The all-new Ford Escape has been revealed in Europe, ahead of first deliveries this fall. Derived from all-new underpinnings, the new Escape will be built in Kentucky and, as the company’s second best-selling vehicle in the United States, it’s a hugely important launch for Ford.
The new car brings a number of Ford firsts, with the headliner being the availability of two all-new hybrids alongside regular EcoBoost gasoline engines. Ford said earlier this year that every new model from now on will include an electrified option: the Escape drives that message home with two of them announced at launch.
A new Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid will travel for over 30 miles in pure electric mode, while the standard hybrid delivers an estimated range of more than 500 miles. Ford said that every model in the Escape range will deliver at least 400 miles per tank.
Other new Ford features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and active noise control to make top-line models even more refined and peaceful. But most heads will be turned by the Escape’s curvaceous new look.
Ford calls the proportions more ‘premium’. It has a longer wheelbase, longer hood, steeper angle to the windshield and a lower roofline. The surfaces are both more sculpted and more simplified, and the designers say it creates a more energetic appearance than before.
It’s the most aerodynamic Escape to date, while the extensive use of high-strength, lightweight steels means that the new model is around 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing version.
“This all-new Escape brings a sleeker, sportier design with the capability to take you on just about any of your life’s adventures,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president, North America. “With our class-leading hybrid powertrains, customers will spend less time at the gas station and more time on the road.”
The new Escape is far more spacious than the current mode. Outside, it is 3.5 inches longer, 1.8 inches wider, and has a 0.8 inch longer wheelbase. Inside, there is 1.7 inches more shoulder room, 2.2 inches more hip room plus, in the back, 0.8 inches more shoulder room and 1.4 inches more hip room for rear passengers.
Despite the overall height being 0.8 inches lower, there is 0.5 inches more headroom in the front and 1.4 inches in the back. The rear bench seat also moves back and forth – pick from either “best-in-class” 4.8 inches of rear legroom, or a 67-liter bigger boot.
The new dashboard is of higher quality, and much easier to use. The simplified layout includes an available 12.3-inch digital cluster described as 24-bit ‘true color’. The images and icons are detailed, high definition, easy to read and use the full color spectrum. This makes them both brighter, but less tiring on the eyes.
In a first-for-Ford in North America, the Titanium trim gets a head-up display, projecting important information onto a 6-inch screen in front of the driver.
Selectable driving modes are standard across the range, as is Ford Co-Pilot360, 4G wifi for up to ten mobile devices (subject to subscription), and an 8-inch touchscreen for all except the entry-level S trim. Other features and options, depending on the trim level, include Active Park Assist 2.0, Evasive Steering Assist and Sync 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A 575-watt, 10-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen is also available.
The flagship engine is the Escape Plug-In Hybrid, which is available on every trim level except S and SE Sport This uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine (inherently more efficient than normal gasoline engines) combined with an electric motor and 10.3 kWh lithium-ion battery.
The Escape Hybrid is like the Plug-in Hybrid but without such a big battery. It will thus be cheaper to buy, but the economy figures won’t be as impressive. The front-wheel-drive hybrid is projected to produce a combined system horsepower of 198, and a top speed of 85 mph in electric-only mode.
Hybrid models feature four EV modes, namely:
- Auto EV – the vehicle decides whether to run on gas or electric
- EV Now – the driver can operate on all-electric power
- EV Later – drivers can switch to full gas-powered driving to conserve electric for later
- EV Charge – charge the battery while driving to generate electric-only miles for later
Conventional gasoline engines include a 250 horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost producing 275 lb ft of torque using 93 octane fuel, along with a 1.5-liter EcoBoost producing 180 horsepower and 177lb ft of torque. In a first-for-Ford in North America, the 1.5-liter unit uses cylinder deactivation technology to conserve fuel.
Engine availability and trim levels
- S: 1.5-liter
- SE: 1.5-liter, Plug-in Hybrid
- SE Sport: Hybrid
- SEL: 1.5-liter, Plug-in Hybrid
- Titanium: 2.0-liter, Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid
Standard gasoline and hybrid versions will arrive in the fall, with plug-in hybrid units due to arrive next spring. Ford has sold more than 4.5 million Escapes in North America, so there’s a lot resting on the shoulders of this new version.