LA Auto Show highlights - Ford Escape
The Escape/Kuga is based on underpinnings from the Ford Focus, and the relationship extends to common engines – including 1.6- and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines. There will also be 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesels in the Kuga; unsurprisingly for petrol-loving US customers, the Escape is unlikely to get these engines.
The cabin will feel familiar to Focus owners; the dashboard and much of the switchgear are clearly related to the family hatchback. In particular, the bold central console takes the mobile phone-inspired layout (first seen on the Ford Fiesta) to new extremes.
Neat tricks include an electrically operated rear hatch that can be operated 'hands-free' by waving your foot under the rear bumper. The car detects the key in your pocket and opens the hatch; it should be a boon for those laden with shopping.
There are question marks over the styling, though; the car was apparently designed in Europe, but it's very much a US-influenced look. It remains to be seen if there's enough European appeal to live up to the Kuga badging.
See reviews from Ford's current line-up