This Ford Escape Titanium still impresses in terms of styling and cabin layout. Of course, the interior is similar to what you’d find in a Ford Focus, meaning you’ll find Ford's improved Sync 3 working the infotainment system — it's a lot better than MyFord Touch on older Ford products.
But that’s not really what’s important about the new Escape. This crossover’s prowess is, oddly enough, under the hood. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is incredibly peppy. So much so that Ford engineers should have considered something to help keep torque steer down. Admittedly, it isn’t as bad as the Ford Focus ST in that department, but the automatically shifted car will pull the wheels to the right when you’re heavy on the throttle.
Steering is light and generally OK unless you have Ford’s lane keep assist active, which I found to be both intrusive and unresponsive. Somehow walking the line between frustratingly moving your wheel when you’re trying to correct the car’s trajectory and not helping you when you’re trying to push the system to its limits, it doesn’t really work that well, for me. Admittedly, the road surface where I tested the Escape’s system wasn’t even close to perfect, so that might have made the system less responsive.
Of the small crossovers, this Ford is probably one of the most fun to drive for speed freaks even if I still prefer the handling of the Mazda CX-5. The suspension is soft and set up for pothole duty, which is fine, but it induces a lot of roll and dive — also fine for the folks that will probably be buying this car. Now, tell me when the Escape RS comes out.
–Wes Wren, associate editor