A closer look at the crossover’s new design
Andrew Bazinski wasn’t afraid to completely change the script on the 2020 Ford Escape. With Bazinski leading the exterior design of the new model, Ford created a product that is almost unrecognizable from its predecessor, embracing a low-slung, carlike appearance. Read on to learn what inspired the new look, and other revelations from the designer.
The design takes after the Focus…
The Escape’s connection to the new European Ford Focus is immediately apparent. The grille, headlights, and low hood borrow from the small car that has been discontinued for the North American market as Ford shifts from cars to crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.
Bazinski said the resemblance was intentional. “We want to create a pure, clean DNA with softer features and create a more streamlined, sporty look compared to the previous version where it had really harder edges.” The hexagonal shape of the grille is one of the few vestiges from the previous-generation Escape.
…And the GT supercar.
If you squint, and maybe take a few shots of hard liquor, you might see a bit of the Ford GT in the design. Like the supercar, the Escape has headlights that are placed on top of the hood rather than on the front fascia, Bazinski points out. And this may be a stretch, but both vehicles feature low-mounted grilles.
Café racers were another unlikely muse
Of all things, Bazinski looked to his old BMW motorcycles for inspiration designing the new Escape.
“They’re really beautiful machinery and the problem is they are over bodied,” he said. “The whole idea when I’m working and building these motorcycles is to strip them down to their pure essence and really create a simple, clean look to it.” So that’s exactly what Ford did with the new Escape.
“Previous generations have a lot of design features that broke up the body sides, like really hard edges, and I used that kind of inspiration to create really extreme lines, a really pure vehicle that stood out from previous generations and follows the new Ford DNA.”
It was born for the city
Ford is targeting a younger, city-going customer with the design. Sleeker and more urban-oriented, the new Escape will serve as the counterpart to an off-road crossover of the same size that Ford will introduce by 2020.
Ford tweaked the design for different global markets
You’ll notice the Escape bound for the North America looks considerably different than other versions around the world. Based on feedback gathered from research, Ford gave markets in Asia-Pacific a larger grille. “Their aesthetic was that they like this kind of larger presence,” he said.
When it debuted in China, the new Escape featured headlights that are closer to the more rounded grille. The European version, called the Kuga, gets a large pointy grille and headlamp updates.
It’s longer, lower, wider, and more aerodynamic
The new Escape is 2.4 inches longer than its predecessor. It’s also 3.8 inches wider, or 1.7 inches when excluding the side mirrors. The crossover is just a hair lower than before, and its wheelbase has grown 0.8 inch.
While slightly bigger, Ford says the Escape is also more aerodynamic. “You can see that it actually is more tucked in and the body is a little softer and the greenhouse is pulled in. So it creates a bit of a tapered look, and that helps the aerodynamics.”
The Escape’s softer look is coming to more vehicles
Bazinski says there are some new vehicles coming that share a similar kind of surface, with softer features and a streamlined appearance. “It’s definitely a departure from what we were doing before,” Bazinski said of the new Escape. “We are trying to create something that we think people like and that will represent our new direction.”