Perky Es­cape com­pe­tent and classy

Broome Advertiser - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

Ford Es­cape, which was called Ford Kuga un­til it un­der­went a name change at the start of 2017, is a medium SUV that is sold with ei­ther all-wheel-drive or 2WD.

The Es­cape name was fa­mil­iar in Aus­tralia for many years un­til 2012, when Ford Aus­tralia de­cided the all-new model should be called Kuga. Now it's back to Es­cape.

A new model, the Es­cape Trend, which sits be­tween the Am­bi­ente and Ti­ta­nium has been added to the range as Ford Aus­tralia strives to max­imise sales in this hotly con­tested mar­ket seg­ment.

We've just spent an in­ter­est­ing week in the top-line Es­cape Ti­ta­nium. “In­ter­est­ing” in that it was used as a mini truck for sev­eral days be­cause we were mov­ing house. Es­cape has rear seat backs that fold al­most flat, mak­ing for easy load­ing of long items.

Es­cape styling changes when com­pared to the su­per­seded Kuga in­clude a facelift that was one of the first to use Ford’s new global de­sign lan­guage.

It still has the fa­mil­iar trape­zoidal shape of the pre­vi­ous de­sign, but now adds a bold two-bar grille within the trape­zoid.

The head­lights are large, slim and shapely and in­cor­po­rate day­time run­ning lights. Stylish fog lamps are part of the frontal pack­age. The tail-lights have also had a makeover.

Two new colours, White Plat­inum (tri-coat) and Cop­per Pulse, are of­fered through­out the range.

In­side, the steer­ing wheel and air-con­di­tion­ing con­trols have been mod­i­fied to make them more in­tu­itive.

Our Ti­ta­nium was pow­ered by a 2.0-litre TDCi turbo-diesel that pro­duces 132kW at 3500rpm, with a strong 400Nm of torque be­tween 2000 and 2500rpm. Its six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion drives through all four wheels (AWD).

Other en­gines of­fered in the Es­cape are a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol in two vari­ants (110kW and 240 Nm) or (134 kW and 240Nm) and a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol (178kW/ 345Nm).

The low-power 1.5 is of­fered in the en­try-level model, the Am­bi­ente, with a six-speed man­ual.

All oth­ers in the Es­cape range use a six-speed au­to­matic. Note that all au­to­matic Es­capes have pad­dle-shifts so driv­ers can man­u­ally se­lect gears.

Es­cape has an 8.0-inch touch­screen. Con­nec­tiv­ity is via Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto. Ford’s Sync 3 is stan­dard on all Es­capes and gives ac­cess to au­dio, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and mis­cel­la­neous other func­tions.

There’s a big em­pha­sis on voice recog­ni­tion as Ford has done con­sid­er­able re­search into how peo­ple have been us­ing the sys­tem.

Smart­phone apps now in­clude Spo­tify, Ac­cuWeather and Pan­dora.

Ford driver-as­sist tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing an up­graded ver­sion of Ford’s op­tional Ac­tive City Stop col­li­sion avoid­ance sys­tem, which now op­er­ates at speeds of up to 50 km/h.

Other driver aids in­clude cross traf­fic alert, park-out as­sist that helps driv­ers out of a par­al­lel park­ing space, op­ti­mise han­dling and trac­tion and a driver alert sys­tem de­tects cer­tain signs of fa­tigue and pro­vides a warn­ing in the in­stru­ment clus­ter.

Ford Es­cape comes with some of the most com­fort­able front seats we have ex­pe­ri­enced for a long time.

Ob­vi­ously this is a per­sonal thing but give them a try for your­self and see what you think.

Rear-seat legroom is very good.

There are now rear-seat air vents for air-con sys­tem on all Es­cape mod­els.

Com­fort is pretty good, with the Es­cape pro­vid­ing the sort of re­laxed feel that will work well for fam­i­lies on long trips.

A real bonus if the young­sters are rest­less.

Steer­ing is nicely re­spon­sive and there’s good feel through the wheel.

Hand­ing is pretty good, with the ex­pected safe un­der­steer when pushed hard.

Es­cape isn’t a sports SUV in the man­ner of some of the big name Euro­pean SUVs of this size, but it’s not that far be­hind.

The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel starts al­most as quickly as a petrol en­gine. Sound lev­els from out­side the car are def­i­nitely diesel but we have heard lots worse.

In­side, the diesel is quiet and re­fined and all but in­audi­ble when cruis­ing at steady speeds.

There’s some turbo lag but it's min­i­mal and once you get that big 400Nm on tap there is plenty of per­for­mance to get you up big hills, or past slower ve­hi­cles with a min­i­mum of time on the wrong side of the road.

Fuel con­sump­tion was typ­i­cally in the sixes on the mo­tor­ways, not as low as we an­tic­i­pated given that it's a mod­ern diesel.

Around town it was usu­ally in the eight to 10 litres per 100km range.

The lat­est ver­sion of Ford’s Es­cape SUV is a com­pe­tent ma­chine with a styling up­date that pro­vides a good com­bi­na­tion of 4WD tough­ness and fam­ily wagon prac­ti­cal­ity.

It cer­tainly de­serves a place on your short list in this crowed mar­ket seg­ment. Your lo­cal Ford dealer is Broome Auto Group, 9192 1250.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Ford Es­cape’s fa­mil­iar trape­zoidal grille has been kept and two bars added within it.

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