The fourth-generation Ford Escape will arrive in Australia in the third quarter of 2020 in a three model range kicking off from $35,990. A plug-in hybrid variant with 50km of electric range will be offered from launch in a first for the transatlantic brand in Australia – though the lion’s share of variants of the curvier new Escape are fitted with a familiar two-litre turbo petrol engine.
It’s a tech-forward offer, with every new Escape sold to Australians fitted with a dedicated internet connection powering a smartphone app with remote locking, remote start and vehicle status monitoring features.
The new Escape, which competes with segment favourites like the Mazda CX-5 (reviewed here) and Volkswagen Tiguan (reviewed here), will seek to build on the relatively modest sales success of the outgoing third-gen Escape as it arrives alongside the funky new Ford Puma small SUV.
Underpinned by Ford’s new C2 platform, which also serves as the basis for the sporty Focus hatchback, the new Escape grows in width (by 44mm) and length (89mm), while the wheelbase is stretched by 20mm: Ford says room is increased for all passengers.
Three variants – a base Escape, mid-tier ST-Line and new premium-spec Vignale – will reach our shores. The new plug-in hybrid iteration – which is also a segment first for mass market medium SUVs in Australia – is the priciest Escape but is actually based upon the middle ST-Line specification.
Priced at $52,940, the Escape ST-Line PHEV will offer an all-electric range of ‘over 50 kilometres’, according to its maker, while using the electric supply from the 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor. Assisting the electrified element is a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol. Total system output for the hybrid is 167kW.
The decision to introduce a proper plug-in hybrid variant for the Escape is a divergence from the strategy at rival Toyota, who are offering their new RAV4 SUV with a conventional series-parallel hybrid that works in concert with the petrol engine.
The other five Escape variants are powered by a familiar 183kW/387Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged ‘Ecoboost’ petrol engine, which is front-wheel-drive by default, though it is offered as an AWD pairing in the ST-Line and Vignale grades. Fuel consumption is 8.6L/100km in both FWD and all-paw configurations.
All Escape grades include Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system with navigation, DAB digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, Australian-tuned voice recognition, and wireless smartphone charging.
The eponymously-badged base grade is available in a single $35,990 front-wheel-drive grade. As standard, the entry car is fitted with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, twin exhausts, and a rear spoiler. On the safety front, there’s a decent suite of features offered up as standard: car- and pedestrian-detecting AEB, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, fatigue detection, and tyre pressure monitoring. A further $1,000 buys matrix headlights and a head-up display.
From there, it’s a $2,000 jump to the more athletically-styled ST-Line grade ($37,990), which is fitted with different 18-inch wheels, a dark grille, sportier bumpers, a lowered sports suspension, black roof rails, and a dark headliner. Inside, ST-Line buyers gain a flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching, metal pedals, and a 12.3-inch digital driver display.
The ST-Line is the first new Escape grade to allow the fitment of AWD (for an extra $3,000). Additionally, you’ll need to option up the ST-Line pack ($2,800) to gain the base Escape’s tech pack, plus an electric tailgate, and heated front seats.
The front-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid is a $14,950 impost, but it builds on normal ST-Line specification by adding partial leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver’s seat, and a ten-speaker stereo.
Sitting atop the range is the Escape Vignale, which introduces Australia to Ford Europe’s premier-tier variant badge for the first time. The $46,590 Vignale represents an $8,600 upgrade over the equivalent ST-Line – and for the extra spend, Ford piles on additional luxuries like full leather trim, passive entry, powered and heated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a panoramic sunroof, heads-up display, power tailgate, and automated parking. AWD is a $3,000 upgrade.
The Escape will arrive in dealerships in the Australian spring of 2020.
2020 Ford Escape Australian prices
2020 Escape FWD: $35,990
2020 Escape ST-Line FWD: $37,990
2020 Escape ST-Line AWD: $40,990
2020 Escape Vignale FWD: $46,590
2020 Escape Vignale AWD: $49,590
2020 Escape ST-Line Plug-in Hybrid FWD: $52,490