AEB now standard across the range, sporty ST-Line joins the family

Ford Australia has confirmed 2018.5 Escape pricing and specifications, announcing the addition of range-wide standard autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and a new ST-Line grade from September.

Every new Escape will include AEB as standard, having previously bundled it in the $1300 Driver Assist Technologies pack on Trend and Titanium models, and not offered it on the base Ambiente.

Both the Ambiente and Trend have had their price upped by $500 in conjunction with the new gear, but the Technology Pack (with adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, a tyre pressure monitor and lane-keeping assist) is now $500 cheaper, priced at $800.

Also new to the price leader are 17-inch alloy wheels, replacing the steelies previously fitted as standard. Power in the base grade will come from the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost petrol, paired with either a six-speed manual (110kW/240Nm) or automatic (134kW/240Nm) transmission.

The same engine is also offered in the Trend, alongside a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel ($38,990) with all-wheel drive producing 132kW and 400Nm. The oiler is mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic, and isn't offered in front-wheel drive trim. The 178kW/345Nm 2.0-litre Ecoboost Trend with all-wheel drive is also available from $36,490 plus ORCs.

New to the range is the ST-Line ($39,990 before on-roads), sitting between the Trend and Titanium in the line-up. Power comes exclusively from the 178kW/345Nm 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo, hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission and on-demand all-wheel drive.

The hotter model sits 10mm lower than the rest of the range, and runs with thicker anti-roll bars to complement its sportier steering setup. Ford is promising less body roll in the bends, and an all-around sharper feeling – putting the 'sport' into SUV, basically.

There are new 18-inch alloy wheels in black, dark fog-light surrounds, a blacked-out grille and a new rear diffuser treatment to set the car apart from more mundane offerings, too.

Inside, the ST-Line gains leather trim with red stitching, an ST steering wheel, stainless steel pedals, metal scuff plates and unique floor mats. Not quite the full Ford Performance treatment, sure, but closer than currently offered, and in keeping with the Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI R-Line or Kia Sportage GT Line in terms of special equipment and sporting ability.

Standard equipment includes AEB, obviously, along with keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. An ST-Line Technology Pack ($800) adds adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, a tyre pressure monitor and lane-keeping assist to the mix.

Finally, the Titanium (from $45,480) picks up the same extra driver assistance tech as the ST-Line – meaning blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are now fitted as standard. Additionally, the Titanium's Technology Pack has been reduced to $800, and includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, tyre pressure monitoring and lane-keep assist.

Regardless of trim, the car will come with Ford's new five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. The MY2018.5 Escape will be in showrooms this September.

2018.5 Ford Escape pricing

Escape Ambiente 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6MT$28,990 (+$500)
Escape Ambiente 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6AT$30,490 (+$500)
Escape Ambiente 1.5L EcoBoost AWD 6AT$33,490 (+$500)
Escape Trend 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6AT$33,490 (+$500)
Escape Trend 2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6AT$36,490 (+$500)
Escape Trend 2.0L TDCi AWD 6AT$38,990 (+$500)
Escape ST-Line 2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6AT$39,990 (NEW)
Escape Titanium 2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6AT $45,480 (+$490)
Escape Titanium 2.0L TDCi AWD 6AT$48,340 (+$890)

All prices exclude on-road costs