Safe in the city: Why the Ford Escape is the perfect driving companion

by Noted / 06 November, 2018
The Ford Escape in the Race Red colourway.

The Ford Escape in the Race Red colourway.

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Driving in the city can often be a nerve-wracking experience, even for the most seasoned of drivers.

Let's face it, sharing the road with other people can be a heart-thumping, blood-pumping ordeal - particularly in rush-hour. The risks some drivers take in the race to the office, home or...wherever, can leave you gobsmacked. Of course, everyone thinks they're perfect behind the wheel - and all those around them are idiots.

In such times, it pays to ensure that the wheel you're behind is attached to a vehicle with the best safety features in mind.

Motoring writer Dave McLeod was asked for his thoughts on the features of the Ford Escape ST-Line. Here's what he found.

Hardworking and adaptable

Resting easy between the Ford Ecosport and the Ford Endura sits the new Ford Escape ST-Line EcoBoost AWD; the not-so-compact SUV. A charismatic 5-seat vehicle, the sporty Escape ST-Line is as comfortable navigating city streets as it is hitting the road for weekend getaways. 

A hard-working, good-looking SUV that adapts well to a multitude of everyday driving situations, the Escape ST-Line is the perfect partner for Kiwi lifestyles. The Escape ST-Line offers nine colour options – there’s something to suit even the fussiest SUV enthusiast.

I test drove the Escape ST-Line in a bright and shiny Race Red colourway. Alongside its standout hue, the Escape ST-Line also delivers bold exterior and interior sporty design cues. With a black-gloss upper trapezoidal grille, other contrasting exterior highlights include lower nose accents, fog light surrounds, fender trim and roof rails, all underpinned with unique, 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Escape ST-Line offers the sportiest Escape driving dynamics yet, with chassis enhancements including thicker anti-roll bars and a 10mm lower ride height for reduced body roll and sharper responses, giving you the road confidence you need.

Although it sits in the compact SUV category, at 4.5m long, around 2m wide and 1.7m tall, the Escape ST-Line is no shrinking violet. Even better, its outer size specs translate well on the inside, too.

From the back, the Escape ST-Line allows access to 1,603 litres of cargo space – ideal for loading up the car when you’re heading out of town, with the added versatility of 60:40 rear seat splitting. The cabin itself has a classy feel and an open flow, with the gloss and matte black dashboard offering plentiful air vents. Touchably soft materials make the Escape ST-Line driver- and passenger-friendly, while the slightly recessed 8-inch touchscreen is home to Ford’s SYNC® 3 infotainment system. SYNC® 3 is easy to connect to, understands conversational voice commands and features a user-friendly satnav system that lets you simply pinch and move the map to touch-plot your desired destination.

The Escape ST-Line’s red-stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel holds command switches that are both easy to recognise and well within thumb-reach. Stunning Salerno leather accents and a metre of head and leg space keep the good times rolling in this nifty vehicle.

Under the Escape ST-Line’s bonnet sits a torquey 2L EcoBoost twin-scroll turbocharged GTDi (Gasoline Turbo Direct injection) engine, with access to 345Nm from as low as 2,000rpm. And with 178kW of power to play with, you’re rewarded with a confident surge of grunt when pushing down on the aluminium accelerator pedal.

The Escape ST-Line also boasts a respectable 8.6L/100k reported fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 197g/km. The 6-speed auto box with SelectShift changes seamlessly at both ends of the scale, and there are paddles if you want a change of pace or find yourself in a sticky situation.

My time spent driving the Escape ST-Line involved travelling in and out of the city and surrounding areas, while setting the SUV various tasks along the way.

The Escape ST-Line features Active City Safe collision avoidance; an intelligent braking system that stops a distracted driver from rear-ending other motorists. And for hectic motorways, the Escape ST-Line’s Cruise Control and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) ease everyday driving pressures.

Around town, the Escape ST-Line’s Auto Stop feature cleverly shuts down the engine when you’re waiting at traffic signals, while the quality 9-speaker stereo system keeps your fingers tapping to the beat while you wait.

Active Park Assist is another invaluable driving assistant. It not only locates and parks the Escape ST-Line in both parallel and perpendicular spaces (you just have to operate the gear and brakes), it has the ability to manoeuvre you out of your parking space too.

The Escape ST-Line’s Adjustable Speed Limiting Device (ASLD) and Automatic Headlight features came in handy for a steady flow of traffic in Auckland’s Waterview Tunnel, where controlled driving is undeniably handy.

If rural terrain is on the cards, the Escape ST-Line’s torque vectoring system provides confident handling when navigating winding country roads. And if unsealed roads are around the corner, the intelligent AWD system adjusts the wheel torque every 16 milliseconds, transforming gravel into just another road surface.

The 5-seater SUV Escape ST-Line is an ideal all-round small family vehicle. Nimble enough for the city, yet with all the specs and comfort of a bigger vehicle out on the open road, versatility is a winner. Its suite of safety and driving assists, plus ample space for weekends away or a packed weekly schedule, make the Escape ST-Line the perfect companion for active Kiwis.

Now released in New Zealand, the Ford Escape ST-Line is available to test drive today.

To find out more, visit ford.co.nz

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