Saturday, August 01, 2009

Ford can't replace the Escape/Mariner soon enough!

I've always been a fan of FoMoCo's Escape/Mariner/Tribute mini SUVs, hell I recently tried to buy one. And while I really like it, there were some major eye openers for me. Did you know that it's the ONLY compact SUV that doesn't even offer 4 wheel disc brakes as an option? Many have them standard, but even on the top of the range Escape Limited and Mariner Premier it's not even available. Rear Drum brakes, how quaint. Sure the Escape/Mariner are nice driving little wagons and the fresh styling does look good, but the brakes aren't the only penalty when compared to crosstown or overseas rivals. Let's just compare the Ford and Chevy ok?
Chevy has an all new 2010 Equinox and I drove one this week, it's impressive, very impressive.
From the standard 4 wheel disc brakes, to the 10 horespower and 4 mpg advantage over the Ford it's almost in a different class. And the only bad thing about it, is that it's too big! The quality of the interior has taken a lot of cues from the new Malibu and the level of technology and luxury are equal to or superior to any competitor. New 6 speed auto trans, 2.4 L with 181 hp and with the AWD still gets 29 mpg on the highway. But it's big, it feels big and as my honey said, it almost feels like a minivan. Which makes it closer to the Dodge Journey.

That's why I say FoMoCo can't hurry the new Escape, based on the Kuga, to market soon enough. Cute Utes, small SUVS, what ever you want to call them are a growing segment in this shrinking market. And the Kuga has 4 wheel disc brakes and all the luxury bits already. It's unknown what powertrain it would use here in the North American market, but even with a 2.0 Duratec it couldn't do too bad, more than likely it would come with the 2.5 or an EcoBoost engine to stay competative.

As much as I like the Escape/Mariner, and I like them a lot, Ford needs to get up to speed in this segment. One of the remaining sweet spots.


Igor said...

I really do like the new Equinox, but if all you can truly sink your teeth in are rear disk breaks that is a weak argument. Rear disks are more for show than need in most cases. The Escape stops just fine!

I am not disagreeing with your point, but I was expecting more substance from the article. If the Equinox does not outclass the Escape in interior design, materials and amenities and in ride and handling than the Equinox is in trouble.

Funny how GM just took compact SUV's to compact FE area. last year Ford and Toyota were competing for the last MPG between 21/28 and 22/28 mpg .. now both Rav4 and Escape are irrelevant from FE standpoint!! What a difference a year makes!

Anonymous said...

Worse than that, it had them when it came out. You may remember the original Car & Driver test of it that said it was the best handling and stopping vehicle in it's class. Typical Ford deterioration since then... although it is selling well.
So here it is in 2010, and it's finaly ditched ye old 4-speed auto and gotten some much needed updated engines. Wind noise is still terrible, although not as bad as in the past. Last year's simple "top hat" updates to the body (identical otherwise underneath) were much needed... although we got stuck with that typically Ford godawful grill.
You're right, the move to the Kuga can't happen fast enough... but it is probably 2-3 model years off. Meanwhile the Asian buyers have many more updates on their version. Buusiness as usual there, too, just like the Ranger.