Ford Escape Titanium Price: Ford Escape Titanium, $53,490 Dimensions: Length, 4524mm; width, 1838mm; height, 1736mm Configuration: Four-cylinder, fourwheel-drive, 1999cc, 178kW, 345Nm, six-speed automatic Performance: 0-100km/h, 8sec Fuel usage: 8.6l/100km
By Ross Kiddie Escape has been a popular brand for Ford New Zealand. That being the case, I was surprised when the name of the sport utility vehicle was dropped in favour of Kuga. The latter also sold well, but now Ford has reverted back to Escape, the latest name change also coinciding with a new release. Those who do relate to the old Escape will be aware of its pedigree, it was a model shared similarly with Mazda (Tribute) in New Zealand and had its origins in Taiwan. The new Escape is totally different. It is now sourced from Europe, Spain to be exact, and unlike its V6 predecessor it has only four cylinders, but there are many varying engine types – diesel and petrol and in 1.5-litre or 2-litre capacity. The range is extensive with seven models starting from $37,990, some offered in four-wheel-drive. The test car was Titanium-badged and sits in the line-up at $53,490, there is only one model with a higher ticket and that is the diesel powered version with the same specification ($54,990). The 2-litre petrol, all-wheel-drive variant is certainly a worthy choice, the Escape in this form is a cross between the traditional SUV and a sports car, that comment simply because of its engine output, it is rated at 178kW and 345Nm. That’s mostly due to the turbocharging system fitted to the twin-camshaft, 16-valve unit, it offers significant boost at a low operating area. Peak power arrives at just 5500rpm while maximum torque is available all of the way from 2000rpm to 4500rpm. The significance of those figures is the punchy way the engine works. It is feisty and lively, yet it delivers with little audible sound. If you also factor in the way power is transferred through a silky smooth
six-speed automatic gearbox, the driveline is structured for quick momentum with a responsive nature. The Escape in this form will accelerate from a standstill in 8sec and will complete an overtaking time of 4.9sec to make 120km/h from 80km/h. My comments about sports car performance aren’t an exaggeration. Ford is quite proud of its Ecoboost range of engines, they have been developed not so much for the performance I’ve just commented on, but they also stand out for their economy. As it turned out I drove the new Escape at city speeds for a fair chunk of my evaluation and that wasn’t kind to the economy, the fuel usage readout listing around 10.6-litres per 100km (27mpg) when I took the car back to the dealership.
direct and accuracy within the handling process is positive. I particularly like the way the Escape handles, and that doesn’t surprise me. I’m a big European Ford fan, and the way the designers engineer balance and handling ability into the chassis of all their varying model styles is a credit. The Escape is also fitted with state-ofthe-art gear for comfort, convenience and safety. Some of the major items include full leather trim with heated front seats, satellite navigation, full length electric sunroof, voice recognition communication and infotainment, and radar cruise control. Of course, it is also five-star safety rated.
That’s quite distant to Ford’s combined average cycle claim of 8.6l/100km (33mpg), but that’s put into perspective when you take into account the 6.2l/100km (46mpg) sitting instantaneously at a steady 100km/h, the engine turning over at just 1750rpm.
I was a little ambivalent when I picked up the Escape, I knew that its engine wouldn’t live up to the thrill of the old Volvo-derived, 2.5-litre, turbo five-cylinder unit found in some variants of the old Kuga, still one of my favourite engines. That being the case, the Escape’s 2-litre engine had to really work hard to win me over and I should have known it wouldn’t disappoint. Its honesty, power outputs and generally quiet operating manner make it a real honey.
The evaluation car was riding on sport specification Continental tyres (235/45 x 19in). With their wide footprint and formidable reputation there is a lot of steering feel and strong self-centering feel within the steering mechanism. Turn-in is
Just as well, then, that the rest of the vehicle has the quality to support it; the entire package is quite outstanding. It will certainly lure Escape buyers of old, and those who are contemplating trading up from Kuga.
Best Motorbuys 22-12-17