With a redesigned center console, the new Ford Escape provides a 25 percent increase in front row storage and 15 percent increase in overall storage compared with existing model.

Storing your wallet, plugging in your cellphone and enjoying that cold, oversized beverage just got a whole lot easier with the new 2017 Ford Escape, thanks to the compact SUV’s redesigned interior.

Escape, the No. 2-selling Ford brand nameplate behind only F-Series, arrived in showrooms this month armed with the latest in advanced technologies – and more elbow room. The SUV has 25 percent more front row storage and 15 percent more overall storage compared with the existing Escape, thanks mostly to the redefinition of the space between the front seats.

“That whole center console area is what we call ‘Manhattan real estate’ because it’s valuable,” said Zulf Ali, Ford senior interior designer. “It isn’t a lot of space to work with, but as a designer, those constraints are exciting. It’s a challenge that forces you to be more creative – to ask yourself, ‘OK, how can we get clever with this?’”

The first hurdle was replacing the traditional handled parking brake with a smaller electronic parking brake button. With that, Ali was able to move the gear shifter rearward – opening up access to an area that now houses the media bin and power ports. Moving the gear shifter back also allowed designers to create a more comfortable position for a driver’s right arm.

In front of and behind the gear shifter, Ali created two storage bins to place wallet, keys, sunglasses and other everyday items often left sliding around on the passenger seat.

“We found ways to utilize as much of the space as we possibly could,” said Ali. “Adding the electronic parking brake really opened up a whole new world of possibilities.”

Slightly wider, the console features improved cupholders designed to accommodate a greater variety of bottle sizes, a larger main bin, and a front storage area that features easy access to a lighted USB port and 12-volt power outlet. The main center console bin, which also houses a USB port, is nearly 50 percent larger than in the current Escape. Using that USB port, drivers can keep their cellphone securely stored while remaining connected to the vehicle’s SYNC® 3 driver connect system.

A passenger-side cargo net adds additional storage, and the glove box uses a new swing-bin design to make it easier to store and access items.

Already tied* for highest-ranked compact SUV for initial quality, according to J.D. Power and Associates, the new Ford Escape looks to improve on that standing with these interior upgrades and new technology offerings – all designed to enhance the driving experience.

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