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Ford Escape PHEV: Price the killer

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What is it?

Ford’s new Escape is the first Ford of any kind to be sold in Australia with any form of electrification.

Ford is working hard at reducing future vehicle emissions in many ways.

Among these will be the addition of electric power to all models, in the form of standard and plug-in petrol/electric hybrids — as well as pure electric EVs.

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What’s it cost?

Escape has a sensible shape that looks attractive without sacrificing interior and luggage space by giving it a coupe shape at the rear.

This makes it relatively unusual in this class.

The front is big and bold with a large grille and headlights that run almost halfway to the windscreen.

The lower edge of the window line sloops up to meet the down sloop of the upper edge.

The front-wheel drive Escape PHEV comes only in the ST-Line spec level, priced at $53,440 plus on-road costs.

In comparison, the petrol-only ST-Line sells for $38,490.

Wireless charging is standard in all Escapes, so compatible devices are ready to go at all times.

The advanced 10-speaker, 575-watt set-up has been specifically developed and fine-tuned for the Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid and Escape Vignale by specialist B&O sound engineers.

A powerful set up lets you hear music as it’s meant to be heard. We certainly enjoyed this during our 447km week in the Plug-In Hybrid.

However, there’s the common problem of loss of radio signal when the landscape and buildings get between you and a direct signal.

Every model features Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Always scanning ahead, it alerts the driver of potential collisions and applies the brakes if an unexpected danger appears in front of the car.

The SYNC3 system works if you’re in a crash that activates the airbags or shuts the fuel pump off.

Emergency Assistance uses your paired smartphone to dial emergency services and provide them with your GPS location.

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What’s it go like?

Escape PHEV is powered by a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated 167kW petrol engine driving through what Ford calls an eCVT automatic.

There’s also a lithium-ion battery and electric motor.

These combine to drive the front wheels.

When driven solely in EV mode you can expect a range of about 50 to 55km.

Escape PHEV can be driven in pure electric mode (EV Now) or as a conventional petrol/electric hybrid (EV Auto).

The Ford Escape comes with five selectable drive modes to suit varying conditions – normal, eco, sport, slippery deep snow/sand and trail.

The head-up display projects key information into the driver’s field of vision, so they can keep their eyes on the road with a minimum of head movement.

The system in the Escape is far better than that in many other marques because you don’t need to turn your head if you’re wearing polarised sunglasses.

The 12.3-inch digital cluster reduces distraction by displaying only the information you need.

You can change between unique colour themes according to which drive mode you have selected.

The new platform, tagged as C2, means the latest Ford Focus is up to 90kg lighter than the previous model.

The platform provides increased rigidity as well as noise, vibration, harshness improvements.

The seats on our test Escape ST-Line were in a soft looking black colour with red stitching that gives a real upmarket feeling.

Versatility is good as the second row of seats can be moved forwards or backwards to juggle between legroom and boot space.

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What we like?

  • Practical design
  • Responsive to throttle
  • Wireless charging standard
  • Cabin has real upmarket feel
  • 10-speaker, 575-watt B&O audio
  • Emergency assistance transmits location in an accident
  • Head-up display visible through polarised sunglasses

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What we don’t like?

  • Too expensive
  • Radio signal dropouts

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The bottom line?

Ford Escape PHEV is an impressive piece of modern automotive technology.

It’s enjoyable to drive, even more so with the instant response from the accelerator.

The price is a killer and the sooner our various Australian governments do something to assist buyers the better.

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CHECKOUT: Ford throws open its vault

CHECKOUT: Big brother puts the brakes on Ford

Ford Escape ST-Line PHEV, priced from $53,440
  • Looks - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Safety - 8/10
    8/10
  • Thirst - 9/10
    9/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Tech - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 6/10
    6/10
Overall
8.1/10
8.1/10