By Cars.com EditorsNovember 19, 2015
About the video
The compact SUV class is hot, with strong sales and plenty of solid competitors in the segment. Ford updated its entry for 2017 and we took a closer look at it at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
(engine revving) The popular Ford Escape gets a significant refresh here. We're at the auto show. We'll check out the styling changes, what's different on the inside, and some of the safety and engineering tech.
The biggest change upfront, obviously, is with the grille. It's a new hexagonal design. It kind of looks more upright, a little bit lower here, and it's got Ford's bladed inserts. Draws a lot of similarities here to the larger Edge SUV, a little bit similar to a Subaru Outback if you look at it straight on. Now check out the bumper. A little bit more of a cohesive design here with more organized openings. The last Escape had a few more openings. It wasn't exactly a bad looking SUV, but I think, actually, this kind of is a better looking front end. You get around the side, very similar profile here to the outgoing Escape. Ford says it did change some of the rear suspension to improve ride quality, actually, but without taking away from any of the Escape's steering and handling, which is something we like about the existing generation. Not as wild about the changes to the rear here. The big change kind of occurs with the taillights. They're less sleek. They're kind of taller here. I don't know, I kinda think they look a little clunky now. The updated Escape carries over Ford's SYNC 3 system. It's new, it was actually introduced last year. It replaces MyFord Touch's kind of quadrant layout. It's much faster here, has simpler menus. Overall, a big improvement there. That's not the only change on the inside. Ford says pretty much everything from about here all the way back to here is completely different now, and this does sculpt out a little bit more space. In the last Escape, there was kind of a bulkier center console. It kind of came all the way down here from the stack to the console itself. There's now an electronic parking brake in place of the handbrake that used to be here, and the gear shifter itself has been moved over. It's a little bit smaller, and there's a few more storage spaces, and kind of cubbies, plus more tactile climate controls here. They pop out a little bit more from the dashboard itself, easier to use here than last year. New available safety tech includes a Drowsy Driver Detection System and new Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist. Unfortunately, Ford says it didn't do anything to improve crashworthiness for the updated Escape, which is a little bit concerning because the current car gets a poor rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap frontal test. That said, the new Escape has a couple of turbo engines that are new. Also, a new Auto Stop Start System when you're at stoplights and stuff, which should help gas mileage a little bit. We'll find out more when the updated Escape goes on sale in spring of 2016. (trunk slamming)