2016 Ford Escape Review

Ford Escape  Sync 3 Overview

For many people seeking to maximize versatility, compact crossovers have become the go-to mode of transportation in the family-oriented segment. With its affable driving manners, commodious interior, and admirable appearance, the 2016 Ford Escape serves quite well in this regard. The Escape also features an abundance of comfort and convenience attributes, many of which you might be surprised to find at its price point.

 

New for the Escape for the 2016 model year is the optional Sync 3 touch screen infotainment interface. Supplanting last year's My Ford Touch system, Sync 3 is much more user-friendly, with crisper graphics, as well as pinch and swipe inputs like a smartphone. Other elements of the Escape’s near-premium interior treatment include high quality upholstery and trim materials, along with a surprisingly generous array of standard features.

These include a rearview camera, USB ports, and an especially responsive voice activation system—one of the best we’ve ever encountered. You need only try using a lesser one to place a phone call and hear the response; “I didn’t get that, please try again.” three times in succession, to know the true meaning of the word frustration. Other key options include automated parking and a handsfree rear hatch, which opens when you wave your foot under the Ford’s rear bumper.

 

Interior comfort is greatly enhanced with soft-touch materials throughout the passenger compartment. The front seats offer just enough firmness to provide good support, while also being well-padded for an abundance of comfort. Rear seat legroom is respectable, and the second-row seatbacks recline. Cargo capacity is another strong suit at 34.3 cubic feet with the rear seats deployed, and 68.1 cubic feet when they are folded. Available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and Ford’s My Key system, which allows you to set restricted operating parameters for secondary drivers.

Ford offers a choice of three engines for the Escape; a 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter four, which is good for 170 ft-lbs of torque and up to 25 mpg combined; a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four capable of 184 ft-lbs of torque and up to 26 mpg combined; and a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four, returning 270 ft-lbs of torque and up to 25 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard; all-wheel drive is optional on all but the base model. The 2.0-liter gives the Escape a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

My tester was a top of the line Titanium-trimmed model, equipped with the 2.0-liter engine. This powerplant, combined with the Escape’s remarkable agility, made it very enjoyable to drive. Quick off the line, with more than adequate power for merging and passing, the 2016 Ford Escape felt a lot like a taller version of the exceptionally well-regarded Focus, which it basically is—since they share platforms.

 

With its crisp handling, responsive steering, and high degree of athleticisim, I really admire the way the Escape offers a thoroughly enjoyable driving experience, while still providing a comfortable and supple ride. All in all, the 2016 Ford Escape is one of the best in its segment.

 

Pricing starts at $23,100.

 

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