Drive Time: EcoBoost-4 smooths Ford Escape
November 12, 2016
Three business-related drives into Denver and back this week added more than 300 miles to the 2017 Ford Escape SE which showed up at my place on Monday.
I found much favor in the Escape, which does duty in the popular compact crossover category against Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage and others.
The likeability went far beyond the Escape's attractive, soft-looking white gold metallic exterior finish.
Major improvement is the performance of its new 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It is called EcoBoost, a name fast becoming a turbocharging favorite.
Ford launched its first EcoBoost engine six years ago, a V-6 in F-150 pickups. Within months, the EcoBoost V-6 had become the bigger choice of Ford pickup buyers over the traditional V-8 leader.
Ford, in combining torque/horsepower/fuel economy/performance, hit on an excellent formula that could net 20 percent gains in fuel mileage while cruising, yet instantly turbo up strong torque for climbing or towing.
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Ford's twin-scroll turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder, introduced into the Escape this fall, delivers 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque and balances that with an EPA estimate of 20/27 miles per gallon of fuel. I averaged 24.3 mpg from Monday through Thursday this week.
Teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission, it responds very powerfully, very smoothly; smoother and stronger than the CR-V. It is very impressive, one of the quickest in the compact class. It'll cost you to get that, though – a premium of $1,295 for the 4-cylinder EcoBoost.
Base engines in the Escape are a smaller 1.5-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder with 179 horsepower/177 torque, and a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder with 168-hp, 170 torque. While tow capacity for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost is a healthy 3,500 pounds, the 1.5 turbo is 2,000 and the 2.5 base engine is only 1,500 pounds.
The Escape performs in a very nimble manner, with not a great deal of body lean, and is carlike in its handling. It is faulted occasionally for rough ride. Tires are Michelin Latitude 235/50R18.
Lengthy front seats cushions, leather-covered and heated, add to interior comfort. Sync 3, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are among infotainment highlights. A convenient storage bin sits beneath the center stack. A flaw are flat buttons for cruise control; the increase and decrease-speed buttons and resume-speed button are very close and easily touched by mistake.
The Escape's cargo capacity of 34 cubic feet falls right in the middle of the aforementioned competitors – Toyota RAV4 38.4 cubic feet, Honda CR-V 35.3, Mazda CX-5 34.1, Nissan Rogue 32, Subaru Forester 31.5 and Kia Sportage 30.7.
The Ford Escape SE 4WD is base-priced at $26,850; the S model is lesser priced and the higher-level offering is the Titanium.
The 2.0-liter engine, power liftgate, voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, Sync connect and reverse-sensing boosted sticker price of the SE to $33,915. Heading a long list of standard items are stop/start technology, rearview camera and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The Escape all-wheel drive with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine weighs in at 3,765 pounds on a wheelbase of 105.9 inches. It is 178.1 inches in overall length, 72 in width and 66.3 in height. Its track is a relatively narrow 61.5 in front and 61.6 in the rear.
— Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.