Ford Escape

#3 in Compact SUVs Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
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$23,750 - $31,000

2017 Ford Escape Overview

The 2017 Ford Escape ranks 3 out of 18 Compact SUVs.

The 2017 Ford Escape has a solid ranking in the top third of the very competitive compact SUV class. A well-balanced ride, an upscale interior, potent optional engines, and a long list of available features help the Escape outperform many rivals. 











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Pros & Cons

  • Quality interior
  • Lots of cool, user-friendly tech features
  • Nimble handling
  • Peppy and fuel-efficient turbocharged engine options
  • Below-average fuel economy with base engine

Notable for 2017

  • Updated exterior and interior design
  • New 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • 2.0-liter turbo sees increased horsepower
  • Turbocharged engines get fuel-saving stop-start feature
  • Now available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • New advanced safety features available
  • New available Sync Connect lets you unlock and start your car with your smartphone

Ford Escape Rankings and Research

The 2017 Ford Escape ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Ford Escape has a score of 8.5 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 49 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.


Overall: 8.5
Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 9.4
Reliability: 3_5


2017 Ford Escape Pictures

2017 Ford Escape Review

By Bryan Siwik June 30, 2017

The 2017 Ford Escape has a solid ranking in the top third of the very competitive compact SUV class. A well-balanced ride, an upscale interior, potent optional engines, and a long list of available features help the Escape outperform many rivals. 

Is the Ford Escape a Good SUV?

The Ford Escape is a very good SUV overall that checks most of the boxes for "sport" and "utility," with an engaging driving experience, ample passenger room, and above-average cargo space. The cabin is also one of the nicest in the class, with high-quality materials and a pleasing design.

However, you‘ll probably want to upgrade from the Escape’s base model. Few features and a near complete lack of options make a standard Escape somewhat unimpressive. It will get you where you need to go, but that’s about it. The standard engine feels underpowered and returns low fuel economy estimates as well. Upgrading to one of two higher trim levels gets you a more powerful and efficient engine and access to many other options that make the Escape a more capable and enjoyable daily driver.

Should I Buy a Ford Escape?

The Escape should appeal to most crossover or compact SUV shoppers. Whether you're looking for a primary vehicle for a small family, a commuter car, a first car for your teen driver, or just a utilitarian everyday SUV, the Escape can meet your needs. Though its base price is about average for the class, you'll have to spend a little bit more to get some desirable options or a more capable engine. Other SUVs in the class come better equipped for around the same or less money than the Escape. For the money, there are few SUVs in the class with a nicer interior. Additionally, if you regularly carry a full complement of passengers or cargo, the Escape offers a good amount of space for both. The Escape's high safety scores also add to its overall appeal.

As good as the Escape is, though, a couple other SUVs in the class perform better, either overall or in certain areas. The Honda CR-V is an excellent complete package, excelling in all the areas the Escape does but with more interior room and much better gas mileage. And despite its midpack ranking, the Toyota RAV4 is immensely popular with buyers due to its strong reliability and number of standard infotainment and safety features.

Compare the Escape, CR-V, and RAV4 »

We Did the Research for You: 49 Pieces of Data Analyzed

We analyzed 49 different pieces of research and data from around the automotive industry to help you decide if the 2017 Ford Escape is right for you. Our reviews are based on hard data like crash test and reliability ratings from independent agencies, as well as what professional auto journalists are saying about the Escape. We’ve done the research and expert analysis so you can make a smart buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team of researchers and writers has a combined 75 years of experience in the auto industry, and we’ve been helping consumers make educated buying decisions for almost 10 years. We are also completely impartial: Any ads you see on the page are sold by an outside company, and we don’t accept gifts or trips paid for by car companies.

How Much Does a Ford Escape Cost?

The 2017 Ford Escape starts at $23,750, which is about average for the class. Of the few SUVs that rank higher than the Escape, only the Honda CR-V ($24,045) is more expensive, but not by much. Other models are cheaper by at least $1,000, such as the Hyundai Tucson ($22,700), Kia Sportage ($22,990), and Mazda CX-5 ($21,795).

Two optional trim levels cost $25,250 and $29,250. Both optional models come with a more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and access to options that aren't available in the base model. You can spend about $1,350 to upgrade even further to a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The Escape comes standard with front-wheel drive, and you can upgrade to all-wheel drive for $1,750 in either of the higher trims. A fully loaded Escape approaches $40,000, which is more than the base price of many luxury compact SUVs, including the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

Ford Escape Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V is one of our top-ranked compact SUVs and is an overall better vehicle than the Escape. While the Escape received a refresh for 2017, Honda went back to the drawing board and completely redesigned the CR-V. Though the Escape can comfortably seat adults in the second row, the CR-V provides slightly more legroom, which could make all the difference for taller passengers. The CR-V also leads the class in cargo space, with a maximum volume of almost 76 cubic feet. Unlike the Escape, you can get all-wheel drive in the base CR-V, and the standard engine handily bests the Escape's standard fuel economy (26/32 mpg city/highway to 21/29 mpg city/highway). An optional turbocharged engine in the CR-V gets even better mileage, at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The CR-V shares many of the Escape's positive attributes as well, such as a quality interior and comfortable ride. An optional touch-screen infotainment system is easy to navigate, and with the redesign, Honda brought back physical controls for functions like audio and temperature. There aren't many downsides to the CR-V, but what may cause concern is the lack of engine power and hesitant acceleration, which is present with both of the CR-V's engine choices.

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 sits in the middle of our compact SUV rankings. That may not look impressive, but the RAV4 is a better vehicle than its position indicates. Though professional reviewers lament the RAV4's performance, consumers appreciate its reliability, value, and ability to get you where you need to go without hassle. That also explains why the RAV4 outsells the Escape and most other SUVs. The RAV4 has more cargo room than the Escape and almost as much cargo room as the CR-V. The RAV4 vastly outperforms the Escape when it comes to standard equipment, as it includes modern technology like a touch-screen infotainment system and advanced safety features like pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. With a base price of $24,910 ($1,160 above the Escape), the RAV4 starts to look attractive as a value proposition. Comparably outfitting the Escape with safety features found in the RAV4 will run you almost $32,000 after upgrading to the highest trim and purchasing packages and options. Unlike the Escape, you can add options like navigation, HD Radio, and satellite radio to the base RAV4, along with all-wheel drive. The Escape is still a better vehicle, though, when you consider comfort aspects that affect your day-to-day drive. The Toyota has hard plastics throughout the interior, and leather seating is not available at all. The RAV4 also only has one engine, and it delivers lackluster acceleration and power.

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Ford Edge?

The Ford Edge ranks about as well among midsize SUVs as the Escape does among compact SUVs. Many people will probably consider the Edge over the Escape for its extra space. They are likely to be disappointed, however, because the Edge doesn't have that much more cargo space than the Escape. Inside the cabin, the Edge has excellent second-row legroom and ample headroom for taller people in all seats. Because the Edge only seats five (like the Escape), it lacks the overall cargo capacity of other seven-seat SUVs in its class. It doesn’t even improve on the Escape's cargo space by that much, adding about 5 cubic feet whether you have the second row up or down. From a price standpoint, it's hard to justify the Edge's base price tag of $28,950, especially considering that it comes with similar standard equipment as the Escape, such as Bluetooth, a USB port, the base SYNC system, and a rearview camera. However, the Edge delivers more of a thrill behind the wheel with its lineup of powerful engines. A 245-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is standard, and you can upgrade to a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 for a mere $625. Both of these engines offer far superior power and brisk acceleration compared to the Escape. That said, you're better off sticking with the Escape and upgrading accordingly rather than spending more money on top of a higher priced base Edge, unless you need more power.

Compare the Escape, CR-V, and Edge »

Escape Interior

How Many People Does the Escape Seat?

The 2017 Escape seats five people and has sufficient room in all seats for adults. The front seats are wide and comfortable, and adult passengers should have plenty of headroom and decent legroom in back. (For a little more rear-seat legroom, check out the Honda CR-V.) The rear seats also recline to increase comfort if you want to catch some z's on a long road trip. Cloth upholstery is standard in both rows, but you can upgrade to leather. Other optional goodies include power-adjustable, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

If passenger room is a main consideration, consider the Escape's big brother, the Ford Edge. A midsize SUV, the Edge is one of the leaders in its class in rear-seat room and provides good head space for taller passengers wherever they sit.

Escape and Car Seats

The Ford Escape can fit two car seats in its second row and has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The middle seat has a top tether anchor and can borrow lower anchors from the seats on either side, provided you're not using them for car seats as well. All the tether anchors are located near the base of the seatbacks, and they are easy to find. While lower anchors can sometimes be troublesome if they are buried deep in the seat, the Escape's connectors are simple to find and easy to attach the straps to.

Escape Interior Quality

Last year's Escape earned praise for its premium interior, and Ford gives the refreshed 2017 Escape even more soft-touch surfaces and new styling on the dashboard. Additional sound insulation means a luxury-grade quiet ride on the highway. The center console has been reconfigured for convenience's sake with an electric parking brake replacing the old hand lever, freeing up storage space. The shifter has also been moved back, so it's easier to reach the climate controls.

The Honda CR-V gets very high overall interior scores from us, due in no small part to its appearance and quality of materials. Like the Escape, most surfaces are soft to the touch, and higher trims have luxury-esque accents like faux wood trim.

Escape Cargo Space

The Ford Escape has one of the largest cargo capacities among compact SUVs. You'll be treated to 34 cubic feet of space with the rear seat up and 68 cubic feet when you fold the second row down. You should have enough space for the whole family's luggage on a short trip. If you get roped into helping a friend move, the seats fold nearly flat to allow you to haul large boxes or bulky items like a small dresser. Additionally, the Escape has a low cargo floor, which makes it easier to load heavy items like mulch or your golden retriever. One of the Escape's standout features is its foot-activated power liftgate. With the key in your bag or pocket, simply wave your foot under the rear bumper and the rear hatch powers open – great if your arms are full of groceries. Unfortunately, it's only available on the top-of-the-line Titanium trim.

Though the Escape is obviously a smart choice in the class if you're looking for a practical, day-to-day crossover, a few of its competitors offer slightly better cargo space. The Honda CR-V has 39.2/75.8 cubic feet with the seats up/down, while the Toyota RAV4 has 38.4/73.4 cubic feet. If you're considering moving up a class to the larger Ford Edge for much more cargo space, prepare to be underwhelmed: It only has 39.2 cubic feet of space with the seats up and 73.4 cubic feet with them folded.

Escape Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

If cool in-car tech features are your thing, the 2017 Ford Escape is ready to impress. Standard issue is the voice-controlled SYNC infotainment system, but if you want a touch-screen experience, you'll have to upgrade to SYNC 3 (not available in the base model) or step up to a higher trim. Some competitors come with a touch-screen infotainment system standard, like the Toyota RAV4 that displays its Entune interface on a 6.1-inch screen. In standard configuration, the Honda CR-V has a 5-inch display screen, but you can upgrade to a 7-inch touch screen.

SYNC 3 is user-friendly and responds quickly when you press the on-screen buttons. Little design details also make the infotainment system easy to use. For example, the optional navigation system has a simple one-line address input. Just type in your destination and go. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are new options for 2017. Internet connectivity is available through the new SYNC Connect system so your passengers can use their portable devices while traveling. Using SYNC Connect and the FordPass smartphone app, you can also unlock the Escape or start it remotely.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Escape Performance

Escape Engine: Trust the Turbo

There are three different engines available in the Escape, though you'll probably want to skip the base engine. The 2.5-liter four cylinder base engine delivers a slightly below-class-average 168 horsepower, and acceleration is merely adequate. For just $1,500 you can upgrade to the midrange trim and get a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 179 horsepower. Though the power difference on paper is small, the turbocharger makes a big difference and allows for much better power and acceleration. This engine should be satisfactory for most buyers and their daily needs.

If you truly have a need for speed (or towing power, which we'll touch on below), you can opt for a 245-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but you'll have to pony up another $1,345 on top of either of the two optional trim levels. All three of the Escape's engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Compared to the CR-V and RAV4, the Escape's optional engines fare much better. Toyota only offers one engine in the RAV4, which is merely adequate for your daily drives. The RAV4's throttle response suffers sometimes, and the transmission is inconsistent when going up hills. The CR-V comes with a 184-horsepower engine, and a turbocharged, 190-horsepower engine is optional. Those power figures are close enough to give you similar acceleration with either engine, though the turbocharged engine experiences a lag in power when you get going from a stop.

Escape Gas Mileage: More Power, Less Fuel

Another deterrent to the Escape's standard engine is its low fuel economy. You'll get just 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Other rivals return better estimates, like the Honda CR-V, which gets 26/33 mpg city/highway, and the Toyota RAV4, which gets 23/30.

If you're eyeing either of the turbo engines for their increased power, you'll be happy to know that you'll actually get better fuel economy as well. The midrange engine gets 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. However, it'll only save you about $100 a year in fuel costs, so strictly from a mathematical standpoint, you'd have to drive the car 15 years to recoup the cost of upgrading to that engine. The better performance is likely enough to make the extra money worth it though.

The most powerful engine also beats the base in efficiency, at 22 mpg/city and 29 mpg/highway.

Escape Ride and Handling: Putting the Sport in Sport Utility

Few SUVs in the class can match the handling prowess and athleticism of the Escape, which is marked by sporty cornering and a well-balanced suspension. The steering is quick to respond when you turn the wheel, which rotates easily. All this adds to the Escape's sporty feel. The Mazda CX-5 sets the benchmark for fun driving in the class with great handling and a peppy engine lineup.

The Escape offers an equal amount of refinement as it does sportiness, and it provides the comfort you would expect from a crossover. You'll feel just at home on the highway as you will on twisty back roads. The RAV4 and CR-V both prioritize ride comfort over agile handling and easily absorb bumps from uneven pavement and rough roads. The CR-V, in particular, is easy to maneuver and balanced around corners.

Escape Drivetrain: Is the Escape 4WD?

The Escape comes standard with front-wheel drive, and you can upgrade if you opt for one of the two turbocharged engines. Ford refers to the upgraded system as four-wheel drive, but it's not exactly what you might expect, especially if you're picturing a Jeep or truck with a 4WD switch that throws you into a low gear.

The Escape's system is more akin to all-wheel drive, and like traditional AWD systems, it can transfer traction to any of the wheels when it detects slipping. However, you can engage this feature on-demand for full-time power to all the wheels.

To learn more about the differences between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, read All-Wheel Drive or Four-Wheel Drive: Which Is Right for You?

Escape Towing Capacity

The Escape is a good choice if you want a compact SUV that can handle light towing duties. When equipped with the top-of-the-line turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is more than most of its competitors. That should be more than enough for the weekend warrior, whether you want to tow a small camping trailer, a pair of jet skis, or a small motorboat.

The Honda CR-V and RAV4 can each only tow up to 1,500 pounds, which is enough for a small U-Haul trailer or a pair of ATVs.

Read more about performance »

Escape Safety

Escape Crash Test Results

The 2017 Escape earns a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the rollover test. It also receives the highest rating (Good) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in four out of five of their tests. The Escape falters only slightly in the IIHS small overlap front test, which simulates when the front corner of the vehicle impacts a skinny obstacle like a tree or telephone pole.

The Escape gets one of the highest composite safety scores in its class, increasing its appeal as a family vehicle or a car for a young driver. The Hyundai Tucson gets the same ratings from NHTSA, but scores Good in all the IIHS tests and earns their Top Safety Pick award.

Escape Safety Features

Ford gave the Escape a host of new advanced safety options for 2017, including lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, automatic high beams, and an assisted pre-collision braking system that pre-charges the brakes for full responsiveness when it detects a collision is imminent. That's in addition to the safety features it had in the 2016 model, such as a standard rearview camera and optional front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The Escape's high-tech safety features are now fully competitive with those of the rest of the class.

Read more about safety »

Escape Reliability

Is the Ford Escape Reliable?

J.D. Power and Associates rates the Escape at 3.5 out of five for predicted reliability, which is just above average. The Chevy Equinox leads the class with a score of 4.5 out of five, while the Toyota RAV4 and GMC Terrain are close behind with 3.5 out of five and four out of five ratings, respectively.

Ford Escape Warranty

The 2017 Ford Escape is backed by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. While that’s about average for the class, a few competitors, such as the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, stick out with their longer five-year/60,000-mile basic warranties and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties.

Read more about reliability »

Which Ford Escape Model Is Right for Me?

The Escape comes in three trim levels: S, SE, and Titanium. Skip the bare-bones base Escape S and opt for the SE. Not only are there very few standard features or options available in the base Escape, but it also lacks common comfort features like automatic climate control and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, both of which come with the SE. Choosing the SE will also give you a more powerful and more fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, as well as access to a number of options like leather seats, all-wheel drive, navigation, and a touch-screen infotainment system. For just $1,500 more than the base price, the SE is the smart choice.

For 2017, the Escape receives a major midcycle refresh, with updated interior and exterior design, new engine options, and a stop-start feature on turbocharged engines. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and other advanced safety features are also now available.

Ford Escape S

The base S trim starts at $23,750 and comes standard with a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, automatic headlamps, Ford's MyKey system, the voice-activated SYNC infotainment interface, and a six-speaker stereo system.
The S trim is available with very few options, but you can get alloy wheels for $595 and remote start for $495.

Ford Escape SE

Starting at $25,250, the Escape SE comes standard with a 179-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, and a keyless entry keypad.

Available standalone options in the SE include a 245-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine ($1,345), all-wheel drive ($1,750), a panoramic sunroof ($1,495), and a power liftgate ($495).

You can order the 201A Equipment Group ($1,395), which includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a nine-speaker stereo system, a 110-volt outlet, rear parking sensors, and the SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system. Add navigation to this package for $795.

The SE Leather Comfort package ($1,595) includes leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger's seat, and heated front seats.

Ford Escape Titanium

The Titanium trim ($29,250) comes standard with many of the options and packages that are optional in the SE, including the Leather Comfort package and most features from the 201A Equipment Group. It also comes standard with customizable colored interior lighting, a proximity key, push-button start, a foot-activated power liftgate, a 10-speaker Sony audio system, and driver's seat position memory.

The optional 301A Equipment Group ($1,995) includes automatic high beams, automatic parking, a heated steering wheel, lane keep assist, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Adaptive cruise control with assisted pre-collision braking is available as a $595 standalone option.

A fully loaded Ford Escape Titanium can cost nearly $40,000. You can get a number of highly ranked luxury compact SUVs for that price, including the Acura RDX, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

Where is the Ford Escape Built?

Ford manufactures the Escape at their plant in Louisville, Kentucky. The plant also produces the Lincoln MKC, which shares a platform with the Escape.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

See 2017 Ford Escape specs and trims »

The Final Call

There's no question that the Ford Escape is a solid pick in the compact SUV class. When properly equipped, it is one of the best overall performers in the class, with both strong engines and driving dynamics. Abundant passenger space and all-day comfort inside should make you excited to get in the car every day. It's not the best value proposition in base form, though, so be prepared to pay more than its base price tag suggests.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Escape faces a lot of competition, including the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Because this is such a hot segment, automakers throw a lot of value into their offerings, sometimes making the distinctions minimal. The Escape makes for a solid choice with its comfortable and easy ride quality and engine options. Sync 3 gives it an edge amongst the competition, especially with its support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto." -- CNET
  • "The 2017 Ford Escape is a big improvement on what was an already remarkable crossover, and the customer-focused changes pay dividends to the Escape faithful. We can't predict if the upgrades and equipment differentiators will be enough for Ford's compact entry to claw back the sales deficit to the RAV4 and CR-V (the Toyota outsold the Ford by about 9,000 units in 2015, the Honda moved about 39,000 more units), but the new Escape is an excellent weapon to begin the fight back to the top." -- Autoblog
  • "Neat technology is what people want nowadays, true, but they also want a responsive ride with a comfortable, practical interior. The Escape has all of the above, but so do so many competitors. With a starting price of $23,600, $25,100 for an SE and $29,100 for a range-topping Titanium, it's well priced to maintain its position; it's also a great time to be a compact-SUV shopper." -- Autoweek

Research Prices: 2017 Ford Escape

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