Es­cape claws new ground

Ford’s latest up­date gives the ZD a dif­fer­ent profile, writes NEILMcDONALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

IT MAY be the sec­ond facelift for the seven-year-old de­sign, but Ford’s latest up­date of the Es­cape brings it fresh into line with the blue oval’s global ‘‘ki­netic’’ de­sign phi­los­o­phy.

The grille and bumper get a sharper look with a deeper air-in­take like the FG Fal­con’s, and at the side there are now Land Rover-style air vents in the mud­guards.

Ford has also dropped the 3.0-litre V6 in favour of the Mazda-sourced 2.3-litre four-cylin­der, mated to a floor-mounted four-speed au­to­matic and on-de­mand all-wheel-drive.

Ford vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and sales Mark Winslow says the move will help dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the Es­cape and Ter­ri­tory.

‘‘There is now a clear-cut, dis­cernible dif­fer­ence be­tween what Es­cape and Ter­ri­tory rep­re­sent and what they of­fer our cus­tomers,’’ he says.

‘‘The two mod­els now com­ple­ment each other in the show­room bet­ter than ever be­fore.’’

The 2.3-litre four-cylin­der de­vel­ops 109kW at 6000 revs and 199Nm at 4000 revs. Fuel con­sump­tion is 10.5-litres/100km.

The tow­ing ca­pac­ity re­mains un­changed at 750kg un­braked, which in­creases to 1000kg for braked loads.

Apart from changes in spec­i­fi­ca­tion, the ZD Es­cape gets more safety equip­ment and an up­dated in­te­rior.

Key changes in­clude new front fog­lights, head­lamps, 16-inch al­loys, wheel arch and door cladding, tail­gate and LED tail lights.

The in­te­rior gets new pi­ano bur­gundy-trim high­lights on the con­sole. Safety has also been boosted thanks to the in­clu­sion of front-seat side/head/tho­rax airbags as stan­dard. Ad­di­tional fea­tures in­clude anti-skid brakes with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, cruise con­trol, indicators in the rear-view mir­rors and cli­mate con­trol.

The 2.3 Es­cape costs $31,990, $6000 un­der the rec­om­mended re­tail price of the rear-drive Ter­ri­tory TX and $1500 less than the out­go­ing 2.3 XLT model it re­places.

In the first two months of this year, Ford has sold 359 Es­capes, down 40 per cent on the same pe­riod last year.

It has been on sale since 2001, when it was launched with the 3.0-litre V6 for $33,200.

An all-new Es­cape is still some way off, but Ford’s Kuga is a likely can­di­date for Aus­tralia.

The Kuga was in­spired by the Io­sis X con­cept and is built off Ford’s C1 plat­form, the same build­ing blocks as un­der­neath the nextgen­er­a­tion Fo­cus, which Ford Aus­tralia will start mak­ing here in 2011.

Es­cape com­mit­tee: Ford’s changes give the Es­cape a range of new fea­tures.

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