A few days after I returned the Ford Escape to the dealer, I was still keeping keys in my pocket and leaning for a start button when I got in my car. When I backed up my wife’s SUV into a tight spot, I found myself yearning for the comfort of the backup camera as I reversed ever so cautiously so as not to bump the motorcycle behind me.
Well, I guess you could say I enjoyed my week with the 2017 Ford Escape Titanium Edition as I took off on a road trip with my boys from Calgary to Vancouver, and back. I put more than 2000 km on it over the course of a week, spending about 24 hours in the drivers’ seat.
Now my DadCAMP Drives reviews are not about all the gearhead specs of vehicles. I’m of the mind that most vehicles “are the same” under the hood, or the differences are not anything I could readily explain or understand. I approach vehicle reviews by talking about the esthetics, the feel, the experience – you know, the sort of things that really make us decide which vehicle we’re going to buy.
The Ford Escape is the smallest of the Ford SUV models with both the Edge and Expedition boasting beefier back ends. Our original plan was to camp along the way to Vancouver, before arriving at my parents’ house for the week. After a quick judge of the trunk, I realized I couldn’t jam all our suitcases, golf clubs, skateboards, and camping gear in the Escape.
It could have been solved by not bringing my golf clubs, but I wanted to golf more than I wanted to camp. If we had a roof storage compartment, we could have easily stowed the tent, sleeping bags, stove, pillows, and gear. We didn’t have one, so we opted for hotels and golf over camping.
That all said, once I had expert packing help from my father, we were able to stuff a new bike for my son in amongst all our gear for the ride home.
A full length moon roof is always the star of the ride with my boys. The shade can come up halfway in case the glare gets too much for the kids glued to iPads on 12 hour road trips, but it still brightens up the cabin and I enjoy it too.
Since we were on the highway for most of the trip, I didn’t crack the sunroof as the A/C was enough to keep us cool and I wasn’t interested in extra road noise.
It was a little difficult for my 6 yr old to buckle himself in the backseat in his booster. The footprint of the booster extended a little farther than the seatbelt buckle allowed. This meant I had to slide him over and buckle him in, or he needed help from his brother each time we got in the Escape.
We had enough room to cram both boys and their ‘rescue packs’ into the back seat, and the extra DC plug on the back of the front seat console helped when the iPads were drained. I have no complaints about the ride or front seat comfort. You can move the seats in all directions and tilt the steering wheel to exactly where you need it.
The Escape has a lot of pep, press that gas pedal and it will go. This was great for passing going uphill, but also made me a little nervous going down hill. The muscle was a little more than I could handle. Sitting up high in a vehicle is not something I’m used to, and the downhill speeds on the Coquihalla Highway were well beyond my comfort zone. While most zoomed past at above the 120 kph limit, I stayed well below. That’s just my driving style, your mileage may vary.
This is where I’m not completely a fan of the Ford set-up. I am picky about user experience and I’m finding that, on the back side of 40, I really do like what I know and learning how to do things in different ways is .. well .. harder.
I don’t drive a Ford on a daily basis, so that meant learning how to use the interface. I only had the vehicle a week, if I had it longer, the learning curve evens out, but for me it was steep.
The voice prompts for navigation can get very repetitive and it’s frustrating when Siri, or whomever runs the Ford Nav, doesn’t understand a command at first, second, or third blush. The audio buttons are also odd, instead of being vertical, they’re inlaid horizontally. This means you have to reach and extra bit to make adjustments and I didn’t find is as natural since I’ve spent 30+ years driving cars with vertical controls. (there’s that old man voice again)
CarPlay takes some getting used to. It’s great to access things on your phone, have text messages read to you (and dictate them back), but it really takes over the entire console. It uses Apple’s maps instead of the car’s navigation system and switching between the two takes some getting used to. I think you need to decide if you want CarPlay or the stock dash, and stick with one for an easier experience.
With an Eco-boost engine, the Ford Escape Titanium Edition turned out a respectable 9.3l/100km for our 2000+km trip to the coast and back. A neat feature that takes some getting used to is the engine shutting off when you come to a complete stop. We were in stop and go traffic down the #1 in the Fraser Valley and the Escape would casually stop running when we stopped to save fuel. It also works at stoplights. A nice little added extra to help your mileage numbers.
The 2017 Ford Escape Titanium Edition is a stylish, comfortable ride that will work well for small families who need to do some mid sizing hauling on the weekends but still want something that has city-friendly fuel economy.
You need to be a fan of the Ford Sync system and how the interface changes when you are using your mobile in the dash. This is the biggest hurdle for me to overcome as it is not something I use everyday. While I did get somewhat used to the features I used most often, I still found the learning curve a little clunky, and sometimes frustrating.
Spend some time with it on a test drive and really give the console a workout to make sure it suits your workflow.
HAVE A LOOK
You can watch my full video review here:
Disclosure: I was given use of a 2017 Ford Escape Titanium Edition for a week to facilitate this review.