2013 Ford Escape, brother of the redesigned
Bechara Aboul-Nasr, 18
Announcing a new SUV at
Ford Motor Company is comparable to announcing a new luxury model at
Mercedes-Benz or BMW, or a new chic urban one from MINI or Audi. It's
heart of their respective images, even if they all do
well in other categories, including Ford in various passenger car segments,
especially since the "back to basics" policy which followed
the nineties problems. But that's quite a long time ago,
at least by today's standards of time perceptions.
SUV muted from niche to mainstream standing.
Hence, when it comes to
announcing a new generation Ford Escape for the 2013 model year, the
picture gets even clearer, now that the compact crossover SUV category has
muted from niche to mainstream standing.
The reasons of this
mutation cannot be more obvious, with the global changes in energy prices, urban densities,
emerging markets expansions and last but not least, the current financial
and economic climate. Everything pleads today for leaner, lighter, and more
economical to buy, own, run and then resell.
That's where the all new 2013 Ford
Escape intends to play, especially now that it has become America’s best-selling small
utility (small for American, compact or even medium sized for many other
markets, starting from Europe).
Besides price and running
costs, this category aims to offer moderate exterior
size, consumption and emissions – read lower taxation, not just
environmental poetry –, ease of use in urban or even not-so-urban environments, versatile interior for passengers and cargo and
no-less-important than any of these arguments, safe handling and
protection. All the rest completes these fundamentals.
So, what does the new Ford
Escape has to tell?
Let's start from the looks of the North American Escape
which will be called Kuga in many markets around the world, including
China (from next spring) and Europe where the first generation was
launched in 2008.
The 2013 Ford Escape is the brother of the redesigned
European Kuga – to be shown in Geneva this March –, which is based on
Ford's compact C platform. The platform is also shared with the Ford Focus
(compact C-segment, lower medium category) and C-Max MPV.
As you'd expect from a compact crossover, the
exterior design of the new Escape combines SUV and passenger car
The larger exterior dimensions
of the 2013
Ford Escape (compared to the outgoing model), allow for 68.1 cubic feet (1928 litres) of cargo volume behind the first row (25 litres more than the
predecessor) and 34.3 cubic feet (971 litres) behind the second row (+82 litres).
The total interior volume for passengers comes at 98.1 cubic feet (2778 litres),
that is 37 litres less than the 2815 litres (99.4 cu.ft) of the previous
Bearing the current Ford Kuga dimensions in mind (same 2.69-metre wheelbase as the new 2013 Escape /
Kuga), it becomes understandable why the new Kuga generation will bring more luggage space, as the body will evolve from the current 4.44-metre
Kuga length to 4.524 metre.
With these changes, the manufacturer's specifications figures indicate an
increase in the curb weight of the basic version, from 3229 lb
(1465 kg) for the outgoing 2.5-litre, manual FWD to 3515 lb (to 1594 kg)
for the new
1.6-litre EcoBoost, FWD with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission.
However, Ford says
that weight reduction measures were adopted, as the
seat structure for example has lost about 3 pounds (1.36 kg) despite the added functionality – two-way power recline and two-way power
lumbar support, in addition to the basic six-way adjustability.
from 103.1 inches (2619mm) to 105.9 in. (2690mm), to
provide more interior space.
The new Ford Escape will be
initially available with three 4-cylinder gasoline (petrol) engines, all with
aluminium block and heads, double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per
- The upgraded version of the
2.5-litre has a projected maximal output of 168 horsepower and 167 lb.-ft
(226 Nm) of torque,
- 1.6-Litre EcoBoost with a
projected maximal output of 173 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft (240 Nm) of torque,
- 2.0-Litre EcoBoost with a
projected maximal output of 237 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft (339 Nm) of torque.
standard six-speed SelectShift transmission allows manual gear
changes from a switch on the left-hand side of the
The EcoBoost engines
provide direct fuel
injection with turbocharging and twin independent variable camshaft timing
Other powertrains, including a new
diesel engine, will be offered with the Ford Kuga outside of North
Ford's Escape will come for
the first time with a standard six-speed SelectShift
automatic transmission with all engines, allowing a manual gear selection from a switch on the left-hand side of the
shifter (opposite picture).
A simple kicking motion under the centre
of the rear
bumper unlocks and raises the optional hands-free power liftgate
when the driver has
the Escape key fob. The same
process closes the hatch.
Integrated in the Ford
Intelligent Access system with push-button start / stop, the hands-free power liftgate
uses two sensors in the rear bumper to detect the driver’s shin and the kicking motion.
simple kicking motion under the centre
of the rear
bumper unlocks and raises the optional hands-free power liftgate.
To avoid accidental
combination of the system detecting the key fob, the shin and leg
motion is necessary to unlock and open the liftgate.
The liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to
open from about 4 feet (1.2 metre) to a maximum
of about 7 feet (2.1 metre) above the ground.
A new version of the SYNC with MyFord
Touch system provides different ways to manage and control
information through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on
the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs.
Touch 4-inch screen in the instrument cluster.
The new display is
clearer, with larger words and the pressable areas on the screen
look more like buttons. The key corner screens – Phone, Navigation, Entertainment and Climate –
are labelled as such in addition to their colour codes. Icons have a new
look to better reflect the functionality or feature.
Touch includes a standard 4-inch screen in the instrument cluster on all
Escape versions. An 8-inch screen in the centre stack is standard on
SEL and Titanium models.
The latest version
of SYNC includes:
• Hands-free, voice-activated calling via a Bluetooth-connected mobile phone,
• Hands-free, voice-activated control of a USB-connected digital music player,
• 911 Assist, the automated emergency calling service (free for the life of the
• Vehicle Health Report, an on-demand diagnostic and maintenance information service.
option with navigation and Sony audio.
Ford says that its MyFord Touch comes with standard SYNC Services subscription, which expands
voice-controlled features to include a cloud-based network of services (turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports and business search
information with available live operator assistance, if needed).
MyFord Touch is optionally available with navigation systems and Sony-branded audio
with 10 speakers and a Sony-designed electronic finish panel.
The optional technology package
includes the active park assist, blind spot information
(BLIS) with cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, front / rear park assist and
rear view camera.
The active park assist option
detects, with the press of a button, an available
parallel parking space and automatically steers the vehicle into the
space. It is enabled by the EPAS (electric
power-assisted steering) system, and, using 10 sensors, it automatically steers
the vehicle into the space, without the driver having to touch the
steering wheel. He / she controls the accelerator, gearshift and brakes.
The system can parallel park into
a space of less than 18 feet (5.5 metre) long – the vehicle’s length (a little
less than 15 feet, 4.57 metre) plus 3 feet (91.4 cm).
cross-traffic alert helps by alerting the driver when a vehicle is detected
in a blind spot, and warns of traffic detected
approaching from the sides, such as when backing out of a parking space.
The alert is displayed in the side mirror when a vehicle is detected entering a blind
The new escape can be ordered with the new Intelligent 4WD system,
which automatically slows the vehicle if it is cornering too fast (Curve Control, introduced on the new
Ford Explorer) or help accelerate
through a turn (Torque Vectoring Control). It analyzes data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator
pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and
driver input. It adds or reduces torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.
When entering and driving through turns, the system pre-emptively split the torque produced by the powertrain between
the front and rear axles. If the vehicle is understeering, the system will automatically
torque to the rear wheels to provide more
68.1 cubic feet (1928 litres) of
cargo volume behind the first row
and 34.3 cubic feet (971 litres) behind the second row.
Input from sensors
and data – such as lateral acceleration, driver demand and steering
angle – are processed to allow the system to add or reduce torque as needed through an
electromagnetic clutch. Should the front of the vehicle be on ice for
instance and the rear on pavement,
the all-wheel-drive system will send all the torque to the rear.
Ford says that these adjustments, corrections and calculations are made every 16
milliseconds – about 20 times faster than the blink of an eye – and
that both the control software and the rear axle were developed
in-house by its own engineers.
on the new global Ford Focus but retuned and recalibrated for
the new Escape, the Torque Vectoring Control transfers
torque across the same axle (between left and right), to the outside wheel. It is engaged when the driver is
accelerating, to calculate the vehicle’s yaw motion, or its
tendency to move left or right. It uses
the vehicle’s brakes to function like a limited-slip
differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque
between the front wheels during cornering, improving both grip and
As the vehicle accelerates through a
corner, the system uses the vehicle’s stability control module to detect when the inside front wheel is starting to slip
and applies an imperceptible amount of braking to the inside wheel to transfer engine torque to the outside
one, which has more grip, thus maintaining traction and steering
Ford says that unlike a
traction control system that reduces engine power, Torque Vectoring
Control’s intervention may not even be
noticeable to the driver.
Other technologies added to the new Ford Escape include hill start assist and emergency brake assist, Roll Stability Control and
trailer sway control.
Similar to the Curve Control feature, the new braking system
can apply automatic
four-wheel braking to help the driver when cornering too quickly on a
curve. The system
is fully automatic and capable of slowing the vehicle more quickly than
most drivers can react – speeds can be reduced about 10 mph (16 km/h) in about one
second, allowing the vehicle to maintain its path.
On the passive safety
side, the enhanced Personal Safety System
comes with new safety belt technologies and seven airbags.
The new pretensioners at the front outboard anchor points and
crash-locking tongues help pull the belt tight over
the hips in a fraction of a second during more severe crashes, while the new
side airbags deploy lower in the pelvis area in addition to the chest and
incorporate new venting technology which takes into account the size of the
occupant to vary the pressure so smaller occupants withstand a lower pressure.
The tunnel vent is lined up with the shoulder area of the occupant. On larger
passengers, the shoulder engages the vent and keeps it from venting so the
gas stays inside the airbag. On smaller passengers, the occupant’s shoulder is below the vent,
so the gas
vents out of the airbag.
airbag uses a curve-shaped tether system that pulls in the
lower section to lessen the impact of the airbag
on the driver’s chest and ribs in frontal crashes. A driver’s knee airbag
is offered on Escape for the first time.
The Ford Safety Canopy
System combines side curtain airbags and a rollover sensor. Inflators
for the airbags are located near the roof rail between the side pillars,
while side-impact sensors are located on each side of the vehicle. The
rollover sensor detects a potential rollover and triggers the Safety
Canopy System so the airbags stay inflated for up to six seconds to help
reduce injuries from multiple impacts or rollovers.