It’s a key model for Ford particularly in a country that seems to have fallen in love with the crossover. And why not? A vehicle that marries the comfortable and driving manners of a car with the looks, versatility, ground clearance and size of a sport utility vehicle is ideal for these challenging streets.
After two years since Ford Philippines closed its factory, the Ford Escape has made its return to local showrooms but no longer as a locally-produced model. In fact, the Escape you see here is no longer produced in Asia at all, as Ford opted to get the Escape from the United States, shipping the popular crossover across the ocean to get here.
Strictly speaking, this Escape isn’t actually an entirely new model for 2015 as this generation has been in other markets since 2012. The design may be three years old, but the Escape surely doesn’t look it; actually if anything, the Escape actually looks newer than many of its contemporaries. The front is clean and rather mean with those headlamps, the cuts on the hood, the large air intakes on the bumper and other details. The Escape has a good stance with the front end poised toward the road along with those handsome wheels. The rear is likewise clean and crisp, rounding out the design of this top-spec Escape Titanium.
The interior is definitely more modern functional rather than modern luxury, and that’s perfectly fine. There are no wood panels or bits here, faux or real; instead what you get is a clean mix of black and gray, piano black accents and polished metal trim. The cabin itself is primarily done in cream/off-white from the leather upholstery, door panels and ceiling; the latter opening up with a touch of a button to reveal a panoramic glass roof.
When settling in the driver’s seat and fiddling with the features, it becomes clear Ford really threw in everything in this Escape and then some. There are buttons all around to control everything from the windows, the drive computer (fuel, odometer, range, etc.), the automatic climate system, cruise control, audio and much more. Even the main LCD is a touch screen and controls most of the vehicle’s primary function. Perhaps there are enough buttons to get a bit of overload, but thankfully there’s the latest version of Ford Sync so the driver can activate certain functions by voice, like playing a certain track on a connected iPod or dialing the wife. That last one will certainly come in handy.
Powering the 2015 Ford Escape Titanium is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-4, or the same engine found in the Explorer EcoBoost. What that means is this crossover, thanks to direct injection, variable valve timing and turbocharging, gets a total of 240 PS at 5,500 revolutions per minute and 366 Nm at 3,000 rpm, making the Escape Titanium one of the most powerful crossovers in the market.
In the city, the Escape Titanium drives very nicely. Visibility is good, maneuverability is good and the size doesn’t feel cumbersome to drive in tight streets. The ride is good and the six-speed automatic is great too, shifting smoothly and efficiently. It can be overridden using the SelectShift buttons on the shifter. The urban driving scenario does bring up some points for improvement. Noise suppression is decent but could be better and the seats could use a bit more plushness.
Hit the open road and the Escape Titanium delivers. Off the line, the Escape can really squat under full acceleration. The 240 PS and 366 Nm are figures not to be taken lightly. By my own timer, the Escape dusted off 100 kilometers per hour in 7.7 seconds from a standstill. It’s got speed and quickness, but of course it’s best to keep it within reasonable (and legal) limits. For fuel economy Escape yielded 7.6 kilometers to the liter in moderate traffic (24 kph average). On the highway it’s better at 12.1 kpl at an average of 95 kph. It’s best to keep in mind that this is a turbo, so the best economy can be achieved if it’s driven sensibly at around 2,000 rpm to about 3,000 rpm.
The Escape is something we would call a soft-roader; a crossover that has 4WD but not the same type found in dedicated off-road machines. Nevertheless, with 200 millimeters of ground clearance and a 4WD system that is matched with plenty of electronics like stability control and traction control, the Escape can take on most urban driving and mild off-road situations with ease.
The 2015 Ford Escape rejoined the Blue Oval in the Philippines during a time of record sales for the company, and almost completes the sport utility vehicle line up of Ford, all of which are selling strongly. Position-wise, the Escape slots into that highly competitive gap between the EcoSport and Explorer and at P1.790 million, the Titanium competes against the top-spec variants of the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5 and more.
By our estimation, the 2015 Ford Escape is back and in a big, big way.