Ford Escape

Ford Escape - With athletic looks and a quiet, stylish interior, the Escape distinguishes itself in a crowd of small crossovers. The base engine is a 168-hp four-cylinder, but we recommend the 179-hp turbo four or the 245-hp turbo four. All have front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional on turbos. Handling is precise and predictable, but the steering feels rubbery. Ford’s Sync 3 is controlled by an 8.0-inch touchscreen with voice recognition. A properly equipped Escape can tow 3500 pounds.

Ford Escape

2017 Ford Escape 2.0L EcoBoost AWD

While there are plenty of players in the thriving compact-crossover segment, only the 2017 Ford Escape offers consumers their choice of three four-cylinder engine options, all paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain trifecta starts with the naturally aspirated 168-hp 2.5-liter inline-four, which comes only in the base, front-wheel-drive Escape S, a configuration that we’d recommend skipping. Next up is the turbocharged 179-hp 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that comes standard in the 2017 Escape SE and Titanium trims, and both of which offer all-wheel drive. Things escalate quickly from there, with Ford giving SE and Titanium buyers the opportunity to add a tidy 66 horsepower by checking the $1295 option box for the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four, as on the 2017 Ford Escape Titanium tested here.

Rated at 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of twist, the EcoBoost 2.0-liter sits near the top of four-cylinder compact-crossover power ratings. Only the Subaru Forester with the optional 2.0-liter turbo tops it, putting down five more ponies for a total of 250 horsepower. Torque is a different story, with the Subie’s 258 lb-ft falling 17 notches short of the Escape. Although the optional naturally aspirated V-6 engines in the Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Equinox, and GMC Terrain top the 2.0-liter EcoBoost in horsepower, they fall just short of its torque figure.

Ford Escape

To compare apples to slightly smaller apples, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost in our all-wheel-drive Escape Titanium made sauce of the numbers posted earlier by a front-wheel-drive 2017 Escape Titanium with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. With a zero-to-60-mph time of 7.1 seconds and a quarter-mile run of 15.6 seconds, the 2.0-liter shaved 2.1- and 1.3-seconds off the 9.2- and 16.9-second times returned by the lighter, two-wheel-drive, 1.5-liter Escape. Among the four-cylinder competition, only the aforementioned Subaru Forester with its 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four manages to outrun this Escape, reaching 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and completing the quarter in 15 seconds flat. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost’s horsepower superiority pays dividends in towing, where it’s rated to haul 3500 pounds; the 1.5-liter EcoBoost is rated for 2000 pounds, and the base 2.5 four-cylinder can tug only 1500 pounds.

This statistical shakedown is not to whet the appetite of power-crazed suburbanites & but rather to illustrate what the $1295 price premium for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost brings to the table &  Yet Ford’s upcharge for the 2.0-liter’s extra hustle doesn’t stop at the dealer; in addition to that, Ford recommends (U.S.A) that you feed the 2.0-liter engine a steady diet of premium fuel for maximum performance and you’ll be buying more of it. The Escape with the bigger EcoBoost is EPA rated at 20/27 mpg city or highway &  but we could squeeze only 19 mpg from it over 500 miles, even with the standard stop/start system doing its shutdown routine. Did we dip into its meaty, all-hands-on-deck torque more frequently than the average driver & For reference, that’s 5 mpg less than the 24 mpg we earned in its 264-pound-lighter doppelgänger with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine and front-wheel drive. In our real-world highway fuel-economy test, run at a steady 75 mph, the Escape 2.0T achieved 26 mpg, a single mpg below its EPA highway rating.

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