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2017 Ford Escape: A Glimpse at the Future of Ford Smart Mobility

The revamped 2017 Ford Escape began arriving in U.S. dealerships in May of this year, and the forward-thinking new version of the vehicle suggests where the Ford Smart Mobility subsidiary is headed in terms of connectivity, autonomous driving and fuel savings.

The Escape is the first Ford vehicle globally to offer SYNC Connect with FordPass, the automaker’s next step in connected driving. The technology provides a smartphone app that drivers can use to lock, unlock and locate their car. The app also lets users start their vehicle remotely and check to see if fuel is low. And these capabilities are just the beginning.

FordPass for Everyone

FordPass is available to anyone, Ford owners and non-owners alike, by downloading the app to a smartphone. Meanwhile, SYNC Connect sets up connectivity between the app and the vehicle.

By selecting the “My Vehicles” option from the clean, simple menu on the app, a driver can link the system to their car by snapping a photo of the vehicle identification number inside the door. From there, the vehicle’s details will pop up.

If you’re using the parking option on a trip downtown, FordPass can identify parking spots and their prices. Ford works with ParkWhiz and Parkopedia to find those spots and allows drivers to reserve them and pay through FordPay, the virtual wallet component of FordPass. The app also includes roadside assistance.

If you’re a Ford owner, the app’s capabilities go even deeper. You can use FordPass to schedule maintenance and service appointments with dealers. You can review your Ford Credit account or make payments. And the FordGuides feature connects you with real people who can answer your questions with the touch of a button.

More in the Works

Ford is also partnering with McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and BP to offer special perks to FordPass members, with more, similar partnerships planned for the future. Ford also intends to add ride sharing, car sharing and other mobility options.

In addition, the brand is planning to launch FordHubs, a series of urban storefronts where consumers can learn about Ford Smart Mobility services and products. The first opening is slated for this year at the Westfield World Trade Center in New York City, followed by openings in San Francisco, London and Shanghai.

A Closer Look at the Escape

For the 2017 model year, SYNC Connect with FordPass is part of the technology package on the Escape SE and comes standard on the Escape Titanium. The revised 2017 Ford Fusion will also offer the technology when the vehicle debuts later this year. The system will then be rolled out to the rest of the Ford line.

The new Escape is also the first Ford to offer the upgraded SYNC 3 infotainment system, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so drivers can integrate their mobile devices with the vehicle.

The Escape also offers an array of driver-assist technologies. Through adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake control, the vehicle can detect if it’s in danger of collision and apply the brakes to avoid a crash. Enhanced active park assist helps you steer your way into or out of a tough parallel-parking spot. Lane-keep assist warns you when you’re drifting from your lane and helps you steer back in. And with its driver-alert system, the Escape can even detect if you’re showing signs of fatigue and deliver a warning to keep you at attention.

Stop/Start on EcoBoost

The 2017 Escape also adds fuel-saving start/stop technology. Standard on two new EcoBoost engines, start/stop shuts off the engine during stops to eliminate fuel use and emissions.

The Escape’s base engine is the 2.5-liter 168-horsepower 4-cylinder. Two EcoBoost engines are new to the Escape, a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that gets 245 hp. The EcoBoost engines are available with all-wheel drive. All three powertrains come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at up to 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, depending on the engine.

Starting at just under $24,000, the 2017 Escape demonstrates Ford’s long-held democratization of connected, autonomous and fuel-saving vehicle technologies for the masses. The new model year of this standby in the Ford lineup provides an indication of where the automaker is headed with connectivity and mobile tech in the future.

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