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Get away from it all with the Ford Escape.

Ford’s forthcoming Escape brings that nameplate full circle, replacing the Kuga which replaced the Escape. It’s part of Ford’s global naming strategy but also brings a kit bag full of technology. Here’s the lowdown on the 2017 Escape.When compared with the current Ford Kuga model, the Escape will have a sharper recommended Manufacturer’s List Price (‘MLP’) of $28,490* for the entry level model, a new front-wheel drive 1.5-litre Trend model further heightening appeal. The Escape range offers families a suite of advanced Driver Assist Technologies (DAT). Seven airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, Rollover Mitigation, Reverse Camera and sensors will be standard on every Escape. SYNC® 3^ – Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system – featuring faster performance, intuitive smartphone-like full-colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay#, Android Auto# compatibility and embedded sat-nav is standard across the range.Key changes for Escape over the Ford Kuga include:

  • Refreshed design inside and out for a distinctive look.
  • Improved specification including paddle-shifters on auto Escape, building on the fun-to-drive ethos.
  • Improved fuel economy for 2.0-litre models thanks to automatic start/stop as standard, reducing running costs.
  • New FWD 1.5-litre Escape Trend fills the gap in Ford’s line-up, providing a variant that almost one-third of customers in this segment choose.
  • Sharper starting MLP of $28,490.

The new Escape features Ford’s latest design language for a bold and sporty look that is shared with fellow Ford SUVs, including the global Ford Edge. A large upper trapezoidal two-bar grille and a smaller lower grille are flanked by sleek new headlamps incorporating Daytime Running Lights, complemented by stylish fog lamps.

Restyled taillights complete the sporty look, while a new range of 18- and 19-inch alloy wheel designs will appear on Trend and Titanium models. Two new colours, White Platinum (tri-coat) and Copper Pulse, will be offered throughout the range.

The Escape’s sculpted bonnet features a wider, uninterrupted central dome that not only serves to complement its sporty new looks, but also incorporates a structural design that more closely controls deformability and flexibility of the bonnet, developed to improve pedestrian protection in an accident. The bonnet and rear liftgate also have been re-engineered to help mitigate damage to more expensive-to-replace components following a collision.

The meticulously crafted interior has seen an upgrade in tactile quality, fit and finish, and has been refined to offer a more ergonomic, stylish and comfortable experience for occupants. The steering wheel and air-conditioning controls are even more intuitive, and feature fewer and more distinguishable buttons and switches, making the Escape’s cabin features easier to recognise and navigate. All automatic Escape models will feature paddle-shift functionality that enables drivers to manually select gears, adding to its fun-to-drive ethos.  

New convenience features also make Escape even more user-friendly; an electronic parking brake is effortless to operate and frees room for improved storage in the centre console. The second-row stadium seating boasts family-friendly packaging, with rear tray tables on the Titanium, as well as ISOFIX anchorage-points and rear air-vents on all models. It also offers up to 1603 litres of convenient cargo space with the stadium seating folded.

The Escape Trend is available with an optional Hands-Free Power Tailgate with Smart Keyless Entry that can be opened or closed with a swing of the foot beneath the rear bumper. The technology helps parents to easily access the new Escape’s boot when returning to their vehicle with shopping, pushchairs or toddlers. 

More equipment for less, with SYNC 3^ standard on all Escapes
The new Ford Escape will allow drivers to control audio, navigation and other functions plus connected smartphones using simple, more conversational voice commands with Ford’s new SYNC 3^ connectivity system. Ford has drawn on more than 22,000 comments and insights gained from research clinics and surveys to ensure the most customer-centric system to date.

By pushing a button and saying “I need a coffee,” Escape drivers can find nearby cafés, for instance, while simple voice commands can also guide them to petrol stations or car parks, train stations, airports and hotels. The system then guides the driver to the selected destination via the embedded navigation that’s standard across the Escape range.Voice search results are also enhanced by a better understanding of how consumers refer to businesses and points of interest. Drivers don’t have to know an exact name. They can search for “Sydney Airport” rather than using the official name “Sir Charles Kingsford Smith International Airport.” To finding a specific address, they can say, “Seventeen Thirty-five Sydney Road” instead of “One Seven Three Five Sydney Road.”

Escape drivers can operate SYNC® 3’’s 8.0-inch touchscreen – the largest in this class – in the same way that they use their smartphones. A new interface features larger, easier to operate buttons and enables pinch and swipe gestures for the first time.

Apple iPhone users can activate Apple CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the Escape, allowing drivers to make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, obtain directions optimised for traffic conditions and more while they stay focused on the road. Android users can activate Android Auto.

Android Auto makes apps and services that drivers already know and love accessible in safer and seamless ways, including Google Search, Google Maps and Google Play.

SYNC 3 also delivers SYNC AppLink+ for customers, enabling voice-activation from the driver’s seat of a range of smartphone apps that now includes Spotify, AccuWeather and Pandora+.

Enhanced Driver Assist Technology
The latest Ford technologies and sophisticated body engineering help drivers see more clearly and enhance safety on the road for new Escape occupants and other road users.

Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System is available for the Escape and monitors ambient light conditions, automatically optimising visibility by adjusting the beam angle of the new bi-xenon headlights depending on the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and distance to an object in front. It features anti-glare capability, as well as country road, city street and also maneuvering beam-shaping abilities.

The Escape also offers advanced Ford Driver Assist Technologies, including an enhanced version of Ford’s optional Active City Stop collision avoidance system, which now operates at speeds of up to 50km/h, increased from 30km/h. Active City Stop uses sensors at the front of the vehicle to look for objects in the road ahead. If the system detects that the vehicle is approaching an object too quickly it pre-charges the brakes. If the driver still does not respond, the system reduces engine torque and automatically applies the brakes to help reduce the impact of collisions, or avoid them altogether.

Sophisticated technology for simpler parking
The new Ford Escape will make driving and parking simpler for customers. New Perpendicular Parking functionality enhances the semi-autonomous Active Park Assist technology. Using additional ultrasonic sensors, Perpendicular Parking at the push of a button helps enable drivers to locate parking spaces alongside other cars as well as parallel to the road, and steers the vehicle into them while the driver controls the accelerator and brake.

Driver Assistance Technology and features that further help new Escape drivers include:

  • Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles detected that may soon be crossing behind them.
  • Park-Out Assist that helps drivers as they exit a parallel parking space.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning and Brake Support, which is designed to detect a slow-moving vehicle in certain circumstances and adjust vehicle speed accordingly.
  • Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive to optimise handling and traction.
  • A Driver Alert System that’s designed to detect certain signs of fatigue and provides a warning in the instrument cluster.
  • Torque Vectoring Control, which assists traction and cornering stability.

New Escape Trend
The Escape will introduce a fresh key model to the segment from Ford: the new front-wheel drive 1.5-litre Escape Trend. Capitalising on consumer demand for a high level of equipment, safety and technology in a family-friendly package with low fuel consumption, the Escape Trend comes with the proven 1.5-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder with start/stop technology as standard. This enables the Escape Trend to achieve an official 7.2L/100km1fuel economy figure while delivering a fun-to-drive 134kW/240Nm power and torque.

Driver engagement is further heightened with paddle-shifters on automatic models, in addition to 18-inch alloys, full-colour reversing camera via the 8.0-inch SYNC 3  touchscreen as well as sat-nav. Sat-nav is standard across the entire Escape range. The Trend also adds convenient features including privacy glass to keep its rear-seat occupants cool, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.

The Escape Trend also offers an array of sophisticated options that aren’t offered by key rivals on mid-spec models. These include a Hands-free Power Tailgate with Smart Keyless Entry, and a Technology Pack that boasts features available only on competitor’s flagship models.

The revitalised line-up sees the family-friendly new Escape offered in a broader variety of models, reflecting the fragmentation of the SUV market in Australia, and Ford’s more than doubling of its SUV range since 2012.

The Escape joins the growing family of Ford SUVS, including the EcoSport and the locally-engineered, award-winning Everest in Ford dealerships, capitalising on Ford’s SUV heritage and expertise. In 2017, Ford will launch a five-seat Everest to further broaden its SUV range, capitalising on the $2 billion local investment over the past six years and ongoing innovation at Ford’s You Yangs, Victoria, Proving Ground as a hub for Asia-Pacific engineering and global development.

The New Ford Escape: model-by-model

New Ford Escape Ambiente
1.5L FWD 6-speed manual MLP $28,490
1.5L FWD 6-speed automatic MLP $29,990
1.5L AWD 6-speed automatic MLP $32,990

Standard Features

  • SYNC® 3 with 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Embedded satellite-navigation with Traffic Management Control (TMC)
  • Dual-zone climate control with rear air vents
  • AM/FM/DAB+ radio, six-speaker audio with USB input, Bluetooth streaming
  • Reverse Camera and rear parking sensors
  • Cruise Control with speed limiter
  • Daytime running-lights
  • Push-button start
  • Front and rear fog-lamps
  • Electronic Parking Brake
  • SYNC® Emergency Assist
  • Ford MyKey

New Ford Escape Trend
1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6-speed automatic MLP $32,990
2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic MLP $35,990
2.0L TDCi AWD 6-speed automatic MLP $38,490

Standard Features
As per Ambiente, plus:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Roof-rails in silver finish
  • Privacy Glass
  • Automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers
  • Automatic-dimming rear-vision mirror
  • Automatic on/off headlights
  • Follow-me home lighting
  • Leather-wrap gear lever

New Ford Escape Titanium
2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic MLP $44,990
2.0L TDCi AWD 6-speed automatic MLP $47,490

Standard Features
As per Trend, plus:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Smart Keyless Entry
  • Power folding mirrors with approach light Bi-Xenon HID headlights with auto levelling
  • LED Daytime-running lights
  • Adaptive Beam Shape and Dynamic bending headlights
  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated front-seating
  • 10-way power-adjustable Driver’s seat
  • Front parking sensors
  • Enhanced Active Park Assist
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Front and rear velour floor mats
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Multi-colour ambient lighting
  • LED tail lights
  • Nine-speaker audio

New Ford Escape: powertrains

1.5L (six-speed manual)
110kW@ 6000rpm
240Nm@ 1600-5000rpm
6.3L/100km (FWD)
Towing capacity: 1500(FWD); 1600kg (AWD)

1.5L (six-speed paddle-shift automatic)
134kW@ 6000rpm
240Nm@ 1600-5000rpm
7.2L/100km (FWD) 
7.5L/100km (AWD)
Towing capacity: 1500kg in front wheel drive (FWD); 1600kg in all wheel drive (AWD)

2.0L (six-speed paddle-shift automatic)
178kW@ 5500rpm
345Nm@ 2000-4500rpm
8.6L/100km 1
Towing capacity: 1600kg

2.0L Diesel (six-speed paddle-shift automatic)
132kW@ 3500rpm
400Nm@ 2000-2500rpm
5.5L/100km (Trend)
Towing capacity: 1800kg

(With thanks to Ford Australia).