The 2017 Ford Escape Titanium EcoBoost 2.0 is Still the Best-driving Small Crossover You Can Buy

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
the 2017 ford escape titanium ecoboost 2 0 is still the best driving small crossover

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 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, 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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  • EBFlex EBFlex on Dec 01, 2016

    "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.

    • Steveua Steveua on Dec 06, 2016

      Exactly. I was in the market a year ago, and drove almost all of the cuvs. I distinctly remember the escape, the short wheelbase, trembly shenanigan of a ride, the cheap hard plastics, the weird dash design (must have been 50% off giant recessed infotainment binnacles at the supplier) and the questionable ergonomics. Plus Sync. Yuck.

  • Nr9taik Nr9taik on Dec 20, 2016

    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.

  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.
  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.