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Ford lets loose new-gen Escape SUV

Escape SUV to be first Ford Australia model to feature plug-in hybrid powertrain

3 Apr 2019

FORD Australia will finally enter the electric vehicle (EV) market with the new-generation Escape mid-size SUV that will arrive in local showrooms in 2020 topped by a plug-in hybrid variant.
Propulsion comes from a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor that combine to produce 165kW of power. Ford is yet to disclose a torque figure.
A 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery means the electrified Escape will deliver emissions-free driving range “in excess of 50 kilometres”, according to Ford.
Drivers will be also be able to choose how to use the Escape plug-in’s electric power through four selectable modes – EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge.
According to the European press release, the plug-in Escape (dubbed Kuga there), can be recharged in about four hours with a household 230-volt electrical supply.
Fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions are projected to be 1.2 litres per 100km and 29 grams per kilometre respectively.
For now, the plug-in hybrid is the only powertrain confirmed for Escape in Australia, but overseas markets will also have access to a 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel mild-hybrid powertrain that features a 48-volt battery and belt-driven starter/generator, returning an expected 5.0L/100km fuel consumption figure.
A full-hybrid version is also available internationally, powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor combo that is expected to sip just 5.6L/100km.
The remainder of the Escape range could be bulked out with a pair of 1.5-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol engines, in 88kW or 110kW tunes, and two EcoBlue diesel motors, a 140kW 2.0 litre and 88kW 1.5 litre.
Electrified powertrains will be paired exclusively to an automatic transmission, while six-speed manual and eight-speed auto transmissions are available elsewhere.
Regardless of which engine mix arrives in local showrooms, the new-generation Escape now shares the Focus’s C2 platform, affording it 10 per cent more torsional stiffness and up to 90kg less weight.
Measuring 4613mm long, 1882mm wide and with a 2710mm wheelbase, the new-gen Escape is enlarged by 89mm, 44mm and 20mm respectively. However the mid-size SUV is also now 20mm lower at 1689mm.
Ford is promising “greater interior space and improved cargo are flexibility”, with extra shoulder-, hip- and headroom for occupants in both rows.
Although Ford Australia is still to lock in local speciation, overseas versions will be available with wireless smartphone charging, 8.0-inch Sync 3 infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster, electric tailgate, and B&O sound system.
Safety equipment overseas extends to speed sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, surround-view monitor, lane-keep assist, pre-collision assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control with idle-stop functionality, head-up display and automatic headlights.
Ford Australia and New Zealand president and CEO Kay Hart said the local market’s appetite for high-riding wagons made the plug-in Escape a natural choice to bring to market.
“We’re proud to bring the first of our global electrified vehicles to Australian customers in the stylish and capable all-new Escape,” she said.
“Australians continue to embrace SUVs, which is why we are introducing our first plug-in hybrid powertrain with this vehicle.”
Last year Ford Australia sold 4764 Escape SUVs, a 4.5 per cent dip over 2017’s tally, after switching its mid-size crossover’s nomenclature from Kuga in 2016.
For the first quarter this year, sales of the Ford Escape have continued to dip, dropping 18.7 per cent year-on-year to 1123.

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