The all-new Ford Escape delivers the versatility and cargo capacity SUV customers expect with a sports-inspired design they desire.
"Escape's athletic good looks are no accident," says Martin Smith, Design executive director of Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa. "We wanted to create the impression of an athlete like a runner or swimmer in the new body - right down to the defined muscles that convey movement and energy."
The new SUV will be sold as the Ford Escape in North America and will be launched later wearing a Kuga badge in many markets around the world.
Function follows form as the sleeker design allows for cargo volume that surpasses the outgoing Ford Escape - with 68.1 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row. The new Kuga will be slightly longer than the current model, adding luggage space.
Escape's seats, Ford's latest, lose weight while adding customer convenience. The seat structure has shed nearly 3 pounds while the seats themselves have added more functionality - two-way power recline and two-way power lumbar support. These are in addition to the familiar six-way adjustability.
A sport seat, with higher bolsters and a distinct sew style, also is available.
The front head restraint offers four-way adjustability for the first time. Both the head restraints and rear seats have been upgraded to allow for easier folding and are made from soy-based foam.
Higher levels of craftsmanship
The closer customers get to the all-new Ford Escape, the more they will love it, says Peter Bejin, manager of Global Craftsmanship.
Improved materials and execution highlight the interior, including:
A soft-touch instrument panel
Highlighting the new exterior color choices in North America is Ginger Ale, an earthy metallic tone slightly greener than ginger ale looks in a clear glass.
Ginger Ale leads an expansive palette of new exterior choices that includes Ruby Red, White Platinum Tricoat, Frosted Glass Metallic, Deep Impact Blue and Kodiak Brown, along with Tuxedo Black, Sterling Gray Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic and Oxford White.
The muscular, defined exterior shape is complemented by a dynamic, well-appointed interior featuring new levels of craftsmanship and technology.
"The interior design of the all-new Escape is modern and sophisticated," said Ruth Pauli, chief designer, Color and Materials. "It captures the expressive design and enhanced functionality of the vehicle."
The interior design team especially considered the wealth of exclusive features no competitor can match when creating the all-new Ford Escape, led by available SYNCÂ® with upgraded MyFord TouchÂ® driver connect technology.
Interior environment choices include Charcoal Black on Charcoal Black or Charcoal Black on Medium Light Stone or Medium Dark Stone.
Advanced EcoBoost Engines
For the first time, the new Ford Escape will offer two different EcoBoostÂ® engines. This award-winning Ford engine technology, which produces outstanding driving performance and expected fuel economy better than any competitor, is available in a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and for the first time in the U.S., a 1.6-liter four-cylinder.
Each new engine uses the core EcoBoost technologies of direct fuel injection and turbocharging and adds twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). With these technologies, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost is projected to produce more torque than the larger V6 engine in Toyota's RAV4, and the 1.6-liter is projected to produce segment-leading fuel economy among compact SUVs and up to 5 mpg better than the outgoing Escape.
EcoBoost has been a popular choice among customers since the EcoBoost V6 was introduced in 2009 in the Ford Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKS.
EcoBoost engines are fundamental to the Ford strategy of providing technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver exceptional fuel economy and uncompromised performance for millions of drivers around the world. By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford's North American lineup will be available with EcoBoost technology. Ford holds more than 125 patents on its EcoBoost engine technology.
"Giving customers two EcoBoost engine choices perfectly complements the array of smart, high-tech features available in the new Ford Escape," said Roger Maynard, Powertrain supervisor. "Both the 2.0-liter and 1.6-liter EcoBoost engines will deliver spirited driving performance while maximizing fuel economy."
The 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder is projected to deliver 250 lb.-ft. of torque and 237 horsepower. The 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder is projected to deliver 177 lb.-ft. of torque and 173 horsepower.
Each new EcoBoost engine is mated to a specially calibrated six-speed SelectShift Automaticâ„¢ transmission, which is standard and allows drivers to manually control gear selection from a switch on the left-hand side of the shifter.
The gearbox features a new torque converter for improved driving feel, silky smooth shifts and great fuel economy. Engineers also installed revised gear ratios for a balanced driving feel in all situations. The new ratios complement the revised torque converter.
"The 2.0-liter EcoBoost, like all EcoBoost engines, will deliver peak torque across a wide band," said Maynard. "That means drivers will get fast response when they put down the power - without sacrificing fuel economy."
1.6-liter EcoBoost comes to North America
Also available for the first time in North America is Ford's 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. Like its 2.0-liter stable mate, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost is projected to deliver better torque than current Toyota and Honda competitors and expected better fuel economy than both.
"The 1.6-liter EcoBoost will be the fuel economy leader for the new Ford Escape and will deliver outstanding fuel economy with a highly responsive engine," said Maynard.
Efforts to improve unwanted noise on the 2.0-liter EcoBoost were carried over to the 1.6-liter EcoBoost, which adds an electronically controlled bypass valve.
This valve helps mitigate turbocharger tip-in and tip-out noises, resulting in a smoother sound out of the engine when the customer tips off the throttle. The valve smoothes out the sound by balancing the air pressure in the intake.
Lighter, more efficient 2.5-liter
The base engine for the all-new Ford Escape is an updated version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which shares many components with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine to save weight, improve quality and increase fuel economy.
Highlighting the improvements is the new lower-tension global front-end accessory drive belt. With the belt at a lower tension, friction in the entire system is reduced. Less friction reduces fuel consumption.
That improvement, combined with engine control changes and other advancements, contributes up to a 2 mpg improvement in fuel economy as well as better low-end torque for enhanced performance feel.
Also improving fuel economy is the Active Grille Shutter System, which helps reduce air resistance and is on all models with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and the 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
The Active Grille Shutter System will open grille slats when extra engine cooling air is required, such as low-speed stop-and-go driving. When cruising on the highway at steady speeds, the grille slats automatically close to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
Active Grille Shutters already are used on the Ford Focus, Ford Taurus and Ford Edge in North America and will be added progressively to more vehicles.
In markets outside of North America, where the newest SUV from Ford will wear a Kuga badge, a number of additional powertrains, including a new diesel engine, will be offered. More details will be provided when the new Kuga launches at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012.
Recycled plastic bottles, scrap cotton find fresh start
A wide suite of environmentally responsible or recycled materials - including plastic bottles and cotton, to name a few - are found within the interior of the all-new Ford Escape.
"The all-new Ford Escape has a strong environmental responsibility story to tell," said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "With two all-new EcoBoost engines each delivering fewer CO2 emissions compared with similar conventional engines, and the extensive use of recycled or renewable materials, the all-new Ford Escape is more environmentally friendly."
The all-new Ford Escape contains even more sustainable materials than its predecessor. Materials that are recycled, renewable and reduce impact on the environment include:
Carpeting made from either post-consumer or post-industrial materials. An example of a post-consumer material is plastic that's been recycled, like from beverage bottles. The source for polyester carpeting is about one-third post-consumer and two-thirds post-industrial
Soy-based foam added to head restraints
The expansion of using soy-based foam continues in the all-new Escape. In addition to bio-foam content in the seat cushions and backs, new for Escape is head restraint foam that is 5 percent soy-based.
The carpet material is made from either post-consumer (plastic that's been recycled; for example, from beverage bottles) or post-industrial (scraps from companies that make clothing, for example) sources. In the new Ford Escape, the source for the polyester carpeting is about one-third post-consumer and two-thirds post-industrial.
Ford engineers calculate that about 25 20-ounce plastic bottles will be used in the production of the carpet of each new Escape in North America. At current sales levels, that is more than 4 million recycled plastic bottles each year.
"We are confident that the all-new Ford Escape will deliver outstanding fuel economy and make smart use of materials that otherwise would up in a landfill," said Cischke. "Savvy customers will appreciate how we have made Escape both greener and smarter."
The all-new Ford Escape combines the safety features and technologies customers really want, including a high-strength steel body and an even smarter new airbag system that no other automaker offers.
"Safety is of prime importance to customers of small sport utility vehicles, and the new Ford Escape delivers," said Jason Sprawka, Escape Marketing manager. "The new Escape has been crashed 5,000 times in real and virtual tests to help improve safety."
The new Ford Escape adds about four times as much advanced high-strength steel and ultra-high-strength steel as the outgoing vehicle. Nearly one-third of the steel in the all-new unibody Escape is composed of advanced high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel, helping better protect occupants in the event of a crash.
The new Escape also features an enhanced Personal Safety Systemâ„¢ with new safety belt technologies and seven airbags.
The Personal Safety System is a network of components that work together to tailor the activation of the front airbags during frontal collisions. The restraint control module (RCM) translates information collected by the front crash sensors, front outboard safety belt buckle switch, driver-seat track position and passenger-seat weight sensor and judges how fast the vehicle is decelerating, and if the driver and/or passenger are buckled.
With this information, the RCM activates the safety belt pretensioners and determines how the dual-stage front airbags will deploy.
New for the next Ford Escape are pretensioners at the front outboard anchor points and crash-locking tongues. These technologies help pull the belt tight over the hips in a fraction of a second during more severe crashes.
The new side airbags deploy lower in the pelvis area in addition to the chest and incorporate new venting technology, which Escape brings exclusively to the small SUV segment.
The side airbag's venting technology takes into account the size of the occupant, varying the pressure so smaller occupants withstand a lower pressure.
"In a side impact, what's preferred is a higher-pressure side airbag for a larger person and a lower pressure for a smaller person," said Sean Ryan, Restraints supervisor. "That wasn't possible with previous systems. On the new Ford Escape, the adaptive vent allows us to optimize the pressure in the side airbag."
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 effect is just the opposite: Because the occupant's shoulder is below the vent, the gas vents out of the airbag.
The driver's airbag uses a reconfigured curve-shaped tether system that pulls in the lower section to create a pocket to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver's chest and ribs in frontal crashes. Deploying at the same time is a driver's knee airbag - offered on Ford Escape for the first time.
The new Ford Escape also includes the familiar Safety CanopyÂ® System, which combines side curtain airbags and a rollover sensor to help provide protection for outboard passengers during side impacts.
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. The airbags stay inflated for up to six seconds to help reduce injuries from multiple impacts or rollovers.
The all-new Ford Escape might be the most helpful vehicle ever produced by Ford. Using the most hands-free technology ever offered in a Ford, the new Escape helps customers load or unload gear through the rear hatch without fumbling for a key, stay connected, parallel park and avoid a collision in a parking lot.
Plus, on the road, the all-new Ford-engineered Intelligent 4WD System helps deliver outstanding handling and excellent traction off-road when drivers want to leave the pavement.
Additionally, exclusive technologies that no competitor can match to automatically slow the vehicle when cornering too fast (Curve Control) or help accelerate through a turn (Torque Vectoring Control) are joined together for the first time in an SUV in the new Ford Escape.
"Customers want technology that makes their lives easier," said Jason Sprawka, Escape marketing manager. "The new Escape has a wealth of available intuitive technology as well as aids that are completely seamless."
Getting a kick out of new smart technology
Leading the clever, segment-first customer-focused features for the all-new Ford Escape is the available hands-free power liftgate. A slight kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper activates the system, then unlocks and raises the liftgate.
This allows quick, easy and convenient access to the cargo area without setting down packages or digging out keys to open the rear hatch. The same process closes the hatch as well.
The hands-free liftgate builds off Ford's Intelligent Access with push-button start, which allows customers to unlock and start their vehicles without ever having to take out the key. When the key fob is in their possession - kept in a pocket, coat, purse or briefcase - a simple pull on the door handle unlocks the vehicle. Once inside, the driver simply holds down the brake pedal and presses the power button to start the vehicle.
For the hands-free power liftgate, two sensors integrated into the Intelligent Access system are located in the rear bumper. One detects the driver's shin, and the other detects the kicking motion to enable the hands-free power liftgate.
The combination of the system detecting the key fob and the shin and leg motion is necessary to unlock and open the liftgate, safeguarding against any accidental opening.
"Animals running under the car, hitting bumps in the road or having leaves swirl below the vehicle on the road won't trip the liftgate," said Michael Becker, systems engineer. "We've designed the system so the liftgate opens when you want it to."
Additionally, the liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet specific customer needs. The liftgate opens from about 4 feet to a maximum of about 7 feet above the ground.
New version of SYNC with MyFord Touch
The latest version of SYNCÂ® with MyFord TouchÂ® driver connect technology for new Escape makes it easier to manage information, control features and adjust settings.
"We've listened to our customers and have improved what they love about MyFord Touch," said Kenneth Williams, systems integration engineer. "In this upgrade, the screens have a cleaner, clearer display. The words on the screens are larger and easier to read, the pressable areas on the screen look more like buttons, and we have made the functions clearer for faster navigation.
"What separates MyFord Touch is that there are multiple ways for customers to manage and control what they want through voice commands, menus accessed through the steering wheel controls, touch screen, buttons or knobs, whatever they prefer."
Now, the key corner screens - Phone, Navigation, Entertainment and Climate - are labeled as such in addition to their color codes. Icons have a new look that better specifies the functionality or feature.
MyFord Touch includes a standard 4-inch screen in the instrument cluster on all Ford Escape series models. An 8-inch screen in the center stack is standard on SEL and Titanium models. All-new Escape also features the latest version of SYNC, which includes:
Hands-free, voice-activated calling via a BluetoothÂ®-connected mobile phone
MyFord Touch is available with navigation systems and with Sony-branded audio with 10 speakers and a Sony-designed electronic finish panel.
New parking technology package
Available for the first time for Ford Escape is a parking technology package that can help take the anxiety out of parallel parking and help avoid accidents. Included in the package are:
Active park assist
The sensor-based technology of active park assist parks on grades, in tighter spaces, closer to the curb, and is faster and more accurate than competitors' camera-based systems. The new Escape can parallel park into a space of less than 18 feet long - the vehicle's length (a little less than 15 feet) plus 3 feet.
BLIS with cross-traffic alert helps drivers change lanes or back out of a parking space with more confidence. BLIS alerts when a vehicle is detected entering a blind spot, and cross-traffic alert warns of traffic detected approaching from the sides, such as backing out of a parking space.
On-road driving experience dramatically improved
Advanced Ford-developed software behind the new Ford Escape's Intelligent 4WD System pre-emptively reassesses conditions about 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye, readjusting the power split to give the driver the precise blend of handling and traction at all times.
Using advanced software and sensors, the system gathers data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, to deliver outstanding driving performance in both wet and dry conditions as well as excellent off-road traction.
Greater confidence when entering and driving through turns is enabled by the technologies Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control, which are available together for the first time in an SUV in the all-new Ford Escape.
The system always pre-emptively splits the torque produced by the powertrain between the front and rear axles. Splitting the torque offers several benefits to the driver. First, it transfers the power, which means that when a driver corners hard, the vehicle will better follow the intended steering path. For example, if the vehicle is understeering - the tendency to go straight when cornering - the system will automatically split more torque to the rear wheels to help counteract that effect and provide more neutral steering.
Second, and new to this all-new SUV, are feedback sensors and software that calculate, based on the driver's steering angle, where the driver wants to go versus where the vehicle is heading, and make the appropriate split.
A sort of mini-supercomputer uses all the inputs from an array of sensors and data - such as lateral acceleration, driver demand and steering angle - and processes that information to get the vehicle to turn in the direction the driver wants it to go. The Ford system builds on the pre-emptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.
If, for example, the front of the vehicle is on ice and the rear is on pavement, the all-wheel-drive system can send all the torque the powertrain can produce to the rear, putting power where the driver needs it.
All of these adjustments, corrections and calculations are made every 16 milliseconds, which is about 20 times faster than the blink of an eye.
Both the brains (the control software) and the brawn (the rear axle) were developed in-house by Ford.
Upgraded braking system, new technologies add another level of confidence
Working in harmony with Ford's new Intelligent 4WD System is an enhanced version of Torque Vectoring Control, deployed for the first time with an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Introduced on the new global Ford Focus but completely retuned and recalibrated for the new Escape, Torque Vectoring Control adds another level of confidence for the driver. In a situation when wheel slip is detected - losing grip on the inside wheel, for example - Torque Vectoring Control transfers torque across the axle to the outside wheel.
Torque Vectoring Control is engaged when the driver is on the accelerator, and uses sensors and software to calculate the vehicle's yaw motion, or its tendency to move left or right.
More typically found on high-performance cars, Torque Vectoring Control uses the vehicle's brakes to imitate the effect of a limited-slip differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque between the front wheels during cornering, resulting in improved grip and steering and a reduced chance of understeer.
The system operates using the vehicle's stability control module and monitors the situation 100 times per second. As the vehicle accelerates through a corner, the system detects when the inside front wheel is starting to slip and applies an imperceptible amount of braking to the wheel. This prevents wheel spin and has the effect of transferring engine torque to the outside wheel, which has more grip, thus maintaining traction and steering control.
Unlike a traction control system that reduces engine power, Torque Vectoring Control's intervention is extremely subtle and may not even be noticeable to the driver.
Other helpful technologies added to the new Ford Escape include active park assist, hill start assist and emergency brake assist, complementing such core and familiar Escape technologies as Roll Stability Controlâ„¢ and trailer sway control.
Brakes offer better control when cornering
The new braking system also helps keep the driver in control when cornering. Similar to the Curve Control feature introduced on the new Explorer, the new braking system in the Escape can apply automatic four-wheel braking to help the driver when cornering too quickly on a curve, and is always active.
The system will aid in cutting speed by reducing the engine torque and four-wheel braking, helping avoid crashes. Freeway off-ramps and on-ramps are common situations where vehicles may be going too fast for the 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 in about one second, allowing the vehicle to maintain its path.