In 2000 the automotive world experienced a sudden shift. Drivers, growing weary of their massive SUVs but not yet ready to embrace the compact market, demanded something new - a transition between the too large and the too small. A compromise was needed.
Ford created one, connecting the world to the first Escape. This mid-size option (known as a Crossover Utility Vehicle) bridged the gap between SUVs and sedans, offering consumers the power they craved and the economy they had long since forgotten. Its success was not surprising. Its origins, however, were.
The Escape - unlike most Ford vehicles - was created during a joint venture. The company partnered with Mazda in late 1999, drawing inspiration from its GF platform to create a front-wheel powertrain. They then combined this with a uni-bodied chassis and an independent suspension, piecing together a style typically seen in wagons. The CUV had arrived.
Sales were high. In its debut the Escape generated approximately 40,000 North American units. That numbered skyrocketed to over 160,000 during the following year, launching the car to the top of the charts and the public consciousness. It was - and remains - a powerhouse.
Ford changed the automotive scene in 2000, offering consumers a unique blend of strength and adaptability. Throughout the years it’s also integrated several notable features into its Escape:
The Control Trac: this differential system carefully distributes torque between all four wheels, detecting changes in the environment to determine whether FWD or RWD is needed.
Pull-Drift Steering: this system intuitively measures the driver’s steerage input. It then compares this to the conditions of the road, adjusting the EPAS as needed to compensate for discrepancies.
The Flexible Plug-In: a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery powers the plug-in system, allowing drivers to effortlessly switch between traditional gasoline and hybrid technologies.
These features define the Escape as both innovative and driver-friendly.
Since arriving in 2000, the Ford Escape has become a popular fixture of awards ceremonies. It’s earned:
Consumer Guide’s Recommended Buy: 2001 Edmund’s Most Wanted: 2002 Auto World Magazine’s Best New Truck: 2006 Intellichoice’s Best Overall Value: 2009 Popular Mechanic’s Car of the Year: 2013
Best Compact SUV for Families: 2015
A need for change shaped the Escape, with Ford bringing consumers a new way to experience the road. That experience will continue for many years to come.
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