Ford Escape

                           The Veteran

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – One of Ford’s best sellers has been with us much longer than you may realize.

 When the original appeared Tiger Woods became the youngest player to win a Grand Slam in golf.

 A postage stamp cost 33 cents.

 Gas sold for $1.26 a gallon

 Sony released Play Station 2 and Microsoft Windows 2000. (Okay, that kind of gives it away.)  

 Ford released the first Escape in the year 2000 as a 2001 model with help from Mazda that sold its version as the Tribute.

 No one back then could have imagined the strong demand there is today for crossovers, SUV’s and trucks.

 After a week behind the wheel of a mid-range SE model I can say Ford has done an excellent job keeping the Escape up with the times.

 The crossover had the 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine with auto start-stop, 245 horsepower @ 5,500 and 275 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm matched to a six speed select shift automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter costs $1,295 extra.

 It will tow up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the Class II Tow Package.

 EPA says 25/22/29 mpg with FWD and 20/27/23 with 4WD. I came in at 23 in the FWD tester.

 A $1,395 equipment group package brought forth a reverse sensing system, roof rack, Blind Spot Detector, and Ford’s Sync system that accepts both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sync Connect on the test Escape allows owners with the new Pass Platform to lock, unlock and locate their vehicle and schedule remote starts and check fuel level on their smartphones.

 Ford wants you to know that SYNC Connect is enabled through FordPass platform, which is part of Ford Smart Mobility initiative to take “the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.” It will not remotely start your dish washer at home, but I am sure they are working on it.

 The test car also had another $1,295 worth of optional equipment that included 18” wheels, power liftgate, voice activated touch screen navi system, power side mirrors, heated front seats and some leather trim.

 Prices start at $25,100 for the base model SE. With   $6,170 worth of options the MSRP totaled $32,165 including delivery. Fully load up the top of the line Titanium model and you are playing tag with about $40K. Yikes!

 It is worth mentioning that Ford offers some individual optional items instead of bundling all of them up in expensive packages that may include items that buyers do not want.

 An all-new steering wheel features easy-to-work buttons to control audio, adaptive cruise control and SYNC 3 voice command systems.

 For 2017 the Escape received improved interior ergonomics, some revised exterior styling and an available 1.5-liter four.

 Front passengers have lots of room but things can be tight for adults in the second row. There was an abundance of storage space for smaller items.

 Fold the second row seats and you will find 68 cubic feet of room for those days when just the two of you want to escape in the Escape. That is in line with most competitors.

 The 2.0-liter four worked well with the six speed tranny and there was more than adequate acceleration for interstate merging.

 Maryland does not quite maintain its roads these days at the level it once did, and that gives me a chance to see how the suspension handles rougher roads. The Escape did that admirably while still offering better than expected handling.

 Controls were right where one would go looking for them and older adults will like the ease of entry and exit.

 Drivers will not find much steering wheel feedback, but in these days of electric steering systems what vehicle does? Jump into an older vehicle with rack and pinion and find out what you are missing!

 There was some body roll in tight corners and the Escape was quiet inside on the highway, Fords generally do well in that category  

 I would recommend buyers start out with the SE package over the more bare bones S. That produces additional options such as a comfy 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat.

 It may be 17 but there are no zits. In fact, Escape remains a hot seller for the Blue Oval. In May it outsold the Edge, Flex, Explorer and Expedition in the lineup with 27,830 going out the door.

 Test drive one and you will find out why.

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