Ever since it debuted for 2001, Ford’s Escape set the pace for the growing compact crossover SUV market. Last redesigned for the 2014 model year, the Escape gives shoppers a greater choice in four-cylinder engines than most models: a 2.5-liter, and a pair of direct-injected EcoBoost fours (1.6 or 2 liters), each promising a different towing capacity and slightly different gas-mileage estimate.
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2016 Ford Escape Overview
What's New for 2016
A newly available SYNC 3 communications/entertainment system has a fresh interface that uses a capacitive touchscreen, similar to those in tablets and smartphones. New One Box Search features, included with the available navigation system, let users look up points of interest or enter addresses, as they might with an Internet search engine.
Choosing Your Ford Escape
For the first time, Escape SE can have a leather comfort package, adding heated leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power mirrors, and one-touch front/rear windows. A chrome appearance package now is available for the SE trim, including 19-inch chrome wheels and partial leather seats.
Cargo space is an ample 34.3 cubic feet, doubling when the rear seatbacks are folded. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags for first and second rows, and an SOS Post-Crash Alert System.
Ford’s Escape offers three engine choices: 1.6-liter EcoBoost at 178 horsepower for the SE and Titanium series; 2-liter EcoBoost (240 horsepower), also for SE/Titanium; or regular 2.5-liter (168 horsepower), which is unavailable in the Titanium. Both EcoBoost engines are direct-injected for greater efficiency. Fuel economy is estimated at 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway with the 2.5-liter; EcoBoost engines are slightly more thrifty. Ford’s six-speed automatic transmission offers SelectShift manual gear-selection.
Three trim levels are available: S, SE, and Titanium.
Picking the best Escape isn’t so easy. Even before thinking about options, you have to choose between three engines and three trim levels, with front- or all-wheel drive. That being said, we’d opt for the SE over the basic S, preferably with helpful all-wheel drive and an EcoBoost engine, which is more modern and efficient than the familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
2016 Ford Escape Review
With sporty good looks and an enthusiast-friendly personality to match, the 2016 Ford Escape compact crossover SUV offers strong performance and decent utility in a family-friendly package.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Ford Escape is available in three trim levels. All are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission; front wheel-drive is standard.
- The base Escape S is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine. Standard features include a rearview camera, power windows with driver’s one-touch up/down, voice-activated SYNC infotainment, and remote keyless entry. Pricing starts at $23,100.
- The Escape SE is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Key standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual chrome exhaust tips, SYNC 3 voice activated technology, and more. All-wheel drive is optional. Pricing begins at $25,300.
- The nicely equipped top-trim Escape Titanium receives a turbocharged 2-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder engine and is available in front- or all-wheel drive. Standard feature highlights include a power panoramic Vista Roof, a hands-free foot-activated lift-gate, leather-trimmed seats, and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Titanium models start at $29,505.
- The 2016 Ford Escape is fun to drive, offering precise steering and excellent handling capabilities. The 168-horsepower 2.5-liter engine offers a decent balance between power and economy at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The smaller, but more powerful, 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine delivers 178 horsepower and an impressive 184 pound-feet of torque. The tiny, spirited engine does a nice job pulling the Escape around town and along the highway with up to 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
- Enthusiasts will want to opt for the larger 2-liter Ecoboost engine that creates 240 horsepower and a hearty 270 pound-feet of torque. The feisty powerplant is enough to let the Escape zip around with authority while still achieving up to 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
- All Ford Escapes, regardless of engine, only require regular unleaded gasoline.
- All models also include Ford’s Torque Vectoring Control that simultaneously adjusts the speed between the front wheels to enhance cornering agility and reduce understeer.
- Another standard feature is Ford’s AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, a brake-based electronic stability control system that uses a roll-rate sensor to monitor the Escape’s roll motion, applying brakes and modifying engine power to provide optimal safety even under adverse road conditions.
- The Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Those looking for a comfy ride may find the sporty nature of Ford’s Escape a little too harsh.
The Ford Escape’s compact look belies its roomy interior. With excellent room for four adults or two adults and three children, the 2016 Escape makes for a great vehicle for smaller families looking for the versatility of an SUV, but desiring the enhanced driving dynamics and fuel economy of a hatchback.
- The nicely-appointed interior, especially for the segment, includes a standard rearview camera, Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and more.
- Rear cargo space is excellent and configurable thanks to the 60/40 split rear seat.
- The driver-centric cockpit and aggressive interior styling take away from visibility.
- The interior design feels disjointed and ready for a refresh, which is coming for the 2017 model year.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The MyFord Touch and SYNC systems are far better than previous years, but still come with a bit of a learning curve for newbies.
The Bottom Line
The 2016 Ford Escape is a youthful, sporty compact crossover that does a lot to stand out in a crowded and ever-growing segment. While the base engine provides adequate power for the small SUV, the Limited’s turbocharged 2-liter gives the little utility vehicle the punch that it deserves to live up to the enthusiast-flavored styling. Families will like the roomy interior and cargo space, and wallets will appreciate the fuel-efficiency and ability to use regular unleaded.
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