The plain-Jane Ford Escape may have been fairly irrelevant in just about every category, but that didn’t stop it from being a major sales success for The Blue Oval. But the time has come for One Ford to turn a page in the Escape’s book and replace the old-school SUV with something much more modern.
Based on Ford’s global C platform shared with the Focus and C-MAX lines, the new Escape is essentially the production version of the Vertrek concept crossover that was showcased at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in January 2010. The base engine will be a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder producing 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft. of torque. The next step up — a 1.6L EcoBoost with 173 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. — will be the fuel economy leader of the lot. The range-topper will be a 2.0L EcoBoost, which will give the new Escape a 3,500-pound towing capacity that’s in line with that of the outgoing model. Each engine will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which will send the power to the front wheels, or all of them if customers choose the option.
Ford engineers have also boasted the new vehicle’s “class-leading” NVH levels along with a “best-in-class” driving experience, which is said to be fairly engaging for a crossover. In addition, the new Escape/Kuga will sport the latest-generation MyFord Touch infotainment system, and a motion sensitive hands-free liftgate that users can trigger by a simple swipe of their foot below the rear bumper, giving way to 68.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded flat. The cabin features carpets that use 25 recycled plastic bottles in their makeup, while recycled tires make up 25 percent of the vehicle’s gasket compounds. That should help consumers feel fuzzy inside while reducing the need for the use of new materials.
The new Escape arrives next year as the Escape in North America and Kuga in Europe and China.
All-New Ford Escape: Smarter Utility Vehicle Saves Customers Fuel, Money; New Technologies to Make Owners’ Lives Easier
• Ford’s newest sport utility vehicle (SUV) arrives next year, bringing clever technologies and features designed to make life easier, and fuel economy projected to top any vehicle of its kind on the market
• Versatile vehicle features new hands-free technology – including liftgate with motion-sensing technology similar to video games’ and upgraded MyFord Touch® system that makes connecting with digital devices on the go even easier
• New Escape’s projected fuel economy is up to 5 mpg better than outgoing Escape; 1.6- and 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engines save customers fuel and money
• Customers globally will start seeing this sleek small SUV next year, too. Named the Ford Kuga in Europe and China, this vehicle makes its international debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and will offer unique powertrains and features for customers in those markets
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2011 – The Ford Escape, America’s best-selling SUV, will raise the bar even higher with the debut of an all-new model that features 11 new exclusive features and fuel economy projected to top any vehicle of its kind on the market today.
“We call our all-new Ford Escape the ‘Smarter Utility Vehicle’ because it offers the strengths that customers today really value – fuel economy, versatility and new technology that makes driving and living with the vehicle easier and more fun – all wrapped in a sleek, more modern design,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “Ford understands that more people every year are looking at vehicles like Escape, and we want to give them even more reasons to buy.”
Sixty percent of Americans shopping for a vehicle next year will look at either a midsize car or small SUV, making Escape part of one of the most cross-shopped and fastest-growing segments in the auto industry.
“Escape is America’s best-selling utility vehicle, and the Ford team has worked hard to make sure we deliver even more of what small SUV owners really want,” Kuzak said.
In addition to more cargo volume behind the first and second rows than today’s vehicle, the new Escape delivers:
• Eleven features no other small SUV offers
• Clever technologies that make Escape even more versatile, including an available hands-free power liftgate that allows quick and easy access to cargo with the kick of a foot
• Projected best fuel economy of any compact SUV, up to 5 mpg better than previous Escape
• Driving dynamics that make the drive experience more engaging on-road and a new Ford Intelligent 4WD System that provides even better traction off-road
• Sleek new design, with better interior materials and more finishing touches
Escape technology makes life better
An array of clever technologies adds to the new Escape’s versatility, helping make life easier for its owners. Key features include:
• An available hands-free power liftgate brings new technology to the SUV market and is enabled by motion technology used in today’s video game systems. A gentle kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper activates, unlocks and raises the liftgate when the driver has the Escape key fob. This allows quick and easy access to the cargo area without needing to set down packages or dig out keys. The same process closes the hatch
• SYNC® with MyFord Touch® offers multiple ways for customers to manage and control information through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs. Upgraded system includes new look, making phone, navigation, entertainment and climate controls even easier to use
• Parallel parking the Escape is virtually stress-free with active park assist. With the press of a button, the system detects an available parallel parking space and automatically steers the vehicle into the space. Drivers control only the gas and brake pedals
• Maneuvering parking lots and traveling open roadways becomes even safer and less stressful with Escape’s sensor-based BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert. BLIS sounds an alert when a vehicle is detected entering a blind spot. Cross-traffic alert warns if traffic is detected approaching from the sides, such as when Escape is leaving a parking space in reverse
• The all-new Ford Escape is the first Ford SUV to combine class-exclusive technology to automatically slow the vehicle when it’s cornering too fast (Curve Control) or help accelerate through a turn (Torque Vectoring Control); a new Intelligent 4WD System helps deliver outstanding handling on pristine pavement and in adverse conditions as well, along with excellent traction off-road
Spirited performance with outstanding fuel economy
Escape offers Ford’s broadest nameplate range of EcoBoost® engine choices yet. Strong fuel economy comes from either the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine or 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, which makes its American debut in the new Escape.
Both new engines combine EcoBoost’s core technologies of direct fuel injection and turbocharging and add twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to deliver even better miles per gallon and save customers money on fuel.
In Escape, EcoBoost engines are mated to specially calibrated, six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmissions, which are standard and allow drivers who want more hands-on experiences to manually control gear selection from a switch on the left-hand side of the shifter.
The gearbox features a new torque converter for improved driving feel, silky smooth shifts and even better fuel economy. Engineers also installed revised gear ratios for a balanced driving feel in all situations.
The standard engine in North America is an updated 2.5-liter, giving the new Escape a comprehensive lineup of four-cylinder offerings. It also is matched to a SelectShift Automatic six-speed.
Also aiding fuel economy is Escape’s sleeker design. The new model is nearly 10 percent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model.
Plus, the new Escape’s active grille shutter system, which is on all models with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, reduces wind resistance. Grille slats stay open when extra engine cooling air is required, such as low-speed stop-and-go driving. When cruising on the highway at steady speeds, the grille slats automatically close to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
Versatility and capability come standard
Stowing and towing are even easier in the new five-passenger Escape, thanks to a low liftover height of 27 inches, more innovations and cargo volume that surpasses the outgoing Escape – with 68.1 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row.
The new Escape’s rear seats have been designed to fold flat easily. With the touch of a button, the head restraint folds down and with the lift of a handle on the seat, the seatback folds and dives as the seat folds flat and clicks into position.
Escape also features an available two-position load floor, which can be configured to allow the customer to choose among maximum luggage volume or flat load floor.
When properly equipped, the all-new Escape maintains a trailer tow rating of 3,500 pounds.
Engaging driving performance through seamless system
Using new advanced software and sensors, the new Intelligent 4WD System analyzes data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and driver input 20 times faster than the blink of an eye.
The system uses all the sensor inputs to turn the vehicle in the direction the driver wants it to go. Intelligent 4WD builds on the pre-emptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.
New SUV goes global
Following its world debut in Los Angeles, this new vehicle will head to Europe, where sales of compact sport utilities have grown 200 percent since 2000. It will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March for European customers as the all-new version of the Ford Kuga and will have unique powertrains and features. Chinese customers also will see the all-new Kuga next spring.
“This all-new Ford model opens a new chapter in the world of SUVs,” Kuzak said. “By being smarter, this utility vehicle will give customers around the globe find better, easier ways to connect with technology, maximize fuel efficiency and find the versatility and capability they need and want.”[/expand]