If Santa needs help delivering presents this weekend, the 2017 Ford Escape would be a good choice. The just-right size appeals to many families.
Our review escape is the Titanium model, the top of three trim levels, and includes options I would skip, like radar cruise control. While changes are few outside this year, the inside is improved. There are more storage compartments for sunglasses and phones, especially in the center console.
Speaking of phones, full smartphone integration with Ford’s Sync system is new this year. Navigation, an $800 option, works well. While the front area is roomy, I’ve always found the Escape’s seats to be too flat, both the bottoms and backs. A smooth shifting six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered.
Row two is just as roomy, even for adults. A power rear hatch is standard on the Titanium. While no row three seats are available, even with row two in use, cargo space is quite good for such a compact crossover. Fold row two and a huge cargo space with a flat floor is created. Deploying row two is easy.
Under the hood is a new for 2017 1.5 liter turbo four with 179 horsepower. Two other four cylinders are available.
All-wheel drive is available as an option on the Escape, but our review car has the base front-wheel-drive. Even in ice and snow, it did just fine.
The new engine gives the Escape a good balance of acceleration with outstanding mileage. I averaged about 27 miles per gallon. Handling for a crossover is good. Safety ratings are excellent.
So, for the 2017 Ford Escape Titanium front-wheel-drive, I say thumbs up to great versatility, value, and handling; thumbs down to the flat front seats.
The as-tested sticker is $34,875.