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Ford unleashes new-generation Escape crossover SUV

Touted as the ‘best-performing’ car in model history

With the new design, the Escape looks much sleeker now. PHOTO FROM FORD

For those of you who are wondering whatever happened to the Ford Escape, here’s your answer: The American automaker has just introduced the fourth-generation model of its once-popular compact crossover SUV. There was a time the Escape rivaled its best Japanese counterparts in sales performance, especially in North America but also in the Philippines. But the nameplate sort of steadily faded after the first generation, with transmission issues perpetually hounding the vehicles. Thankfully, after two unimpressive generations that followed the original, here comes a promising new iteration that just might salvage the Escape’s place in history.

The Mustang and the GT both inspired the front end. PHOTOS FROM FORD

Ford wanted to give the all-new Escape a sportier design. To achieve that, the company’s designers used two of the sexiest-looking automobiles to ever wear the Blue Oval badge for aesthetic inspiration. The sixth-generation Mustang, for instance, is said to have influenced the new Escape’s shield-shaped trapezoidal grille, while the modern GT is reportedly the source of the crossover’s lower front end.

With a sleeker shape and with the generous use of lightweight steel in its construction, the new Escape weighs more than 90kg less than its predecessor, according to Ford.

The new-gen Escape is a great tool for impressing girls. PHOTOS FROM FORD

Now, the biggest story about this new Escape is found under its hood, with new powertrains (including a pair of all-new hybrids) and gear-shifters available to buyers:

  • 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost (180hp)
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost (250hp)
  • 2.5-liter FHEV (198hp)
  • 2.5-liter PHEV (209hp)

The EcoBoost motors will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that is now controlled by a rotary dial. The hybrid systems, meanwhile, will be mated to Ford’s PowerSplit CVT. The new Escape is either front- or all-wheel-driven, except for the PHEV version, which only comes in FWD.

With these powertrains, Ford claims this is the “best-performing” and “most fun-to-drive” Escape ever.

The new Escape is available as a plug-in hybrid vehicle. PHOTO FROM FORD

The main highlight of the gasoline-powered variants’ interior are the sliding second-row seats. In full rearward position, the rear passengers get to enjoy 1,034mm of legroom. In full forward position, cargo space at the back is expanded from 949L to 1,062L.

Other highlights are the 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, a “first for Ford in North America” heads-up display, and electronic driving aids like Active Park Assist and Evasive Steering Assist.

Sliding second-row seats should offer great convenience for rear passengers. More legroom! PHOTOS FROM FORD

Time will tell if this is indeed the best-performing Escape in the model history—or whether it will be more reliable than the previous generations. For now, let the countdown begin for the car’s arrival in the Philippines.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.