It’s arrived in Australia with a new face, re-styled interiors and a wider model range than before.
This is Ford’s attempt to up its sales in the segment but while it’s fundamentally a Kuga underneath, the new Ford Escape is more than just a facelift.
What stands out?
The most important thing to point out is that while the Kuga only offered all-wheel drive versions, the Escape now adds a front-wheel drive 1.5-litre turbocharged engine at mid-spec level. This major addition to the range fills the gap the Kuga couldn’t, by offering a new price-point.
The facelifted aspect of the Escape gives it a fresher look, but the three-tiered-cake like dash design does make it feel dated.
Still, the Kuga’s positive traits have clearly carried on in the genetics of the Escape with enjoyable steering, comfortable seats and plenty of space thanks to a 1603-litre boot when the rear seats are folded. Even better, they fold nearly flat.
At all levels, Ford has introduced its SYNC3 technology which includes connectivity like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All variants also receive satellite navigation, rear parking sensors and a reverse camera.
The Escape comes with a lower pricetag than its predecessor and offers plenty more features, not least of which include paddle-shifters added to the new-look steering wheel.
Automatic windscreen wipers and headlights, keyless entry and roof rails are just a few of the additions added to the mid-spec Trend. The top spec Titanium gets keyless entry, power folding mirrors, heated front seats and active park assist technology, as well as a few aesthetic differences.
An optional technology pack is also available for an extra cost, which adds lane departure warning, lane keep assist, auto high beam, autonomous emergency braking up to 50km/h, adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring and tyre pressure monitoring system.
But this pack is only available in the Trend and Titanium, so those looking to spend the entry-level money will miss out on the safety gear.
The new 1.5-litre front-wheel drive is likely to be the most popular of the Escape range, and the mid-spec Trend with that engine would be out pick. It’d be worth considering purchasing the optional Technology Pack, purely worth it for the safety technology.
The addition of the 1.5-litre engine and front-wheel drive option, as well as more gear for a better price tag widens the appeal in the Aussie market.
The new update makes up for the Kuga’s shortfalls and puts it on to a level playing field as a contender in the mid-size SUV segment.