definitely. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder now produces 245 horsepower. 275 lb-ft of torque come on stream at 3,000 rpm. Expect a 0-60 miles per hour time of roughly seven seconds; a 50-70 mph time of around five seconds.
Objectively, we can say the 2017 Ford Escape EcoBoost 2.0 is small, affordable, and powerful. Yet making the case for the Escape as the best compact crossover to drive isn’t so difficult, either.
Relative to most rivals, turn-in is immediate. Grip from this Escape’s 235/45R19 Continental ContiProContacts is confidence-inspiring. Mid-corner composure is maintained despite a sudden, unexpected onslaught of poor pavement. Steering offers feedback, a characteristic so rare in modern vehicles that some prospective customers will think there’s something wrong with the Ford’s rack and pinion. The Escape even rides well on rougher roads, although the optional 19s, confronted with expansion joints, reveal a measure of sharpness I could live without.
The verdict after driving the facelifted 2017 Escape in the city, on the highway, and on serpentine rural roads: Ford’s compact SUV manifests the same Blue Oval ride/handling tendencies that make the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Mustang exceptional on-road companions, as well.
The Mazda CX-5 is a surprisingly sweet corner carver, a livelier compact crossover that puts fun first. But don’t expect an abundance of power. Mazda doesn’t do abundant power.
Subaru’s turbocharged Forester XT is downright swift and undeniably pleasant to pilot, but there’s a hint of softness that exists in the Subaru, less interactivity, and a CVT. Forester XTs also start at $30,170.
Volkswagen Tiguan? It’s nimble, but also showing signs of age. Many others — the top-selling Honda CR-V, most notably — focus on desirable attributes such as ride quality: less sharpness, less tactility, more isolation
But the Escape is the driver’s compact crossover, the small and affordable and powerful utility vehicle for the wannabe Mustang buyer who lives in a snow belt with kids and a dog.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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"The 2017 Ford Escape Titanium EcoBoost 2.0 is Still the Best-driving Small Crossover You Can Buy" How much is TTAC getting paid by Ford for all of the fanboy articles like this one? Best driving? It drives like a shoe. It rides like you're constantly on a washboard road. Add to that the fact that it's noisy, has an interior that was designed by a blind person, one of Ford's lowest quality vehicles, is cramped, gets relatively poor fuel economy, and is hideous. By all accounts, the Escape is an awful vehicle.
I test drove about 20 small crossovers and ended up with the escape. The only non luxury crossover that might have driven as good or better was a Kia Sportage sx turbo but it was not as fast and too small. Cx5 had good steering but very low cornering limits. The escape's lateral grip seemed to be on par with the gla and X1(which had good body control but seemingly low grip tires). Most of the dealers used the same driving route so it was easy to test the dynamic behavior on the same on ramps.