KELLY TAYLOR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
The new 2017 Ford Escape is available with a wide variety of the latest technology designed to enhance comfort and safety.
How much technology can they pack in one vehicle? There seems to be no limit, and as technology advances, it also becomes more economical. Technology once only offered on exotic or high-end luxury vehicles is now included on much lower priced vehicles. The 2017 Ford Escape is a great example of how sophisticated technology has become available to you and me.
The Escape is the best-selling compact SUV in North America for many reasons. Price, dependability, versatility, comfort and features make it attractive to all age groups, and when you look at the technology in this vehicle, it really is amazing what is available.
New for 2017 are features such as enhanced active park assist, lane-keeping alert and lane-keeping aid, driver-alert system, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and automatic brake support, automatic high beam headlamps, new Ecoboost engines with auto-stop feature and Sync Connect, and perhaps not high tech, but the addition of heated steering wheel and sport-appearance package options will make the Escape even more popular.
This is in addition to the high-tech features previously incorporated into the Escape such as hands-free foot-operated rear liftgate, blind-spot information system, cross-traffic alert, intelligent four-wheel drive, memory driver’s seat, remote start and touch- screen SYNC display.
Several of the new technologies use common sensing and input devices, so incorporating one makes it very easy to add other technologies. For example, the new adaptive cruise uses sensors to keep the vehicle a desired distance behind other vehicles when the cruise is set. The same sensors can also detect when closing distances between the Escape and another object are too fast, so it will flash warnings and automatically apply brakes to reduce the impact force, or perhaps even possibly prevent a collision. Camera recognition technology is advancing rapidly, and some of the systems utilize it, such as lane-keeping alert and automatic high-beam activation. A computer connected to the camera can monitor other traffic and switch headlamps between high and low beams, or monitor road markings to see if the vehicle is staying in its lane. If the vehicle wanders, then the electric-assist steering can help guide the vehicle back into position.
Park assist has been offered on many Ford vehicles, but the enhanced system now enables both parallel and perpendicular parking with the system controlling the steering while the driver controls the brake, gearshift and accelerator. The enhanced system also steers the vehicle out of a tight parking space as well, and the cross-traffic alert will warn you of vehicles approaching the rear of the vehicle from the sides while backing out of a parking spot. This feature alone has saved me from several close calls!
Driver alert is new to the Escape and it uses the lane-keeping sensing inputs to monitor driver attention. A drowsy driver will tend to make very little corrections to steering or throttle so the vehicle will wander. The system can then display warning messages and vibrate the steering wheel if it senses these type of conditions. I had the system warn me to take a break, after I intentionally drove on the highway with minimal steering and throttle inputs. Driving drowsy is really like driving impaired, and the system really works to warn drivers.
Convenience is always nice, and the Escape is the first Ford vehicle to include SYNC Connect. With the Fordpass app loaded on your smartphone, you can lock and unlock the car, schedule remote starts, monitor fuel level remotely and even locate your vehicle, which can be very helpful in a big parking lot.
The nice thing about much of the new technology being included on vehicles is that it works unobtrusively behind the scenes. Unlike the difficulty of programming an old VCR or setting the clock on your kitchen appliances, the vehicle works automatically to assist the driver to drive safer and more comfortably.