Full Disclosure: Ford dropped off a 2016 Ford Escape Titanium at my doorstep on March 8th for a week long test. It had a full tank of gas, and was fully insured.
Sometimes you just need to escape. Whether it’s your wife, life, or daily strife, a car is the perfect tool to help you get as far away. When Ford dropped off a 2016 Ford Escape Titanium in my driveway, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get away to my version of paradise, New Jersey. Now New Jersey might not seem like exactly paradise, but to me it’s home. So I set my Ford’s navigation to N.J, grabbed a Chipotle burrito, and started on my adventure. Here are my thoughts and opinions on how good the 2016 Ford Escape is at — escaping.
Let’s get the specs of out of the way: my 2016 Ford Escape Titanium came in a not so beautiful “Ignot Silver”. If I was buying this car, I’d go for the “Deep Impact Blue.”” The MSRP as tested hovered around $35,000, with three options: a 2.0-liter turbo ($1,195), 4WD ($1,800) and the 301A package ($1,735) that comes with Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with Signature Lighting, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert, Rain-sensing wipers and Active Park Assist.
My escape to New Jersey started off in Washington, D.C., on a Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. That meant bumper-to-bumper traffic for the next two hours. It gave me time to reflect on the car’s interior features, rather than the jerks who were cutting me off.
Anyone who had driven a Ford product in recent years that had MyFord Touch Sync installed knew how incredibly bad it was. Well forget that. The new MyFord Touch Sync 3 isn’t glitchy anymore.
The user interface is much more user-friendly, the navigation is up-to-date, and you can even successfully connect your phone via bluetooth. I had one minor glitch with the navigation on my way home when the GPS lost the car’s signal, and for 20 minutes I was driving through the Atlantic Ocean (according to my navigation).
That minor navigation glitch can be ignored, because the interior of the Escape was comfortable and luxurious place to travel 400 miles. The seats are supportive, adjustable, heated, and leather.
The climate controls are easy to reach, adjust and control. Although, when the shifter is in park it’s hard to adjust. There are hard plastics on the dash and upper trim, which will definitely let you know that you’re not in a luxury car.
Let’s talk engine, because that’s what the enthusiasts want to hear about, right? You are in for a treat with the Ford Escape’s 2.0-liter turbo. It’s a sweetheart of an engine, and it will never leave you looking for power. There is torque all through the rpm range, and paired with the six-speed automatic, it works well. That comes as no surprise though, because it is the same great engine found in the Ford Focus ST — a car that I’ve owned.
On my 400 miles round trip, my tester Escape and I averaged 27 miles per gallon and one burrito, excellent for a compact SUV and “young growing boy”.
An excellent engine isn’t the only highlight of this Escape. You also get tons of features that help you when you are in a pinch. The most convenient feature was the “Foot Activated Hands-Free Liftgate.” A simple lift of the foot under the center of the bumper will open or close the liftgate. It’s a nice feature that some luxury brands don’t even offer.
The Ford Escape has a chiseled look and nice angles. From the front I thought it had a nice puppy dog look but I wasn’t a fan of the rear styling. The rear window is tiny and the exhaust isn’t well integrated into the rear bumper. Even though the car is essentially a “lifted Ford Focus,” it doesn’t really look like it. Even thought the Escape has its own unique look it can easily get lost in the sea of bland compact crossovers.
Though the Escape is not going to win any modeling contests, it does handle quite well thanks to it’s Focus underpinnings. The 2.0-liter turbo and all-wheel drive provided enough power and traction to let you whip this car around back streets and city roads with ease. Four-wheel disc brakes help the Escape stop repeatedly with no issues. I haven’t seen an Escape on track but doubt they would hold up for track duty.
If you are hoping to take your Escape for a couple laps, the transmission might let you down. It’s a six-speed unit, but with a disappointing “sport mode.” The transmission does it’s best to guess what you want to do but falls short. Plus, there are no paddle shifters which would give me the option to take over. I often found myself wanting to be in “sport mode” but frustrated because it would be holding first gear in city traffic.
If you keep the transmission out of “sport mode” it works well and is a good match to the 2.0-liter turbo. While I was stuck in traffic on my way home, the transmission worked well, and I was glad it was an automatic so I could chow down on my large burrito.
This is an excellent car for the city because of its advanced safety features. It has blind spot monitoring, which is helpful because the visibility out the back is not the best. I’d change the color of the alert signal, it was a weak orange color and was hard to see sometimes. It has a nifty self-parking feature that works well. A back-up camera helps you see behind. Parking sensors beep when you are about to hit the car parked next to you. Although those parking sensors can be annoying, especially when you are in bumper-to-bumper traffic with cars very close to you. They constantly alert you that you are to close to the car in front of you. I had to turn them off at one point.
Aside from these nit-picking glitches, the Escape was an amiable companion. I loved how the rear seats folded flat to provide plenty of cargo capacity. I was able to fit my 26″ full-suspension mountain bike in the back without taking the wheels off, and still had room to keep my bag, shoes, and accessories. On my wish list for this car, I’d like more storage capabilities for cellphones, drinks and large burritos. Oh yea, and give it a manual transmission.
Next time you need a personal escape from your hectic life, I’d have no hesitation recommending a 2016 Ford Escape.