Car shoppers in the market for a crossover that handles like a sedan but transports people and their cargo like an SUV should head over to the nearest Ford dealership. There, they'll discover the Escape meets their needs and more thanks to its combination of crossover utility, numerous features and fun-to-drive character.
Three trim levels are offered for the 2016 model: base S, well-equipped SE and plush Titanium. This year brought numerous upgrades. There's a new chrome appearance package available to make the already attractive Escape even more of a standout. A leather package does something similar for the interior. Finally, the automaker replaces the older MyFord Touch infotainment system with the more advance and yet easier-to-use SYNC 3.
Besides the eye-catching exterior, the Escape continues to impress with its cabin. Soft-touch materials can be found everywhere even in the base S. Speaking of the entry model, creature features abound as buyers get standard air conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power windows and door locks, and Bluetooth connectivity. There's more than 34 cubic-feet of cargo room behind the rear row; this expands to over 68 cubes with the application of the one-touch lever to drop those rear seats.
More standard equipment can be found as one climbs the trim tiers. Get the Escape SE and buyers get a power's driver seat and foglamps to name a couple. The Titanium, unsurprisingly, offers the most. Besides coming with everything from the two lower trims, the premier model of the Escape line offers such exclusive bits as a hands-free liftgate, a 10-speaker premium audio system from Sony, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Besides three trims, Ford Escape buyers have a choice of three different engines to power their crossover. The base S comes with a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder powerplant as standard. Both the SE and the Titanium get a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo underneath their shapely hood. Finally, there's the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 turbo. This last engine is optional on the SE and Titanium.
All three engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel offered with the 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter engines. Fuel economy varies from 23 miles per gallon combined with the 2.0-liter turbo with all-wheel drive, to 25 mpg combined with the smaller engines and front-wheel drive configurations.