By Shari Prymak

2017 Ford Escape - The Ford Escape is one of the country's best-selling crossovers and for good reason. It's practical, affordable, and stylish enough to appeal to just about anyone. The crossover segment, however, is a competitive one, and the Escape needs to excel in all areas if its to maintain its popularity.

The Escape is certainly sharper looking than many of its competitors. The interior too is quite nice and a very welcoming place to be. The seats are comfortable, outward visibility is quite good, and the build quality appears to be solid. One issue though is that rear seat and cargo space is noticeably less than that of many other small crossovers.

Those who insist on having the latest and greatest in technology in their small crossover should look no further than the Escape. The well optioned Titanium model I tested came equipped with a hands-free, sensor-activated tailgate, MyFord touch with voice activated navigation, a self-parking system, panoramic sunroof, and all of the latest safety systems. At just under 45 grand, the Titanium is quite pricey - a loaded up CR-V or CX-5 retails for around 36 grand by comparision - but that’s also a lot of content. For those who can live without the high level of gadgetry, the entry level S model starts at only $23,765.

My tester was also equipped with four-wheel drive, a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission, and Ford’s Ecoboost, 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine. In addition its gutsy power and smooth operation, this engine allowed the Escape to return a respectable level of fuel efficiency. According to the onboard monitor, I averaged around 11.0L/100km in a mixture of city and highway driving, not bad for a 230 horsepower 4WD SUV. The midrange SE model, and its smaller 1.6L turbo engine, should manage even better than that. The entry level S model uses a carryover non-turbo 4-cylinder engine from the old Escape and is only available with front-wheel drive.

The new Escape proved to be a very competent and desirable crossover. This is now, however, one the most competitive vehicle segments, and the Escape is facing off against some heavy competition. The new Mazda CX-5 rules as the fuel economy and handling champion of the small crossovers. The Nissan Rogue is significantly more spacious. And the Honda CR-V offers great appeal with its well-earned reputation for outstanding reliability and resale value. The Escape mostly stands out for its optional brawny turbocharged engine, high technology content, and above average styling. If any of those are priorities, the Escape is certainly worth a look.