Now in its fourth year since a redesign, the 2016 Ford Escape continues the traditions of carmaker’s heavy presence in the sport utility segment. The Escape is the smallest of the manufacturer’s five SUVs, it’s now 17 years old and it’s well positioned in its highly competitive segment.

The 2016 Ford Escape offers little new from its predecessors with the exception of an easier-to use, touchscreen interface and some additional chrome trim.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The compact crossover SUV market is among the most competitive in the auto industry. Stalwarts include: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe and Subaru Forester. All have loyal buyers and are worthy choices.

The Escape, particularly since its 2013 redesign, holds up to any of its competitors and, depending upon a buyer’s choice, could lead the entire pack.

The 2016 Ford Escape is its fourth year of a new generation and remains a segment leadder.
The 2016 Ford Escape is its fourth year of its current generation and remains a leader in the compact sport utility vehicle segment. Images © James Raia/2015.

My test vehicle was the top-line Titanium edition. The Escape is also available in S and SE trims. Standard equipment on most news new cars is extensive. The Escape is no different.

The base S model features an integrated blind-spot mirror, MyKey parental controls, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, the Sync voice command electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Options a remote start, roof rails and rear parking sensors.

The SE trim offer automatic headlights, foglights, a keyless entry keypad, privacy tinted glass, an eight-way power adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), reclining rear seats and satellite radio. Its convenience package adds nearly two-dozen items, leather seats to 18-inch wheels to a power liftgate and a navigation system.

2016 Ford Escape: Expansive Standard Equipment

The Titanium edition easily approached equipment overload. It included the low trim levels’ features and the option package and added ambient interior lighting and a Sony 10-speaker sound system. Options included a Titanium Technology package (xenon headlights, blind-spot monitoring/cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers and an automated parallel-parking system), 19-inch alloy wheels and the panoramic sunroof and navigation system.

I drove the Escape equally in city and highway situations. The Titanium edition features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 240 horsepower and all-wheel drive. It powered up hills with ease and it accelerated surprisingly quickly with 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds.

The high-end Escape is among the most comfortable compact SUVs I’ve driven. It turns smoothly and handles more like a car than an SUV. In many instances in other SUVs, I’ve felt the “tip-over” effect while cornering. That wasn’t the case in the Escape. It handled superbly.

I liked the exterior and interior design. The tailgate seemed tucked in and looked aerodynamic. The interior looked upscale and is made from quality material. Leather seating is comfortable and the front and back seats are immediately comfortable.

Likes:

Compact-car handling.

Spacious interior, most notably the back seat.

Five-setting heated seats.

Overall comfort.

Dislikes:

Super sensitive motion detector system.

Facts & Figures: 2016 Ford Escape

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.0 seconds.
Airbags (7).
Fuel economy: 21 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway), 23 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive.
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, Overall score, four out five stars; Front crash: driver, four stars, passenger four stars; Side crash: front seat, five stars, rear seat, five stars; Rollover, four stars; IIHS, Frontal offset, good; Side impact, good; Rear impact, good; Roof strength, good.
Horsepower: 240.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,995.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.ford.com.
Price As tested: Unavailable.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/60,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“The 2016 Ford Escape is one of our favorite small crossover utility vehicles, thanks to athletic driving dynamics, an inviting interior and advanced technology features.” — edmunds.com.

“If you want your compact SUV to offer high style, good handling, solid fuel economy and a compelling blend of features, the 2016 Ford Escape could be just the ticket.” — kelleybluebook.com.

“The Ford Escape continues to look (and drive) in a sportier, more car-like way, with crisp handling, strong, responsive powertrains, and reasonably good passenger space.” — carconnection.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Nimble driving, quiet ride, spacious, well-appointed, good vision. It all adds up to the obvious: The 2016 Ford Escape is a top pick in the SUV segment.”

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