Remember the legendary T-Ford 100 years ago? Now, it's E as in Escape, Explorer and Everest. Ford Escape is considered a compact SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) in the global auto parlance. One of the best selling SUV's in the USA is the big brother, the Ford Explorer (the omnipresent black CIA staff car) which was the first of the full sized SUVs introduced in the '90s.
The Thailand E-Ford family also includes the seven-seater Ford Everest called PPV (Personal Pick-Up Vehicle) Ford Everest was rolled out in 2003.The Escape was launched one year earlier in 2003. As Ford auto family members, they are instantly recognizable: the Explorer is the big one, Escape the compact one and Everest the long one.
Styling & interior
Walk around: first you'll notice the rugged and compact look, the forward poised stance, the pronounced wheel arches, the wide body, and the short front and rear overhangs which give the Escape both a aggressive and sporty look the SUV look. The front, a no-nonsense honeycomb grille with the blue oval, the Ford century old icon. Yes, it does bear a resemblance to its other sibling, the Mazda Tribute.
Maybe the Escape looks a little bit tougher but both SUVs are mechanically identical. Ford owns Mazda, of course. So it's a case of (almost) the same car but wearing different badges, manufactured and marketed by one global US car company.
Practical and comfortable with a fat-rimmed, user friendly steering wheel. I liked the angled door-mounted window buttons and the heavy-duty grab handles, as well as the handy coin holder (for expressway toll 5 and 10 THB coins.) The gearshift lever mounted on the steering column frees up the center console. Lots of storage space for loose items like pens, phones, notepads and other everyday other everyday objects. The overall feeling of spaciousness this is what SUV's are all about. There's five seats and even more hip room up front than in the larger Explorer. Passenger safely comes with front dual airbags and side dual airbags plus three-point seat belts. And reverse parking sensor. The U-boat sonar type biip. biip, biip Good to have as parking is becoming more and more of a challenge in Bangkok. �Don't forget the parking validation my wife always tells me.
The power plant. Ford Motor Company has been making combustion engines for a century since the legendary T-Ford. The Escape houses smooth a four cylinder Ford Duratec mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox. Just tap on the gas and wrooom! Response is immediate. There is plenty of power 176 break horse power.
On the road
Driving impressions: Firm, fun and comfortable to drive, thanks to the sturdy monocoque construction and the four-wheel independent suspension, making the ride smooth over cracks, ruts and bumps in urban and suburban Bangkok megacity. Important stopping power is built-in with four-sensor ABS and EBD. You feel confident when overtaking thanks to the SUV view and particularly when the power of the smooth Duratec motor kicks in. And parking in Bangkok hotels towers and tight office car parks was easier than anticipated.
Ford Escape XLT seems to offer enough of power, comfort and space. Good looks, too. Plus four wheel drive (all-weather) traction with adequate off-road capabilities.
Ford Escape XLT
Engine: 2300 cc
Horsepower: 146 bhp
Max Torque:196/4000 Nm/rpm
Top Speed: 165 km/h
Price: 1,319 million THB