A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

Taste of the Nation NYC

New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry, the signature tasting event featuring NYC’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, takes place Monday, April 24, on the East River Waterfront at the stunning 180 Maiden Lane. The evening is led by Honorary Chair Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group) along with Culinary Co-Chairs Anita Lo (Annisa) and Bryce Schuman (Betony), and Host Committee members Eli Sussman (Samesa), Chris Jaeckle (Uma Temakeria), William Elliot (Maison Premiere and Sauvage), Jack Logue (Betony), Flynn McGarry (Eureka) and Oskar Kostecki (Union Square Wines). United for a cause, these and other culinary tastemakers lend their talent and time to ensure a future where every child in this country gets the healthy food they need, every day. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event benefit No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in America.

Taste of the Nation 2017 will feature more than 40 of the city’s most popular eateries, offering guests bite-size fare, craft cocktails and inventive desserts. Participating restaurants and bars include Lalito, Union Square Cafe, Atoboy, Massoni, Pig Bleecker, Dead Rabbit, Black Tail, Pig & Khao and Daily Provisions, among others (full list below).

 

This year, Taste of the Nation is introducing new special culinary programming such as The Candy Carnival featuring a colorful selection of local, handmade candies and cotton candy making from Brooklyn Floss. The event is also bringing back favorites from previous years such as The Donut Derby with creations from the city’s best donut shops and the always-popular Rosé Garden.

In support of No Kid Hungry, alt-rock chart topping band The Strumbellas will perform a special acoustic set during the event, presented by Citi.  Listen to their new single “Young & Wild” here.

Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry tickets start at $250. For additional information and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://ce.nokidhungry.org/events/nyc-taste-nation

Every Kid, Healthy Food, Every Day

One in six children in this country struggles with hunger, including 22% of children in New York. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast in the classroom, have access to the food they need in the summer, and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. Since the campaign’s launch, No Kid Hungry and its partners have connected kids facing hunger to more than 500 million meals.

In 2016, New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry raised enough to help feed children in need more than one million healthy meals. Local beneficiaries include: City Harvest, Hunger Solutions NY, Food Bank for New York City and Hunger Free America.

New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry is supported by national presenting sponsors Citi and Sysco®, national media sponsor Food Network, national sponsors OpenTable and The Glenlivet, and local sponsors Bazzini, Empire City Casino, Fenton Models, Lifeway, Loacker USA, Moishe’s Moving and Storage, Nobletree, Prosciutto di Parma, PTG, Shawmut Design and Construction, S. Pellegrino, Tito’s, TouchBistro, Virgil Kaine and Zwilling J.A. Henckles.

The best eateries in the New York City area will be represented at the event, including: 21 Greenpoint, A&E Supply Co., Acme, American Cut, Atoboy, Bay Kitchen Bar, Bessou, Blacktail, Cafe Clover, Cafe2 & Terrace5 at MoMA, Cienfuegos, CUT, Daily Provisions, Davio’s, Dead Rabbit, DOE Mobile Meals Truck, El Atoradero, Fifty, Finback Brewing, Freek’s Mill, Fresh Kills, Huertas, Karasu, Lalito, La New Yorkina, Le Compagnie, Le District, Maialino, Maison Premiere, Marta, Maialino, Massoni, Oddfellows Ice Cream, Pig & Khao, Pig Bleeker, Samesa, Talde Brooklyn, The Jones, The Vnyl, Union Square Cafe , Union Square Events, Up & Up,

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Travel

2017 Hyundai Elantra

As I mentioned in my previous, post the family and I went away to the beautiful Kalahari.  This trip was about 2 hours from our house, and traveling with kids you want comfort in a vehicle.  I had the opportunity to take the 2017 Hyundai Elantra on the road for this trip. It’s a small compact car, but was actually comfortable. The passenger space in the back was small but comfortable and standard.  This car is perfect for a couple that is just starting out or maybe for a college graduate. 

Pros: 
  • Quiet, comfortable cabin, especially at highway speeds
  • Lots of available technology and safety features
  • Classy and thoughtfully laid-out interior design
Cons:
  • Underwhelming performance from base engine
  • Dual-clutch transmission feels clunky during slow-speed acceleration 
  • More steering effort required than in most cars in this class
  • Limited cabin space 

Luxury car technology

Elantra is the compact sedan with just about every popular luxury and technology feature. Available features include: Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay™, navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen with segment-first Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology and rearview camera, plus Smart Cruise Control, just to name a few.

Safety is key, especially being a parent of 2 little ones. The Elantra has Seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag. The list of advanced safety features is long and impressive, and includes available Blind Spot Detection and Automatic Emergency Braking with segment-first Pedestrian Detection—a feature not offered on most compact class sedans.

Thanks at Driveshop for providing me with the opportunity. Visit https://www.hyundaiusa.com/ for more information.  

Food!! · Travel

Kalahari Waterpark Resort

Last month my family and I got invited to the most amazing resort, Kalahari here in Pennsylvania. Kalahari Resorts and Conventions isn’t your typical resort – its authentically African theme is designed to bring families together, and that isn’t just a marketing ploy.  The spirit of Africa is reflected in every aspect of Kalahari – from the handpicked Rwandan coffee beans that are brewed on-property (if you love coffee you will enjoy this delicious cup), handcrafted artwork on the convention center walls, furniture placed in guest rooms, recorded music from the streets of Cape Town echoing in the resorts, and original crafts for guest souvenirs.  It’s all part of Kalahari’s commitment to bring guests a beyond-expectations experience.  Below you will find some great information.

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Kalahari Resort – Pocono Mountains

  • Guest rooms and suites: nearly 1,000 rooms including one-, two- and three and five bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 22 guests 
  • America’s Largest Indoor waterpark: 220,000 sq. ft. 
  • Outdoor pool, large sundeck for relaxing, indoor/outdoor whirlpools and swim-up bar
  • Family Entertainment Center: 40,000 square feet with dry activities such as mini-bowling, cutting-edge arcade games, a 5-D theater and black light mini golf. 
  • The Arena – premier free-roam virtual reality experience on the East Coast
  • Gorilla Grove Treetop Outdoor Aerial Adventure Park
  • On-site dining experiences: 
    • Double Cut Charcoal Grill Liquor Bar:  Kalahari’s signature steak house experience featuring: premium cuts of meat, craft cocktails, family style sides and more 
    • Sortino’s Italian Kitchen: A new-aged, red-sauced restaurant where old-school Italian cuisine meets the modern age. The menu will include: wood-fired pizza, Italian family dining, a large variety of wines and more. 
    • Marrakesh Market: Grab and go convenience e bazaar style shopping, unique gifts, authentic-African items and everyday needs
    • Brandberg:  A classic tavern with a modern twist, Brandberg is an oasis in the Kalahari – a refuge for adults, a welcoming environment for families, and a destination for anyone in search of a distinctive dining and drinking experience 
  • Amenities: full-service Spa Kalahari and Salon, 6,000 square-feet of unique retail shops, a fully equipped fitness center
  • Convention Center:  100,000 sq. ft. with 65,000 square feet of flexible meeting space
I was impressed with all the restaurant options that Kalahari had to offer. Every restaurant is family friendly. They also offer breakfast with the Kalahari characters, which is an all you can eat sit down breakfast. 
For dinner we went over to Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar. Transport into our contemporary steakhouse, featuring a menu with robust selections cooked over hot coals including steak, seafood, chops, chicken and vegetables. One quality many items share: the distinctive flavor imparted by Double Cut’s charcoal grill.

The décor is modern, but not pretentious. The ambiance is sophisticated and multisensory, yet comfortable. The staff is educated, but not showy. The uniforms are unique, but classically tasteful. Welcome to Double Cut. 

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We started off our dinner with some fantastic wine and black pepper calamari. Our waitress was super helpful bringing out the different cuts of meat that Double cut has to offer. I ordered filet mignon with jumbo shrimp scampi and garlic mashed potatoes (my mouth is actually watering, thinking about it). The hubby ordered a NY strip with madiera mushrooms and charred asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Kids enjoyed some pasta, one with butter sauce and one with marinara.  Finishing off dinner we enjoyed some aged bourbon and creme brûlée.  I would recommend Double Cut to any steak lover. 
In addition to the amazing décor and dining experiences, the entertainment level is fun for all ages.  We had a blast with the kids at their massive indoor water park, had fun at the large arcade where you can win prizes and play some fun games, and my husband even got to try a new Virtual Reality experience in their “Arena.”  You can read his review of that here: https://scryptcomics.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/a-whole-new-experience/.  There’s lots of fun for all ages, and I hope to return again soon.
Visit https://www.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania for more information and to book your next family getaway
Travel

2017 Genesis G80 and G90

Meet the 2017 Genesis G80 and G90. These cars fit perfectly in the luxury vehicle world. I was so impressed with the comfortable rides they provide, and all the latest features.

There’s nothing inside that looks shared with the Hyundai market either. The G90 looks and feels expensive inside, like a proper luxury car should. Here are some of the specs:
EXTERIOR DESIGN
In crafting the Genesis G90, the Prestige Design Group aimed to capture the vehicle’s strength and originality, while presenting fresh appeal through innovative styling and athletic proportions.

From the front, the G90 identity is easily distinguished by its bold ‘CREST’ grille, and crowned with the winged Genesis emblem. Ideally proportioned, the G90 combines a prominent hood with short overhangs, a design feature that accentuates the model’s strength and presence. Available full-LED signature headlights (V8 model) flow from fascia to fender – a key design element of the new Genesis brand. On the lower fascia, standard LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) add a distinctive illumination signature.

A bold arcing character line spans the length of G90, accentuating the vehicle’s dynamic profile. Refined use of chrome elements also serve to create an elegant and premium appearance, along with standard 19-inch alloy wheels. In the rear, chrome dual asymmetrical exhaust tips integrated in the lower bumper balance the vertical LED taillights providing a modern luxury feel. Even more, the clean lines of the G90 yield the additional benefit of an exceptional 0.27 coefficient of drag for minimized wind noise and enhanced fuel efficiency, a best-in-class for the segment.

The G90 is available in six colors created to accentuate its distinctive lines. Ranging from Casablanca White and Caspian Black to Manhattan Brown, Santiago Silver, London Gray and Patagonia Blue. The color palette was painstakingly matched to its interior environments and sophisticated material selections.

INTERIOR DESIGN
Effortless ergonomics, interior design harmony, convenience and luxurious comfort are seamlessly combined to craft the Genesis G90 interior design. Virtually every element of the interior focuses on the passenger’s needs, from the intuitive horizontal layout of driver controls to meticulous craftsmanship with precision stitching, and a premium material selection perfectly complimented by an elegant interior color palette.

Extensive consideration was given to material selection for the G90. The highest-quality, authentic materials adorn the cabin, with ease of operation and intrinsic beauty as fundamental priorities for the interior. Occupants are surrounded by genuine wood accents, including the leather-stitched instrument panel. Even the Lexicon® audio speaker grilles convey an ultra-luxury feel, precision-machined out of stainless steel.

Passenger space is a key component of interior comfort and design, and the new G90 has improved spaciousness, derived in part from a generous 4.5-inch increase in wheelbase for greater passenger comfort. This increase in wheelbase also resulted in reduced overall overhangs. Inside the cabin, this translates to superior front headroom (41.1 inches) and legroom (46.3 inches) when compared with key competitors.

Out of the pair of them, the G90 is my absolute favorite. My kids and hubby loved it as well. This car was super hard to give back. If you ever get the time or are in the market for a new car, go test drive and see for yourself how amazing these cars are.

The G80 is a rear-wheel-drive, midsize luxury sedan that seats five people. Hyundai recently spun off Genesis as a standalone luxury brand, and the 2017 Genesis G80 is one of the first models to come out under Hyundai.
The G80 is smaller than the G90 but still very roomy. For those seeking value and something distinct from established luxury brands, the G80 is a compelling choice. A 311-hp 3.8-liter V-6 with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive is standard, and a 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8 is optional; all-wheel drive is available, but only with the V-6 engine. The G80’s long standard-equipment list includes an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a head-up display, navigation, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

Safety is important. Hyundai’s new Genesis G80 and G90 were recognized for their top rate safety features by the Car Connection, which awarded one of their rarely awarded perfect scores. Federal and IIHS tests also gave perfect scores to both vehicles in all five of their safety tests.

In closing, these are vehicles suitable for families, cruising, classy events, and bachelor’s/bachelorettes. There’s not much else that can be said, other than the Genesis brand is sure to last a long time.

I give the Genesis a 9 out of 10. For more information visit https://www.genesis.com/us/en/genesis.html

Travel

2016 Mazda CX 5

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The Mazda CX 5 is a perfect little crossover, offering a great drive and comfort.  Mazda CX 5 receives several improvements intended to refine its appearance, enhance its functionality, update its technology, and polish its driving dynamics.

 
After a week of running around to taking my kids to school and to after school activities I can see why Mazda is popular with families.  It’s convenient interior space, and comfortable seating alone makes it worth while, but the overall package is amazing as well. 
 
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The interior of the 2016 Mazda CX-5 is designed for both functionality and modern style. Front seats are roomy enough to make any driving position easy to settle into with plenty of support. The backseat is spacious for passengers. On models equipped with a folding seatback, the mechanism lowers the seat bottom before the seat itself folds to provide a floor that is as near to flat as possible for your cargo needs.
Available features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, a Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, satellite radio, navigation, a power moonroof, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and low-speed automatic braking with forward collision warning.
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Gas mileage manages 24 mpg city, 30 highway with all-wheel drive.
All in all this is a great crossover.  I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Visit Mazda for more information https://www.mazdausa.com/
Travel

2017 Mazda 6

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Here’s another great car addition to my review list. When you have to be on the road for either work or pleasure, I think the 2017 Mazda 6 can provide that. Comfortable seating and roomie interior is key to an enjoyable drive. As a family of 4 we really enjoyed this sedan.
Mazda now offers SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS with G-Vectoring Control, to help achieve a smoother, less fatiguing drive. When cornering, on initial turn-in and throughout, the system works seamlessly by adjusting power delivery and shifting vehicle weight.

Its style gives it a sleek appearance and the strong engine gives a sporty feel. The 2017 Mazda 6 is a midsize sedan with seating for five.
Standard features for the Sport trim include: 17-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats with lumbar support for the driver, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a rearview camera, the Mazda Connect infotainment system with voice control, text messaging capabilities, a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker CD player with auxiliary/USB input, HD radio and internet streaming radio.

The EPA estimates fuel economy at 28 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway) for models with the manual transmission. The Mazda 6 has strong safety ratings in all forms. Making it a safe ride for the family.

All in all I give this an 8 out of 10. Visit https://www.mazdausa.com for more details.

Travel

2017 Lexus RX 350

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Lexus has been on my list of different car brands to try.  I have always been in love with the style of the car. They have sleek looks on all their models. When I got this opportunity to be able to try the Lexus RX I was excited. This car is just beautiful, providing you with so much.

RX 350 is a pleasant place to spend a long road trip. It has comfy seats with available intelligent heating and cooling.  The cabin is quiet and relaxing, and the ride smooth.
The rear seats have plenty of room for passengers and they recline, which my kids were super excited about.
The 2017 Lexus RX 350 comes with a generous list of standard features, including automatic dual-zone climate control, satellite radio with real-time traffic information, a nine-speaker sound system, a liftgate, a rearview camera, proximity key entry, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. The 2017 RX has the standard Lexus Safety System, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and lane keep assist.
Available features include rear cross traffic braking, a panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitoring, a multi-angle camera, smartphone integration, navigation, park assist, a hands-free power liftgate, a dual-screen DVD entertainment system, a 12- or 15-speaker audio system, and sport-tuned suspension.

2017 Lexus RX 350 Safety Features

  • Driver Air Bag
  • Passenger Air Bag On/Off Switch
  • Passenger Air Bag
  • Rear Air Bag
  • Side Head Air Bag
  • Rear Head Air Bag
  • Side Air Bag
  • Rear Body Air Bag
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • ABS
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • 4-Wheel Drum Brakes
  • Front Disc/Rear Drum Brakes
  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Auto-On Headlights
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Child Safety Locks
  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Night Vision
  • Adjustable Pedals
  • Rollover Protection System
  • Front Tow Hooks
  • Rear Tow Hooks
  • Traction Control
  • Emergency Trunk Release
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Auto-Leveling Headlights
  • Lane Departure Warning
It gets above-average fuel economy for its class. 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy drops just a bit to 19/26 mpg city/highway with all-wheel-drive models.
All in all I give this car a 9 out of 10. I’m just in love with what Lexus has to offer and I can’t wait to tryout other models and maybe even do a video for you.
Visit http://www.lexus.com/models/RX for more information.
Travel

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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December has been such a busy month from holiday shopping to TV segments and events.  While doing all this running around, I had the opportunity to try out the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.  My opinion on this car before I go into the break down, is it’s a great little inexpensive vehicle with many uses.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a four-cylinder base engine, and a five-speed manual and automatic transmission is standard.  The acceleration on this is not on the strong side, and perhaps that’s my real complaint.  It’s a 24/31 mpg city/highway with the CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The Outlander Sport’s ride is smooth and comfortable.

The cabin design I thought could use some updating, but both rows of seats are supportive and somewhat roomy.   The infotainment system is generally easy to use, although the one I drove did not have navigation which made things a little harder.  The Outlander Sport has good cargo capacity for the class.

 Available features include push-button start, a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a navigation system with a 7-inch touch screen and voice recognition.
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The 2016 Outlander Sport has 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 49.5 with them folded. The available panoramic sunroof was pretty cool, and one of the biggest ones I have seen; although it does not open. The trunk was perfect for all the shopping or traveling that some of us have to do. 
All in all I give this a 6 out of 10.

Travel

Lincoln MKX

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I have been wanting to try out a Lincoln car or SUV for a very long time.  They always looked like fine luxurious vehicles.  Boy was I right.  It has everything plus more.  I was part of the NYCWFF last week and I got to enjoy this beautiful ride as my main source of transportation. 

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The 2016 Lincoln MKX is a larger, more sophisticated midsize luxury crossover, than its previous model.  It’s technology features, and a unique premium sound system, give the Lincoln an extra edge.  The MKX shares some similarities with its cousin the Ford Edge. 
Standard safety features on the Lincoln MKX include a rearview camera, multiple airbags, passive anti-theft system, post-crash alert system, tire pressure monitoring, child-safe rear door locks, perimeter alarm, and passive anti-theft system.
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Several additional safety features are available individually on select trim levels.  This includes inflatable rear outboard safety belts, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, and the Enhanced Security Package which requires a valid coded key to avoid drive away theft and electronic lockable storage.
That touch screen controls most of the MKX’s technology, including the audio system, navigation, 360-degree camera system, climate control and 22-way power seats.
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You put the MKX into gear with a row of buttons on the left side of the console’s 8-inch touch screen.
Front seats are plush with rich leather surfaces and an easy-chair feel that gives the driver and passenger a relaxing ride.  They’re easily adjustable for varying heights helping ensure good visibility.  Did I also mention that the seats give you a massage?  Yes a massage, just the right amount for a long road trip. 
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Rear seats are equally comfortable, although the middle seat isn’t suited for long drives.  It is incredibly roomy with 39.2 inches of headroom and 39.6 inches of leg room
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As most of Lincoln’s models, the exterior design of the 2016 MKX represents a significant departure from the previous model.  The newcomer now has the company’s corporate look with split-wing grille, elegant side profile, and new, blade-like headlights.  Those changes result in well-balanced proportions and give the vehicle a rather interesting and appealing look.
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I give the Lincoln a 9 out of 10. For more information visit http://www.lincoln.com/crossovers/mkx/
Travel

2017 Ford Escape

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I finally had the opportunity to try out the 2017 Ford Escape. This is the first time I was able to try out a ford and I have to say I was quiet pleased. The car has some great features.

The popular small crossover SUV has come a long way from its debut in 2001. It uses the latest update of Ford’s Sync voice-command system. It also gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrated into the infotainment system. Which was a convenient feature. It was like having your iPhone right on the screen.
Ford Escape offers three engines: The 2.5L with independent variable cam design (iVCT). The available 1.5L EcoBoost® iVCT, the most fuel-efficient Escape engine.* And for more punch at the pedal, the available 2.0L EcoBoost with twin-scroll turbocharger. Both EcoBoost engines feature fuel-saving and emissions-conscious Auto Start-Stop Technology.
*EPA-estimated rating of 23 city/30 hwy/26 combined mpg.
2017 Escape is smarter than ever. Available technology can alert you to unintentional lane drift, warn you of a vehicle in your blind spot, auto-maneuver you into (or out of) a tight parking spot, or open the available hands-free, foot-operated liftgate with just a gentle kick under the rear bumper. And the EcoBoost® engines feature Auto Start-Stop Technology to help save fuel when you’re driving in the city.

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Additional technology making its first appearance in an Escape includes adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and brake pre-conditioning; lane-assist alert and active lane aid, which makes steering corrections; and enhanced parking assist (the driver operates the pedals and gearshift, the system controls the steering), which now performs in parallel and perpendicular parking situations.
Returning to the Escape for 2017 are blind-spot monitoring, hill-start assist, automatic high beams, and the vaunted foot-activated tailgate.
Escape Titanium with the most powerful engine, all the tech that matters and upgraded cabin materials and amenities, and the price climbs just above $38,000. That’s fairly pricey for this class, but Ford crams in a lot of features for the money.
A new Sport Appearance package equips the Escape SE or the Escape Titanium with blacked-out exterior trim, blacked-out 19-in. wheels, dark-tinted headlight bezels and taillights, partial-leather seats with a V-shaped pattern, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shiftier.
The 2017 Ford Escape has more padded materials giving a high-quality look. Ford also adjusted the design of the center console, moving the shiftier back to provide easier access to the climate controls and switching to an electronic parking brake to free up more space for storage. Improved sound insulation means the Escape is about as quiet as a luxury vehicle on the highway.
Escape’s front seats are comfortable and wide, though the back seats provide a pretty spacious back seat for the small SUV.The Escape shares a new 6-sided grille with the Edge and Fusion sedan. The bumper has been equipped with a huge center cut-out with two small hollows. Fog lights sit below the headlights.
All in all I give this an 8 out of 10. It’s an outstanding car with great features. Make sure to check out your local ford dealer for a test drive or visit http://www.ford.com/dealerships/locate