“Just as Ford revitalizes the Escape for 2017, the outgoing model proves once again that it’s possible to produce a good-looking, neutral, and versatile vehicle for the masses.”
2016 Ford Escape 4WD – Going out With a Bang
Since its debut back in the year 2000, the Ford Escape has consistently won the hearts of many with its boxy and practical looks, as well as its do-it-all kind of attitude. In fact, I remember back in 2003 when my Mom wanted to trade in her Ford Escort for a yellow Ford Escape. That’s literally all she could talk about. Unfortunately she never did, as an evil salesperson persuaded her into a PT Cruiser in my absence!
Anyhow, while the boxy exterior design is long, long gone, the key ingredient; the essence of the Escape is very much so still alive. In fact, I don’t mean to say this in a negative way, but the Escape’s secret to success is the fact that it doesn’t really stand out at anything in particular. Instead, it offers a well-rounded and solid package that motivates owners to buy another Escape, or move up to the Explorer or F-150.
Our SE trim test vehicle was outfitted with the most popular features, like the 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine ($1,195),all-wheel drive , navigation ($795) and power lift gate ($495). It skipped the price tag-bloating leather seats, sunroof, and other pricey non-vitals. Somehow though, the expensive and not very good looking chrome package ($1,445) sneaked its way into our pretty sunset orange Escape. Had I built the thing, I’d do away with the navigation and chrome package, and end up with a sweet looking, fun to drive and less-expensive ride.
Fitting a family of four or five comfortably and still offering excellent cargo space isn’t something all SUVs of this size can do, especially as some of them sacrifice functionality to pretend to be off-roaders, sports cars or even luxury vehicles. Once again, the Escape goes back to basics by offering a spacious and well thought-out driver and passenger seats, second row, and even trunk. On top of that, it’s able to do so without sacrificing efficiency and style.
Here are 3 things we loved about the 2016 Ford Escape:
Perhaps the quality I enjoyed most about the Escape, was how easy it is to drive. In fact—it’s borderline fun. The Escape reminds me a lot about the Ford Focus, as not only its interior resembles one, but it turns, brakes and accelerates like an agile little hatchback. Turning radius is excellent, and parking in and out of tight spots at the grocery store is a breeze with the standard backup camera. On the highway, the Escape is stable and remarkably quiet, and offers excellent exterior visibility.
I’m not going to lie. We really put the little Escape to work during our time with it. We folded the second row seats more than twice in order to fit larger items, and we loaded the trunk with soccer and camping gear a handful of times. Every single time, we were shocked at just how much we could fit in it.
The Escape offers 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space for your daily needs, but that quickly expands to 67.8 cubic feet at the snap of two rear-seat latches. For comparison sake, that’s a couple of feet shy of the larger and pricier Honda CR-V.
Knowing the superior fuel-efficiency we experienced with the EcoBoost-powered 2015 Ford Expedition last year, we embarked on a short little road trip to see what the 1.6 liter EcoBoost in the 2016 Ford Escape could do.
Just as expected, it didn’t disappoint, at all. The EPA rates this engine at 23 city/32 hwy. for 2-wheel drive vehicles, and 22/29 for all-wheel drive vehicles like ours. At the end of our test, we achieved 24 mpg on the highway (blame snowy conditions) but actually achieved a 23 mpg overall average, which is 2 mpg short what Ford advertises.
At the end of our week long test, I couldn’t have been any happier with the Ford Escape. Not only had we become huge fans of it, but it made me look forward even more to driving the refreshed 2017 model. After all; if Ford manages to retain its strong points, and build on its weaknesses, the upcoming Escape is going to be a definite winner.
- Starts at: $23,600
- Price as tested: $33,095 (including $895 destination & delivery charge)