Being a mid-cycle refresh rather than a whole new redesign, the 2017 Ford Escape can’t be expected to encompass such a massive leap forward in terms of design or content.
But is it a sizeable enough improvement?
Aesthetically, the only obvious change to the 2017 Ford Escape versus the outgoing model is the front fascia. The front grille has taken on a new shape more in-line with other contemporary Fords, all done up in chrome finish with two thick horizontal bars to divide up the space. That’s not necessarily a bad direction to go, but as our Editorial Director Manoli Katakis noted, it rather takes all the edge out of the design.
That’s not helped by the fact that the lower grille and side inlets, which previously stood tall and modestly aggressive, have been down-sized to free up the necessary real estate.
As for content, the 2017 Ford Escape has two new engines: a 1.5-liter EcoBoost, and a revised 2.0-liter EcoBoost with a new twin-scroll turbo. But the latter of these only makes some 5 horsepower more than the engine it replaces, albeit while improving upon efficiency and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). The 1.5-liter unit assumes the place of an outgoing 1.6-liter, projected to make virtually the same horsepower.
And sure, the 2017 Ford Escape boasts plenty of updates in terms of active safety and convenience tech, not least of which is the new SYNC Connect remote app. But apart from that feature, these technologies – Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Active Park Assist, Lane-Keep Assist, and Driver Alert – have long been available in some form or another, in the Escape or elsewhere.
In short, the new 2017 Ford Escape brings some meaningful and necessary changes to the compact crossover, along with new engines (more of a lateral move than a vertical one), and a new, less edgy front-end. But ultimately, we would label this refresh a bit of a let down.