Ford New Zealand is replacing the Kuga models with a new mid-sized Ford Escape range of SUVs.
The company says the new Escape will offer one of the most technologically-advanced SUVs in the country, at a more affordable price.
The company in New Zealand and Australia is adopting the global naming strategy for its medium-sized SUVs, and will introduce a front-wheel drive Escape Trend model to the range.
Ford says it is the second largest SUV brand in the world.
Ford New Zealand managing director Simon Rutherford said the company was responding the customer demand for a broader line up as the preference for SUVs grew.
Key changes for Ford Escape over the Ford Kuga include:
Refreshed design inside and out
Improved specification and features across the range, with improved value for money
Improved fuel economy for 2.0-litre models thanks to automatic start/stop as standard
New FWD 1.5L EcoBoost Escape Trend provides a new option
New entry recommended price of $37,990.
The Escape features a hands-free power tailgate on the Titanium models, and up to 1603 litres of cargo space with the rear seating folded. In addition, the Escape steering wheel and air-conditioning controls operate through fewer and more easily distinguishable buttons and switches, making the controls easier to recognise and navigate.
All Escape models will feature paddle-shift controls that enable drivers to manually select gears.
The models will all feature upgraded audio, navigation and climate air functions plus improved connectivity using simple, more conversational voice commands, with a new SYNC3 connectivity system. Ford has drawn on more than 22,000 comments and insights gained from research clinics and surveys to ensure the new version is the most customer-centric system to date.
By pushing a button and saying “I need a coffee” for example, SYNC®3 will find nearby cafés. Other simple voice commands can also find petrol stations or car parks, train stations, airports, and hotels.
SYNC®3 can then guide the driver to the selected destination via the embedded navigation that’s standard across the Escape range. Voice search results are also enhanced by a better understanding of how consumers refer to businesses and points of interest.
Escape drivers can operate SYNC®3’s 8.0-inch touchscreen – the largest in this class – in the same way that they use their smartphones. A new interface features larger, easier to operate buttons and enables pinch and swipe gestures for the first time.
iPhone users can activate Apple CarPlay, allowing drivers to make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, get directions optimised for traffic conditions, and more while focused on the road.
Android™ users can activate Android Auto™. Android Auto™ makes apps and services that are already widely used accessible in safer and seamless ways in the Escape, including Google Search, Google Maps and Google Play.
SYNC®3 also delivers AppLink for customers, enabling voice-activation from the driver’s seat of a range of smartphone apps that now includes Spotify, AccuWeather and Pandora.
Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System is available for the Escape and monitors ambient light conditions and automatically optimises visibility by adjusting the beam angle of the new bi-xenon headlights depending on the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and distance to an object in front. It features anti-glare capability, as well as country road, city street and also maneuvering beam shaping abilities.
The Escape also introduces an enhance dversion of Ford's Active City Stop collision avoidance system, which operates at speeds of up to 50kph, up from the previous 30 kph.
It also offers new perpendicular parking functionality, improving the semi autonomous Active Park Assist technology.
The new Ford Escape also now offers New Perpendicular Parking functionality enhances the semi-autonomous Active Park Assist technology. Using additional ultrasonic sensors, Perpendicular Parking at the push of a button enables drivers to locate parking spaces alongside other cars as well as parallel to the road, and steers the vehicle into them while the driver controls the accelerator and brake.
The New Ford Escape: Recommended Retail Pricing and Features
Ford Escape Ambiente 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6-speed automatic $37,990
1.5L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic $40,990
SYNC® 3 with 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
5 Star Safety EuroNCAP
Dual-zone climate control with rear air vents
AM/FM/DAB+ radio, six-speaker audio with USB input, Bluetooth streaming
Reverse Camera and rear parking sensors
Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiting Device
Front and rear fog-lamps
Electronic Parking Brake
Ford Escape Trend 1.5L EcoBoost FWD 6-speed automatic $41,990
2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic $44,990
2.0L TDCi AWD 6-speed automatic $46,490
Standard Feature as per Ambiente, plus:
Active City Safe
Blind Spot Information System
18-inch alloy wheels
Roof-rails in silver finish
Automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers
Automatic-dimming rear-vision mirror
Automatic on/off headlights
Follow-me home lighting
Leather-wrap gear lever
New Ford Escape Titanium 2.0L EcoBoost AWD 6-speed automatic $53,490
2.0L TDCi AWD 6-speed automatic $54,990
Standard Features as per Trend, plus:
19-inch alloy wheels
Smart Keyless Entry
Power folding mirrors with approach light Bi-Xenon HID headlights with auto levelling
LED Daytime-running lights- Adaptive Beam Shape and Dynamic bending headlights
Leather upholstery - Heated front-seating
10-way power-adjustable Driver’s seat
Front parking sensors
Adaptive Cruise Control
Enhanced Active Park Assist
Lane Keeping Aid
Panoramic glass roof
Front and rear velour floor matts
Hand free power tailgate
Multi-colour ambient lighting
Nine speaker audio system
New Ford Escape powertrain specifications
1.5L EcoBoost, six-speed automatic, with paddle shift
o 134kW@ 5700rpm
o 240Nm@ 1600-5000rpm
o 7.0L/100km combined* (FWD)
o 7.4L/100km combined* (AWD)
o Towing capacity: 2000 braked (FWD); 1850kg braked (AWD)
2.0L EcoBoost, six-speed automatic, with paddle shift