Written by: Robert Nichols
Photography by: Robert Nichols
The Ford Escape has been around for some fifteen years now and has come quite a long way in that time. The very first version was little more than a rebadged Mazda Tribute. Mazda did the bulk of the heavy lifting when it came to the design and development, and Ford supplied a V6 engine for the North American market but not much else. Different versions of this arrangement lasted until 2012 when Mazda decided to stop producing the Tribute and focus on the all-new Mazda CX-5, which was met with critical acclaim and a host of awards. This was a wise decision because the Tribute and Escape were dreadfully dull to look at and not very interesting to drive.
In the wake of this separation, Ford was left with a choice: either look for another company to team up with or build their own CUV. What actually occurred was a sort of compromise of the aforementioned choices with Ford looking at their global model list and discovered that their Ford Kuga (sold in the U.K.) was doing quite well. With a stroke of genius, Ford ran with this idea and gave North American customers access to these rebadged Kugas that were dripping in the high standards of European build, ride, and performance quality. Hence, the modern Ford Escape was born.
I was able to drive the 2016 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD, which is the top-of-the-line model. The test vehicle was also outfitted with $5,850 in options, which brought the as-tested price to (and I cringed when I read this as well) $42,539. That’s premium brand money! So, this had better be one spectacular vehicle.
Ford certainly hasn’t skimped when it came to technology. The tester I had included the $1,750 Equipment Group 301A Technology package. This gets you Bi-Xenon HID headlights, BLIS (blind spot detection) with cross traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers and automated parking. The automated parking really impresses. Not only is it simple to use but it works flawlessly as far as I could tell. Not once did I need to intervene no matter how tempted I was, nor did I ever need to take a mulligan. The system even finds the spot for you, and the spots it finds I would never attempt on my own.
Other tech goodies available include satellite radio; Bluetooth with audio streaming, voice commands for nearly everything, a back up camera, cross-traffic alert and a power hands-free tailgate. But the test vehicle had other options as well, which included the $2,000 Canadian Touring Package and consisted of a panoramic sunroof and a good quality Sony-based sound system. My tester also came with the $650 19” Alloy wheels, $350 partial leather seats, $150 all-weather floor mats, a $500 class II trailer tow hitch that pulls up to 1,587 kg, and the Ruby Red Metallic paint which added $450 to the final eye-watering price.
New for 2016 was the replacement of the much maligned SYNC2 system. In its place is SYNC3 and let me tell you this system is a major improvement. The simplicity of the programming and the ease of use allows for a smaller learning curve. Everything is intuitive and makes sense. You can immediately tell a lot of effort has been put into improving the user experience. The new system also features the swipe and pinch functions we have all become accustomed to on our phones and tablets.
Teens will dislike the MyKey system which allows parents to limit things like top speed and the volume of the stereo. To ensure the Escape stays on the road while your child is going around a bend, Ford also includes Curve Control that reduces power to all four wheels if need be. These features are standard, as are the numerous airbags, traction control and stability management systems. On the subject of safety, it may be prudent to mention the findings of the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). They gave the Escape a “poor” rating on the small overlap frontal impact test only, but all other crash tests have earned it a 4-star overall rating and 5-star rating for a side impact. All in all, it performed quite well for a CUV.
Despite the added weight of the 4WD system, the Escape handles in a surprisingly nimble manner. The torque vectoring function undoubtedly helps but the suspension provides a sporty feel that is firm yet somehow isolates occupants from harsh road surfaces.
My tester was powered by the smooth and eager EcoBoost 2.0L 4-cylinder that develops 240 hp and a stout 270 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic that has the option of manual gear selection via a gear lever mounted toggle switch.
There are two more engines available for you to choose from. The base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.5L 4-cylinder that comes only in FWD. If you prefer the extra confidence of 4WD, you will have to move up to one of the two EcoBoost engines. The 1.6L EcoBoost engine manages 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, more than adequate to drive all four wheels.
I averaged 10.9 L/100 km of mixed condition driving over the week. The EcoBoost engines prefer 91-octane fuel for the best performance but according to the owner’s manual (yes I read it, well, flipped through it) you can use lower octane fuels as well.
The interior of the Escape has a modern inviting design that will not feel out of date anytime soon. The use of nice soft textures mixed with the cheaper looking plastics left a good overall impression. The optional partial leather seating is very comfortable and looks great. Most of my passengers agreed that they were very supportive. The back seats are also comfortable and can recline, giving the impression of more space. On the down side, the front passenger area is mildly constricted by the center console that expands as it reaches the floor. This cuts into the area for your feet and with my long legs, I found my knees were always resting against it and the door panel. But that is my only gripe for the cabin and it would only be a nuisance on a long journey.
While Ford has gone to great lengths to lose the boxy looks of the Mazda-based Escape, the interior storage space is ample and will accommodate a fair amount of cargo. I was able to fit my car’s 18-inch summer tires inside without even having to lower the seats. With the rear seats laid flat, there is a vast 1920 L of volume available. With the seats up you can still enjoy 971 L. While some of the competition has slightly more volume, the Escape benefits from a flat floor and low load height. Furthermore, the automatic rear hatch is a treat that can be programmed to open to the height that best serves you.
After a week piloting the 2016 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD, I came away impressed by the way it drove, the handsome looks, the amount of convenience, and the seemingly endless array of technology. Judging by the number of these I see on the road, more and more of us are enjoying the European-based Ford. If you are judicious in your option selection, the Ford Escape can be a reasonable purchase but beware that all the extras and gadgets can add up quickly.
型号 Model: 2016 Ford Escape Titanium
顏色 Paint Type: Ruby Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $23,899
試車售價 Price as Tested: $42,539
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,690
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,524 / 2,078 / 1,697
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,693
引擎 Engine: 2.0-litre EcoBoost I-4
最大馬力 Horsepower: 240 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 10.9 / 7.9 / 9.6
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P235/45R19