The 2017 Escape will be the first Ford to feature Sync Connect when it goes on sale next month, providing drivers with remote access to their vehicle via a mobile device. In addition, though, it is being offered with two new engines and the first major roll-out of Ford's Auto Start-Stop feature.
As we previously outlined, Sync Connect allows users to remotely locate, unlock, lock and start their car, as well as check its fuel level. It also allows users to start their vehicle's engine remotely, so that it is warm and defrosted when they get in on cold mornings.
For security, Sync Connect is enabled via a two-step verification process, which Ford says helps to protect the user's personal information. It is available at no cost for five years, although one thing Ford has flagged up since we last covered Sync Connect is that, to use it, you'll have to be a member of the FordPass mobility service.
In addition to Sync Connect, the Escape has a number of new driver-assist technologies. Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support use sensors to regulate the vehicle's speed in traffic and a there's a lane-keeping system that can both alert drivers if they start to drift out of their lane and automatically correct the steering if required.
Data from the lane-keeping system is also used to inform a driver fatigue alert system, which detects when a driver is tired and provides a visual warning, as well as steering-wheel vibrations. The Escape's enhanced active park assist system, meanwhile, provides steering assistance for both parallel and perpendicular parking, as well as when exiting tight parallel parking spots.
The new Escape also marks the "first high-volume appearance" of Ford's Auto Start-Stop technology, although some other carmakers already offer something similar. The feature shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a standstill, starting it up again in under half a second when it's time to move off. The aim of this is to reduce gas-use and emissions.
Finally, new 1.5-l and 2.0-l EcoBoost engines are offered with the Escape. They kick out 179 hp and 245 hp respectively and are both available with Ford's intelligent four-wheel-drive system.
After launching on the Escape next month, Sync Connect will feature on the new Ford Fusion later this year and then be rolled out to the rest of the Ford lineup. Prices for the 2017 Ford Escape start from US$23,600 on the Ford website. Registration for the FordPass service and use of its app are free of charge.