Bringing new sophistication to the compact car segment, the all-new Ford Escort offers elegant design, exceptional roominess and refined craftsmanship to appeal to discerning modern families in China.
Ford's market research revealed that there is a sub-group of Chinese consumers in the compact car segment who are looking for a sedan that is stylish without appearing arrogant or pretentious, one that fits comfortably into a balanced life with family and friends.
The Ford Asia Pacific design team in Australia worked together with Ford's Research and Engineering Center in Nanjing to meet this market need with the Ford Escort, combining Ford's global capabilities with its knowledge of the Chinese market.
"The Ford Escort offers a premium aesthetic without sacrificing important features like rear-seat space and practicality for everyday use," said Andrew Collinson, exterior design manager, Ford Asia Pacific. "Combining our global strength and local expertise, we've created a compact sedan that defies expectations for this segment with a clean, harmonious and sophisticated design."
Premium exterior, athletic proportions
The Ford Escort's design begins with a distinctive inverted trapezoidal grille set high on the front, reflecting the One Ford global design language. Chrome highlights on the five-bar grille give the Ford Escort a premium appearance, and headlights set apart help to define the vehicle's overall proportions at the front for a greater sense of width
Details within the vehicle's face reflect the Ford Escort's Chinese market focus and the attention designers paid to even the smallest detail. Elongated jeweled headlamps feature a floating turn signal and LED signature lighting, and chrome graphics within the headlamps are carefully designed to resemble the lucky number eight. In another unique and distinctive touch, chrome highlights around the fog lamp bezels call to mind the letter E on the Escort's rear-mounted nameplate.
Throughout the design process, designers focused on creating a harmonious yet distinctive vehicle based on the traditional three-box sedan style required by Chinese consumers.
Working from Ford's global C-car platform, the design team pulled the A-pillar rearward as far as possible to maximize the dash-to-axle ratio, creating premium, athletic proportions. The sides of the Ford Escort further highlight the vehicle's sleek and balanced look. On high-series models, chrome trim emphasizes the clean beltline and adds a premium feel.
"The design of the Ford Escort features crisp edges with very precise radiuses, very tightly executed," said Collinson. "You see precision edges like these on a high-end watch. It's a simple design, but one with exceptional surface quality."
Contributing to a sense of harmony, an upward kick at the rear of the beltline suggests the shape of the rear window edge where it meets the trunk lid. Harmony is also apparent in the tail lamps, which feature LED signature lighting, and are shaped to echo the headlamps. An elegant line crosses the rear of the Ford Escort, embracing the tail lamps and creating a sculpted shoulder and a wider appearance.
"Details like these bring a complete, harmonious feel to the vehicle because things are not fighting against each other - they're consciously lining up," said Collinson.
Space to stretch out
The elegant harmony of the Ford Escort's exterior extends to a roomy and sophisticated interior. By prioritizing vehicle length on a compact platform, designers were able to both emphasize a long, flowing exterior profile and create a more comfortable interior with increased second-row legroom.
Much as with the exterior, extensive consultation with Chinese consumers informed the design of the Ford Escort's interior. The result is an inviting, roomy and refined cabin with exceptional attention to detail. Premium materials like perforated leather surpass customer expectations for a compact car.
To emphasize the cabin's width, designers pushed the outer air vents as far outwards as possible to create a beautiful aesthetic and help to give the instrument panel an immersive, wraparound feeling. On the Trend series, the instrument panel features a stitch line running the width of the interior, a design element more typically seen in luxury vehicles.
Drivers and passengers alike will appreciate the lengths to which designers went to ensure comfort in both front and rear. In the front, seats with pronounced, padded bolsters are inviting and supportive yet comfortable over long journeys. In the rear, passengers will find comfortable seats with integrated headrests, and excellent knee- and legroom thanks to the vehicle's long wheelbase and smart front-seat design.
For long trips, or when stuck in traffic, rear seat passengers can use a 12-volt power outlet to charge devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones. A 5-volt USB charger located in the instrument panel also lets drivers and front-seat passengers charge their mobile devices.
On the road, the Ford Escort has been designed to provide a quiet and refined ride, even with the windows open. To minimize the throbbing sound that occurs when driving at speed with one window down, designers and engineers worked to optimize the design of the vehicle's side mirrors and their interaction with the body sides. They tested and optimized the Ford Escort's body structure using advanced computer-aided engineering software to minimize throb and create a quieter cabin.
"The Ford Escort is a testament to the importance and relevance of smart, elegant design in the compact segment," said Collinson. "In every element - shape, materials, detail and finish - the design illustrates Ford's uncompromising approach to going further for our customers, to meeting and exceeding their needs."