2016 Ford Escape Titanium 2.0L EcoBoost 4WD Review
Spend a little time in a new Escape and you’ll quickly understand why it’s capable of holding its top-three position despite the current generation’s age and the influx of recently updated and all-new competitors. It’s not brand new or particularly exciting, but it’s so good at everything compact SUV buyers want and need that even completely new rivals can look inadequate in comparison, while older ones, such as GM’s SUVs, are totally outclassed.
Despite my top-line 2016 Escape Titanium being filled up with extras like the larger more powerful 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine and 4WD, gorgeous 19-inch Luster Nickel painted alloys, a Class II towing package, great sounding Sony audio with voice-activated navigation, the completely updated Sync 3 audio system, an open and airy powered panoramic sunroof, and the Titanium Technology package that adds bi-Xenon HID headlamps with LED signature lighting, rain-sensing wipers, autonomous active park assist and front park assist, a forward sensing system, plus blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, its $37,960 price tag is still more than $3,500 cheaper than a comparatively naked GMC Terrain Denali.
From the outside, this being a Titanium, a satin-silver undertray for the Titanium adds a classy exterior touch, matching the large optional 19-inch alloys in color, while the same satin-silver highlighted the roof rails up top and the bumper cap in the rear, this vantage point also showing off dual chrome tipped exhaust pipes. There’s lots of chrome all around too, including the single rib across the upper grille and that opening’s lower surround, the faux side engine vent, the window surrounds, and the liftgate garnish.
Gaining access to the car be done via remote key fob or the Titanium’s standard proximity-sensing system, which also incorporates no-hands powered rear liftgate operation via a swipe of the leg under the rear bumper. If you’re engaged in activity that might damage the key fob, or if concerned about losing your key, Ford integrates a touch-sensitive digital security keypad to the driver’s side B-pillar that lets you punch in a personal code to lock and then get back inside where you can leave your keys in safety. No other automaker offers anything like it.
Once inside it’s easy to see the differences between this three-year old model and others that purport to be new. The Titanium boasts a soft-touch dash top as well as soft, padded surfacing for the front door uppers, while there’s plenty of satin-silver and bright metal detailing along with gray lacquered plastic accent trim rather than the usual shiny piano black stuff.
Another Escape bonus is very high-quality switchgear, much of it good enough to be used on Lincoln products. They all fit together well and are nicely damped while their materials quality is good too, some of the dials even using rubber grips for a very upscale appearance and feel.
Speaking of upscale, Ford has long been a leader when it comes to high-resolution, full-color digital displays, and this latest 2016 Escape Titanium has taken multi-function infotainment to new heights. The primary gauge package is the same, but it’s really a beautiful piece of work with sporty white on black speedometer and tachometer dials set within brushed aluminum shrouds. The multi-information display is unbelievably sharp and clear. If not the highest resolution MID in the industry it’s one of the best. The circular button on the left steering wheel spoke is all you’ll need to scroll through its functions and activate features, the up and down arrows swapping information as needed.
Over on the center stack, the Sync 3 infotainment system has been completely upgraded. It’s 100-percent touchscreen activated, so the best way to get started is to press the little house-shaped pictograph on the top left portion of the screen, which gives you a home screen with a full complement of features. The navigation map is most prominently displayed, while the square to the right shows audio info above and phone connectivity below. A strip of digital buttons lay across the bottom, allowing quick access to audio, climate, phone, nav, apps, and settings interfaces.
The audio and climate screens include all the expected features, yet their graphics are wonderfully appealing in their absolute minimalism, the former getting a thick circular animated dial that adds or subtracts more blue to the white background when increasing or decreasing volume, the entire infotainment system using an attractive light blue and white on black theme. The Sync 3’s phone section lets you check recent calls, your contact list, connection, and text messages, while it can also bring up a keypad or be set to do not disturb.
The settings section is filled to the brim with both the usual sound, clock, Bluetooth, phone, navigation, 911 assist, vehicle features, display adjustment, voice control, and valet mode features, plus Wi-Fi, mobile app settings, and ambient lighting functions, everything here giving you opportunity to make your Escape Titanium as personal and connected as possible.
Other features include two powered USB slots and a 12-volt charger housed within the narrow but deep center console bin, while just in ahead on the lower console are five-way seat heaters that flank another 12-volt charger. These heatable seats are some of the best in this class, offering more temperature settings than average and a really toasty top position. Leather is standard, by the way, and the seats are comfortable overall with good lateral support, the latter necessary in a vehicle that handles as well as the Escape Titanium.
Along with the comfortable ride is a quiet cabin that’s also suitably large and roomy front to rear, those seats in back offering lower back support that’s almost as good as those up front, whereas the cargo compartment is especially accommodating with a total of 34.3 cubic feet behind the 60/40 split-folding second row seatbacks and 67.8 cubic feet when they’re laid flat.
A turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine’s energetic performance puts 240 horsepower and 231 lb-ft of torque down to all four wheels, although a front-wheel drive version comes standard if you’d rather save a bit at purchase and ongoing at the pump. Ford also offers a 1.6-liter Ecoboost and a base 2.5-liter FWD.Accompanying each engine is a six-speed automatic transmission that’s plenty smooth and runs through the gears with ease.
Accompanying each engine is a six-speed automatic transmission that’s plenty smooth and certainly runs through the gears quickly enough, plus it comes with a toggle on the shifter knob for thumb-actuated gear changes, a manual-mode process Ford calls SelectShift that’s a bit easier than “strong-arming” the entire shift lever, yet it still falls short of steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, American Auto Press; Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, American Auto Press; Copyright: American Auto Press