A new Ford Escape will hit the Australian market during the third-quarter of 2020 priced from $35,990 before on-road costs, giving the Blue Oval brand a more modern competitor to the nation’s most popular SUVs, including Mazda’s CX-5 and Toyota’s RAV4.
Ford’s outgoing Escape managed just 1.9 per cent market share in the Medium SUV segment last year - Australia's most popular vehicle type - and was outsold by the aforementioned pair 8:1, but this model has a huge chance at improving the brand’s fortunes.
It’ll join the smaller and slinkier Puma crossover to give the company a far more compelling line-up beyond its volume-selling Ranger ute, which currently accounts for almost two-thirds of its local sales.
Three specification levels will be offered kicking off with the eponymous front-wheel drive (FWD) Escape, with the sportier-design ST-Line commanding a $2000 premium, and the flagship Vignale an additional $8600.
The latter pair can be had with all-wheel drive (AWD) for an additional $3000.
Perhaps more interestingly, the Escape will also be available in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) guise, with the ST-Line’s level of features and priced between entry and premium grades of its Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arch-rival.
Platform and dimensions
The Escape’s modular ‘C2’ platform is stronger and more rigid than the old model’s, “delivering real world improvements to safety and fuel efficiency”. It shares much with the recently launched Focus wagon.
This new model is 44mm wider and 89mm longer than the outgoing car, while the wheelbase has increased 20mm. According to Ford’s tape measure that translates to 43mm more shoulder room and 57mm more hip room up front, and 20mm more shoulder room and 36mm more hip room in the back.
For rear seat passengers, the entire second row of seats can be moved forwards or backwards. Despite a 20mm lower overall height, the new Escape also brings a claimed 13mm more headroom for front seat occupants and 35mm of additional noggin space in the rear.
Powering all of the non-PHEV models is the most powerful engine in class, a 183kW and 387Nm 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol that uses a claimed 8.6L/100km. It’s mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission as standard in both FWD and on-demand AWD guises.
The ST-Line PHEV’s powertrain pairs a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine running the more efficient Atkinson-cycle, with an electric motor, making a combined 167kW. The battery has a 14.4kWh capacity, enabling a claimed pure-electric and zero-emission driving range of up to 50km.
Like the Outlander or Mini Countryman All4 PHEV, the Escape PHEV’s batteries can be charged up by a wallbox or regular household powerpoint, or more slowly by the petrol engine-generator and recuperated brake energy.
Once your battery’s usable energy is depleted the car still runs like a conventional hybrid, such as Toyota’s RAV4, where the electric motor chips in at low speeds and lends a hand to save fuel, though Ford Australia is yet to provide localised economy figures.
Every Escape gets the FordPass Connect embedded modem as standard, meaning app-based locking and unlocking, access to roadside assist and servicing data. In the PHEV you can view your charge level, information about charge locations and preferred times, and activate charging.
The Escape also continues with Ford’s Emergency Assist as standard, which can call 000 in an emergency when a smartphone is connected, if you’re incapacitated, and send your GPS details. It activates when the airbags deploy, for one example, unless you override it.
The Sync 3 infotainment software displays on an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and built-in voice activated sat-nav.
2020 Ford Escape pricing (before on-roads):
- Escape FWD 2.0 EcoBoost - $35,990
- Escape ST-Line FWD 2.0 EcoBoost - $37,990
- Escape ST-Line AWD 2.0 EcoBoost - $40,990
- Escape Vignale FWD 2.0L EcoBoost - $46,590
- Escape Vignale AWD 2.0L EcoBoost - $49,590
- Escape ST-Line PHEV FWD - $52,940
- AEB with pedestrian detection
- Evasive steering assist
- Forward collision warning
- Traffic sign recognition
- Blind-spot motoring
- Lane-departure warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Driver impairment monitor
- Tyre pressure monitor
- Emergency Assistance
- Active cruise control with adjustable speed limiter
- FordPass Connect embedded modem with FordPass App compatibility
- Push-button start
- Wireless smartphone charging
- DAB+ radio
- SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Voice-command in-built sat-nav with Australian accent recognition
- 8.0-inch touchscreen
- Reversing camera
- Front and rear-parking sensors
- Power windows with opening and closing via key fob
- LED headlights
Escape ST-Line extras:
- 18-inch sporty-design wheels
- Sportier skirts and grille design
- Lowered suspension
- Black roof rails
- Dark cabin headlining
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- Flat-bottom, red-stitched wheel
- 19-inch wheels
- Headlights with dynamic bending
- Proximity key fob
- Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Leather-accented seating
- 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
- 10-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat
- Heated front seats
- Heated rear outboard seating
- Panoramic sunroof
- Head-up display
- Hands-free power tailgate
- 180-degree rear-view camera
- ‘Advanced’ automated park assist
- Hands-free electric tailgate - $1300 on base model
- Technology Pack (Matrix LED headlights, head-up display) - $1000 on base model
- ST-Line Pack (hands-free tailgate, heated seats, Matrix headlights, head-up display) - $2800 on ST-Line grades
- 20-inch alloy wheels - $500 on Vignale
- Automated parking system from Vignale - $1500 on ST-Line
- Prestige paint - $650 range-wide