At a glance, it would appear that not much has changed since we last visited with the Ford Escape. The exterior styling hasn't changed much and has been described by more than one of our editors as "a bit anonymous."

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Tweaks to the design free up a bit more interior space, but the Escape is still a bit smaller than many of its fiercest competitors.

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The 2.5-liter naturally aspirated and 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine options persist for this year. The Ecoboost model gets a five-pony and a 5-pound-foot boost to horsepower and torque.

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New for the 2017 model year is a smaller 1.5-liter Ecoboost option. This model slots between the other two engines boasting 179 boosted horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

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You'd think the downsized engine would come with a boost to fuel economy, but the 1.5-liter turbo trails behind the competition's 2.5-liter naturally aspirated offerings by a few mpg across the board.

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The two Ecoboost engine options are available in both front- and all-wheel drive configurations. The latter is an on-demand system that only sends power to the rear axle under acceleration or in low-grip situations.

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At the mid-tier SE and top-grade Titanium trim levels, the Escape can be outfitted with a wide range of premium driver aid features, including semi-autonomous parking, adaptive cruise, lane-keeping assist and more.

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Available Sync 3 infotainment is significantly better than much of what the competition can offer. The software is responsive and quite easy to use.

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This model year marks the addition of Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Ford's own Sync Connect and Ford Pass systems to the already solid dashboard experience.

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If the Escape has an Achilles' heel, it's the fit and finish of the cabin design. I was neither a fan of the rubbery dashboard material nor the touchscreen's awkward positioning.

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