Ford’s mid-size SUV offering has dynamic prowess and a lusty engine on its side
Tell me about this car
The Ford Escape is a mid-size SUV formerly known as the Kuga, and it’s vying for attention in one of Australia’s most competitive segments. We took the front-drive Trend variant for a weekend jaunt to Phillip Island with five adults on board to see if it was up to the people-hauling task.
- Engine: The 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder engine in the Escape Trend produces 134kW and 240Nm, and gets the Escape Trend up to speed with ease with smooth power delivery.
- Steering: Ford has set the Escape apart by giving it excellent dynamic ability. Its steering is among the best of any mid-size SUV.
- Infotainment: Ford’s Sync3 system is easy to use, and one of the better infotainment systems available. It has intuitive menus, large icons, and a simple layout that makes the Escape’s in-cabin functions breezy to use on the fly. Only its voice-activated operation leaves something to be desired.
- Value: A $32,990 sticker price for the Trend FWD is attractive considering its generous equipment level, though autonomous emergency braking is optional ($1300).
- Economy: In a recent Wheels megatest, the Escape Trend surprised with impressively low fuel consumption relative to its rivals. Ford claims 7.2L/100km.
- Ergonomics: The Escape is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of its cabin layout. The dashboard is dorky and not the most comfortable to interact with. The passenger seat is too high, and the gear lever’s side-mounted toggles for manual mode are terrible. Thankfully there are paddles on the steering wheel as well.
- Design: Underneath the Escape’s updated exterior is an ageing SUV, and some of the improvements brought about with the most recent facelift don’t quite gel. Thick A-pillar bases make visibility a bit of a challenge when exiting side streets.
- Comfort: Initial ride comfort on the Trend’s 18-inch wheel and tyre package falls short of the super absorbent ride of the Subaru Forester. Its dampers do smooth things out, albeit in a firmly controlled manner. It’s not fatally flawed, but if cushiness is your thing, check out the Subaru.
- Boot: The Escape’s 406 litre boot isn’t tiny, but is smaller than all of its major competitors. For maximum cargo carrying it’s difficult to go past the Volkswagen Tiguan, which has 615 litres.