Escape claws new ground
Ford’s latest update gives the ZD a different profile, writes NEILMcDONALD
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.