Value Equation: The 2017 Ford Escape SE

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Ford Escape SE
The 2017 Ford Escape SE.
It is mid-cycle freshening time for Ford's hot-selling small crossover, the Escape.  The new grille treatment makes the Escape look more like a Ford, and more to the point, a Ford truck, than an Asian import of indeterminate brand, which was pretty much the look through 2016.

Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Ford Escape SE
2017 Ford Escape SE.
The rear end, which many thought was very Hyundai-like, gets a new treatment as well, and is unmistakably Ford.  All this is a very good thing, because if there is one domestic brand that doesn't have an image problem, it is Ford.  Thank the F-150 and the Mustang for that.

Our test vehicle was the mid-line SE with front-wheel drive.  Base price is a very reasonable $25,100, but the options sent it skyrocketing from there.

Some of the options are absolutely musts in our book---especially the 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine, which gives the Escape some serious thrust, while still delivering an EPA-estimated 22 city/29 highway.  Well worth the additional $1,295.

Interior view of the 2017 Ford Escape
2017 Ford Escape interior.
The rest?  Well, they are all nice to have---the SE Technology Group including Sync 3, a reverse-sensing system, roof rack side rails, a blind spot information system and Sync Connect for $1,395; a power liftgate for $495; the panoramic vista roof for $1,495; a voice-activated touchscreen nav system for $795; 18-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels for $595 and the SE Leather Comfort Package with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power heated side mirrors and heated front seats for $1,595---but they add up to $6,370.  And that put the as-tested price for our vehicle, including $895 destination and delivery, at $33,660.

At that point, why not just go all the way and buy the Escape Titanium?  That's the model our Publisher and Executive Editor drove last year and even with the additional cost of the four-wheel-drive model he drove, the as-tested price of that car was $34,975.   Doing some rough calculations using this year's pricing, it is essentially a wash.  If you want this level of equipment, buy the Titanium.  If you're looking for a reasonably-priced small crossover with a low price tag, the SE with the Ecoboost engine can be had for about $27,000, making it a terrific value.

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