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New Ford Kuga heralds upcoming Escape

European crossover was the basis for Escape redesign in 2012

Published: February 20, 2016, 7:30 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 12:55 PM

Ford Kuga

The 2017 Ford Escape took another step to market with the unveiling of the European unveil of the Kuga, with which Escape shares just about everything.

Ford Kuga

The 2017 Escape is not an entirely new model, but rather a refresh that also brings some new features to market, primarily including the new QNX-based Sync 3 (previous versions of Sync were powered by Microsoft). Other new features include hands-off parking for side-by-side spots, and updates to the Active City Stop forward collision avoidance system and the adaptive front lighting system.

The most obvious change is in the front end, where the compact crossover adapts the large hexagonal grille made famous by Fusion and Edge, and new headlights with LED daytime running lights. At the other end, new wide taillights complete the full body design updates that also takes into account a restyled interior.

Although it includes comfort and convenience upgrades, and some ergonomics enhancements, the main focus is on the new Sync that updates not just software but also the hardware. The new system (which replaces the MyTouch system) allows control over audio, climate and navigation systems, and makes it easier to pair up and use Smartphones.

Ford Kuga interior

Performance is faster, commands are simpler, and it is more intuitive than previous systems, with users simply being able to asking or stating what they would like to do and the system delivering. For example, using the new parking assisted technology can be performed as easily as saying “I need to park.”

And at the centre of the instrument panel is a touchscreen that will be familiar to the holder of the smartphone with which Sync is paired, with functions such as swipe and pinch part of the onscreen navigation. And it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

And part of the connectivity is Sync AppLink, a smartphone app that allows remote control over several vehicle functions such are remotely starting the vehicle on a cold morning.

The new parking assist system not only continues to aid parallel parking, but now also supports perpendicular parking to allow drivers to get into the tighter spots that they might have bypassed in previous trips. The system allows aids getting out of parking spots in the same manner as getting into them, with the system doing the steering and the driver controlling gears, accelerator and brake.

The refreshed Escape is available in spring 2016 as a 2017 model.