Fast forward to the 2017 model year and the Escape is in what Ford calls the model's fourth generation, though it could equally be considered an evolution of the outgoing design, introduced in 2012.
New stuff includes more angular styling that links Escape to its larger Edge sibling, but there are less-obvious changes too.
A new 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder replaces last year's 1.6L, and despite its smaller displacement the new engine is nominally more powerful, cranking out an estimated 180 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. Also back for 2017 is a 2.0L turbo four that also enjoys a small power bump. Available once again in entry level models is a 2.5L naturally-aspirated four-cylinder. A six-speed automatic transmission returns as the only gearbox available, but you do get the option of front- or all-wheel drive.
Both turbo engines use auto start-stop to shut down at stoplights and save fuel. Ford hasn't published ratings yet, but expect a small improvement over the 2016 estimates, which ranged from 10.1/7.4 L/100 km (city/highway) for a 1.6L FWD model to 11.4/8.4 in a 2.0L AWD model.
Key available features are tech-based in nature, like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and SYNC Connect, which allows an owner to use a smartphone app to remotely start the engine, lock the doors, or check the fuel level.
Safety options carried over include blind spot detection, automatic high beams, a foot-activated tailgate, and an enhanced active park assist system that can now steer the car into a perpedicular parking stall as well as parallel spots.
Interior design changes include an electric parking brake that does away with the space-hogging console-mounted handle, and the 2017 Escape also benefits from Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system.