- All-new Ford Escape here in 2020
- First ever Ford hybrid for Australia confirmed
- Digital dashboards, wifi hotspots and smartphone keys will be offered
Ford has confirmed that the all-new Escape will touch down in Australia in 2020, complete with the company’s first plug-in hybrid for the Australian market.
The mid-sized five-seat Ford Escape will be bigger and stronger than the current car, but will also manage to be lighter to the tune of up to 90kg. This is thanks to the Escape’s new modular underpinnings, which are shared with cars like the Ford Focus.
Design-wise, Ford says it’s taken inspiration from cars like the Mustang and the GT for the Escape’s front-end makeover, while its extra size – at 4613mm long and 1882mm wide, it’s 89mm longer than the current car, 44mm wider and has an extra 20mm in the wheelbase – gives it more presence in a sector whose occupants are all increasing in size.
Inside, Ford says that translates to 43mm more shoulder room and 57mm more hip room in the front seats, and 20mm more shoulder room and 36mm more hip room for rear seaters. And even though it rides 20mm lower, the Escape also offers 13mm more headroom for front seat occupants and 35mm additional space in the rear.
In addition, the second row of seats is mounted on rails to allow more adjustment depending on the load you’re carrying. Ford’s US office says the rear cargo space can carry about 1060 litres of cargo with the seats up – and, we assume, crammed up against the front seats.
The Escape – which was revealed overnight in the US – also marks the first time that Ford has offered a plug-in hybrid for Australia. Available from launch, according to the company, will be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine version that combines with a small electric motor, a CVT gearbox and a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack to produce a claimed 165kW.
READ MORE The best new SUVs of 2019
The mild hybrid system uses a fuel-saving Atkinson-cycle engine – similar to the Toyota Prius – in conjunction with a small electric motor working to fill in the gaps in the performance curve left by the petrol engine.
Ford says the Escape hybrid can travel around 50km in full EV mode, and at speeds of up to 136km/h – though the small battery means that range will deplete pretty quickly if you run at highway speeds. The liquid-cooled battery array is stashed under the second row seats, preserving cabin space.
While Ford Australia hasn’t confirmed any other variants, the Escape will also come with the same 134kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine as the Focus, while the US will get a 186kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as well.
Tech-wise, the Escape will be offered with stuff like heads-up displays for top-end Titanium models, while new driver aids include second-generation park assist, steer assist avoidance and adaptive cruise with stop/go and lane centring.
US variants will be also offered with an onboard wifi hotspot with the capability to connect ten devices, while a smartphone can also be used to lock and unlock the car, as well as pre-start it and check things like fuel level.
Digital dashboards, rotary dial shifters and hands-free tailgate openers also figure in the US spec sheets.
We reached out to the Australian office, who told us that all good things come to those that wait in terms of further specs. They did tell us our Escapes will be sourced from their factory in Spain, though.
“We’re proud to bring the first of our global electrified vehicles to Australian customers in the stylish and capable all-new Escape,” said Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO, Kay Hart, in a statement.
“Australians continue to embrace SUVs, which is why we are introducing our first plug-in hybrid powertrain with this vehicle.”