First Drive Review: The 2017 Ford Escape, welcoming us to the real world

(Ford)

(Ford)

Reese Witherspoon was in town the other day. Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs had a grand reopening and the Academy Award winning actress was the center of it all. A friend went to a reception for her, VIP because someone knew someone, who knew a guy. For a few hours, the plain humdrum ordinary life was forgotten amid the glitz and glamour of nibbling on the same hors d’oeuvres as a walking goddess, who the friend confessed actually came within 20 feet at one point.

The imagined conversation, center to the fantasy, never happened. “I love your work Reese, may I call you Reese?” Nor did the night end with a breathless kiss.

No, soon the friend was back among the paupers, the glass slipper didn’t fit. Real life with bills, kids, and the 9-5 grind reality brought the friend back to earth.

Sometimes this can mirror the life of a car reviewer. One week we might have a $125,000 luxury sports sedan, imagining that we are parking it at the summer house; while the next week it might be some sort of lowly hybrid made from cheap plastic and struggling to get up a hill. Then there’s the simple, plain machines that remind us that life for most of us is really just about real life with bills, kids and the 9-5 grind.

The Ford Escape is such a thing. It isn’t flashy, or fast, or luxurious and at the end of the day that’s really okay.

The small crossover is Ford’s number 2 seller behind the mighty F-150.  It comes in S, SE and Titanium trim levels.

For 2017 Ford revised the exterior a bit, made some minor interior changes and there’s now a newly available 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a modified 2.0-liter engine with a bit more power. New safety features available include adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, lane departure warning and a drowsy driver warning.

The S may be at the bottom and is usually reserved for fleets, but is still has some nice features like Bluetooth, rearview camera and Ford’s Sync 3 tech system.  The SE gets the new engine, power-adjustable seats, and more options, while the top of the line Titanium gets some luxury touches like a hands-free liftgate, and leather upholstery.

(Ford)

(Ford)

Above the S, there are such things as paddle shifters, steering wheel controls, an eight-way power adjustable driver seat, duel zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, driver memory controls, and options such as rear parking sensors, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, upgraded Sync 3 technology interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, and the adaptive cruise control.

The standard engine on the SE and Titanium is the new 1.5-liter turbocharged (Ecoboost) engine with 179 horses and 177 lb-ft of torque. You can option in the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft torque and all-wheel drive.

The interior is actually roomier than the outside would have you believe. And while it is plain, it’s functional and easy to navigate.

The story of the 2017 Escape is really a boring one. It won’t zip through traffic, although the power is adequate for everyday use. The sport mode in the transmission does give a bit of extra pep, but not much, and the paddle shifters could have been left out and no one would complain.

What the Escape is, is a decent small crossover that can do what it advertises, and at a price that makes It affordable for those of us with bills, kids and 9-5 grinds.

Little wonder than why it’s Ford’s number 2 seller. Reese Witherspoon may never own one, but we will never share a breathless kiss with her either for that matter.

The 2017 Ford Escape
MSRP: $25,100
MSRP (as tested, with options): $31,470
Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder; 179 hp @6000 rpm, 177 lb-ft @250 rpm;
Transmission (Front Wheel Drive): 6-speed automatic with OD, Sport mode
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 23 city, 30 highway, 26 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 25 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 3502

Interior Dimensions (In)
Passenger Capacity     5
Passenger Volume     98.1
Front Head Room     39.9
Front Leg Room     43.1
Front Shoulder Room     56
Front Hip Room     54.8
Second Head Room     39
Second Leg Room     36.8
Second Shoulder Room     55.3
Second Hip Room     52.4

Exterior Dimensions (In)
Wheelbase     105.9
Length, Overall     178.1
Width, Max w/o mirrors     72.4
Height, Overall     66.3
Track Width, Front     61.5
Track Width, Rear     61.6
Min Ground Clearance     7.9

Trailering
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Trailer Wt.     2000
Dead Weight Hitch – Max Tongue Wt.     200
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Trailer Wt.     2000
Wt Distributing Hitch – Max Tongue Wt.     200
Maximum Trailering Capacity     2000
Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Volume to Seat 1     67.8
Cargo Volume to Seat 2     34.3
Cargo Volume to Seat 3     34.3

Warranty
Basic: 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion: 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 5 Years/60,000 Miles

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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