A simple visual freshening doesn’t cut it for a mid-cycle update anymore, so Ford is applying some more significant changes to its popular Escape crossover for 2017. Along with its fresh new appearance, the 2017 Ford Escape also has two new powertrains, new tech features, and a significantly reworked interior.
The crossover’s visual changes bring the Escape’s face in line with the larger Ford Edge. A two-bar hexagonal grille and larger headlights give the Escape a slightly wider stance, and the rear end also looks a bit blockier than before, with taller taillights and a reshaped tailgate. Taken together, all these changes lend the 2017 Escape a slightly more imposing and truckish look compared to the outgoing model’s swoopier, more car-like lines.
Revisions to the interior of the 2017 Ford Escape focus more on functionality. A relocated shifter and a new electronic parking brake free up space on the center console for a few more storage compartments, and a different steering wheel makes it easier to see the gauge cluster. The new Escape also continues on with the redesigned Sync 3 infotainment system introduced on the 2016 Escape, and offers several new features including a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and a Sync Connect smartphone app that can unlock the doors, start the engine, and show the car’s fuel level.
The 2017 Ford Escape switches out its previous 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder for the more efficient 1.5-liter turbo-four that’s used in the Ford Fusion. It delivers a bit more horsepower and torque compared with the old engine—180 hp and 185 lb-ft—and should afford better fuel economy (we don’t yet have EPA numbers). The optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder uses a new twin-scroll turbo design, and now produces 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Both EcoBoost engines, which are offered on either the SE or the Titanium trims with either front- or all-wheel drive, also now come standard with engine stop-start. A naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder remains the sole engine choice for the base S model, and all three engines mate with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Ford also says it has retuned the 2017 Escape’s rear suspension for a more comfortable ride, and additional sound deadening should make the car a bit quieter than before. Option packages are reshuffled a bit to accommodate the newly optional equipment, SE and Titanium models will also offer a new Sport Appearance package, and three new hues are added to the exterior color palette.
After making its official debut at the 2015 Los Angeles auto show, the 2017 Ford Escape will go on sale in late spring 2016, likely with similar pricing as the 2016 model, which starts at $23,995.