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New Ford Escape: slashes Kuga pricing, adds missing model

We attended the local launch of the Ford Escape and will be able to provide our review and driving impressions soon. For now, here’s what we can tell you.

FORD AUSTRALIA has launched its new Escape – the SUV previously known as the Kuga – and the refreshed model is aimed at boosting sales and taking a larger bite of the medium SUV pie currently dominated by the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4.

Ford Australia says it retired the Kuga name to follow global platform nomenclature, although in Europe, where the Kuga is the number one selling mid-size SUV, the name will stay.

But more than a just a new name (or old, if you consider we’ve already had a Ford Escape here), the 2017 Ford Escape brings refreshed exterior and interior styling as well as better technology. The Escape is also cheaper than previous equivalent Kuga models by upto $900.

Offered in either front or all-wheel drive and in three trim levels – Ambiente, Trend and top spec Titanium – the Escape rides on mostly the exact same underpinnings as last year’s Kuga. 

Three engines are offered – a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol or a 2.0-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel – and are available with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Additional features for the new Escape also include electronic park brake (gone is the mechanical lever) and laminated front side windows for reduced road noise. All Escape models come standard with paddle shifters in vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, and Ford’s ‘SYNC 3’ infotainment – an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB.

Here’s a rundown of pricing and specs (all prices exclude on-road costs):

Ford Escape Ambiente

  • 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6-speed manual $28,490
  • 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6-speed automatic $29,990
  • 1.5L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic $32,990

Standard features

  • 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB.
  • Dual-zone climate control with rear air vents
  • Reverse Camera and rear parking sensors 
  • Cruise Control with speed limiter
  • Daytime running-lights
  • Push-button start
  • Front and rear fog-lamps
Escape Trend

Ford Escape Trend

  • 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6-speed automatic $32,990
  • 2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic $35,990
  • 2.0L TDCi AWD 6-speed automatic $38,490

Standard features (in addition to Ambiente)

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Roof-rails in silver finish
  • Privacy Glass
  • Laminated front side windows
  • Automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers
  • Automatic-dimming rear-vision mirror
  • Automatic on/off headlights
Escape Titanium

Ford Escape Titanium

  • 2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic $44,990
  • 2.0L TDCi AWD 6-speed automatic $47,490

Standard features (in addition to Trend)

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless Entry
  • Power folding mirrors
  • LED DRLs
  • Heated front-seating
  • 10-way power-adjustable Driver’s seat
  • Front parking sensors
  • Active Park Assist
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Premium Sony nine-speaker audio system

Escape’s hero child is its first ever offering of a mid-tier model with front-wheel drive.

The Trend, which was previously only all-wheel drive in the Kuga, is now offered as front-wheel drive with a 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine. This more affordable ($32,990 +ORCs) derivative is the most popular amongst mid-size SUV buyers and, according to Ford, accounts for 28 per cent of all sales in the segment.

“Offering a front-wheel drive Escape Trend is significant news for consumers looking for value,” said Graeme Whickman, Ford Australia President and CEO.

“If you look where consumers are purchasing, in this hotly-contested segment, the biggest volume is in mid-level, front-drive models. Now, with a front-drive Trend, we’ve significantly broadened the appeal for Escape, something we’ve learnt from consumers both directly and through engaging with our dealer network.”

But there’s another initiative for buyers to spend extra and get into the Trend – it’s safer than the base model Ambiente, if you add the technology pack.

The technology pack, an additional $1300 option (down form $1600 on the Kuga), is only available on the Trend and Titanium, and it adds considerable safety tech. The 2017 Ford Escape has scored a five-star ANCAP rating.

Optional Technology Pack $1300 (Trend and Titanium only)

  • Lane eparture Warning (LDW) with Driver Alert
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Auto High Beam
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking up to 50km/h (previously up to 30km/h)
  • Adaptive Cruise with Forward Alert and Enhanced Collision Mitigation
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Rear Cross
  • Traffic Alert
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System

Engine specifications and towing capacities

1.5L EcoBoost (six-speed manual)

  • Power: 110kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
  • Fuel consumption: 6.3L/100km (FWD) Towing capacity: 1500 (FWD); 1600kg (AWD)

1.5L EcoBoost (six-speed automatic)

  • Power: 134kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
  • Fuel consumption:  7.2L/100km (FWD)
  • Fuel consumption:  7.5L/100km (AWD)
  • Towing capacity: 1500 (FWD); 1600kg (AWD)

2.0L (six-speed automatic)

  • Power: 178kW at 5500rpm and 345Nm at 2000-4500rpm
  • Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km
  • Towing capacity: 1600kg

2.0L Diesel (six-speed automatic)

  • Power: 132kW at 3500rpm and 400Nm at 2000-2500rpm
  • Fuel consumption: 5.5L/100km
  • Towing capacity: 1800kg


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Mars Da La Montagne
Mars Da La Montagne
3 years ago

These are the cars catching fire in South Africa.
There has been a recall in South Africa and USA.

PracticalMotoring
3 years ago

No, these aren’t the same vehicles. It was the previous generation vehicle, called Kuga, and models built between 2012-2014 that had an issue with a poor performing cooling system. There was no record of vehicles in Australia being affected with the same issue. – Isaac

Galaxy Being
Galaxy Being
3 years ago

No DAB+ Radio, short warranty and Ford’s less than stellar reputation for reliablity and customer support makes this a no buy for me.

Guest
Guest
3 years ago
Reply to  Galaxy Being

The car has DAB+. The article doesn’t mention it.

PracticalMotoring
3 years ago
Reply to  Galaxy Being

Hi Galaxy Being, the Escape does have DAB+ and the article has been updated. – Isaac

Ricardo
Ricardo
3 years ago

SLASHES KUGA PRICING – “The Escape is also cheaper than previous equivalent Kuga models by upto $900”

Headline seems a bit over the top.

MK74
MK74
3 years ago
Reply to  Ricardo

“SLASHES”, pity Practical Motoring editorial had decided to go the click bait route with their website/articles.

PracticalMotoring
3 years ago
Reply to  MK74

It’s in the heading of one article. I wouldn’t say that means we’ve gone down the ‘click bait route’. Cheers Isaac

dilligaf
dilligaf
3 years ago

I got all excited and then realised the manual was only on the 1.5. Bugger.

Vins
Vins
3 years ago

If you look at carsales, kuga is cheaper

PracticalMotoring
PracticalMotoring
3 years ago
Reply to  Vins

Dealerships are no doubt trying to run out the Kuga as the Escape enters showrooms. But MSRP new, the Kuga is more expensive. – Alex

Emre Cetin
Emre Cetin
3 years ago

Sat Nav comes as a standard feature across all Escape variants. That’s something hard to find with other car brands at this price level. Article has mention of this either.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae