Ford did something funny with the Escape, which came on the market two decades ago. For two generations it was called Escape, when it suddenly disappeared after ten years to be 'replaced' by the Kuga. Now, another decade later the Kuga is gone again and the Escape is back. All-new, longer, wider and more spacious. It's an Escape like we've never seen before and we're happy to see return on our roads.
There is a bit of an E-family going on at Ford, with the Everest, Ecosport and not Escape. They all serve a different purpose, but definitely follow the same design lines and share interior features. That's a good thing, because there is no doubt the all-new Escape is a good looking SUV. It's got sleek line, a sharp nose and well rounded back, that looks very sporty with the dual exhaust.
Having grown on the outside means the Escape boosts more space inside, now seating four adults very comfortable and you can even fit a child in the middle. No sacrifice had to be made in the cargo area to achieve this, making the Escape the perfect family car for every day use or for a long road trip.
Because the new Escape is built on a modular platform it's stronger and more rigid, something you directly notice when getting behind the wheel. The ride is secure, the Escape doesn't sway in the corners and the steering feel is very good. Though it's larger than it's predecessor ( 89mm longer, 44mm wider
and with a 20mm longer wheelbase) it still doesn't feel like a bulky. The Escape is nimble in use, which really serves its purpose in the city.
Get on the highway though and you can feel the power of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, good for 183kW at 5700rpm and
387Nm at 3100rpm. Mated to an eight-speed automatic this power is distributed evenly and you'll always have some left at any speed. Yet it doesn't use a lot of petrol, with a combined usage of 8.6L/100km. This is in the AWD variant though, so in the FWD version the use could be even lower.
In terms of safety tech, the entire Escape range is brimming with key technology like adaptive cruise control with stop&go function, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring and a driver fatigue monitor. Enough to make you feel as safe as can be.
Bigger outside means more space inside and that's very noticeable when getting into the Ford Escape. Each passenger get more comfort and space, plus even though the roof line is 20mm lower for better aerodynamics, somehow Ford managed to gain 13mm of headroom in the front and 35mm for the rear passengers. Good job!
Overall the Escape is fitted with nice, soft-touch materials. There is even a leather-look dash with contract stitching in the higher trim levels, with wood accents. But that doesn't mean that the entry levels don't look good, because they also come with textured door cards that are visually interesting and even the hard wearing plastics don't feel cheap. Plus the fact that there are plenty of cupholders and USB and USB-C ports to charge all your devices.
In front you'll also find an 8.0-inch touchscreen running Ford’s excellent Sync 3 infotainment
system, in-built navigation, DAB+ radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,
as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
There’s dual-zone climate control, ambient LED lighting, privacy
glass, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and push-button start, as well
as heated power-folding door mirrors. In the highest trim level - the Vignale - you'll even get a panoramic roof, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, a 12.0-inch
digital instrument cluster, a head-up display, hands-free powered
tailgate, 180-degree rear-view camera, advanced automated parking assist
and a premium 10-speaker sound system from B&O Play.
Up to par with the best of them.
The all-new Ford Escape starts around the $35k mark for the front-wheel drive only base version. From there you can add $2000 to get yourself in the sportier looking ST-Line, or add almost another $10k to get the range-topping Vignale.
Both the ST-Line and Vignale can also be had with all-wheel drive, which adds $3000 to the price, making the top-level version in all its glory sit just under $50k.
Ford supports the Escape ownership with a five-year warranty and five years of roadside assistance. It is rated the maximum five stars by independent crash body ANCAP. Servicing is capped at $299 per visit for up to four years, or 60,000km.
We're definitely happy the Escape is back in the Ford range. A very welcome edition to the E-family, the SUV ticks all the boxes when it comes to space, power and tech. Next to that, it simply looks good. Modern styling together with sleek lines make it look smaller than it proofs to be inside, which is a welcome surprise.
There is no doubt the Ford Escape will be another success number for Ford and we don't mind seeing it back on our roads at all.
Interested in a test drive? Motorama Ford is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Ford team in Moorooka.