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First look: Ford Equator a little on the wild side

Taste of things to come: The chunky Equator may point to future Fords.

Hot young designers at Ford's Taipei styling studio have reinterpreted the Escape

21 Oct 2005

IT may well be Ford’s Tokyo show star, but it has an Australian connection.

The Ford Equator Concept originated with Paul Gibson, chief designer for Ford’s Asia-Pacific and Africa region, the man responsible for the Focus Concept that was shown at Auto China in Beijing last year.

Gibson had a distinguished career at Ford Australia, being responsible for several Falcon projects, including some race-cars.

With the Equator, Gibson worked with William Lee and his team at the Ford Design and Research Centre in Taipei.

The project started 10 months ago and grew from a collection of simple design sketches based on current model 2005 Ford Escape.

However, the new Ford offers a glimpse of what the next-generation Escape could look like.

The show car celebrates the more sporty side of smaller SUVs and, in Mr Gibson’s words, "is certainly a lot more track than it is truck".

Visually the donor car’s exterior is bolder with a new grille, enlarged air intake and slimline headlights.

Inside there’s new sports seats, upgraded dashboard, three-spoke sports steering wheel and cobalt blue interior colour scheme.

27 center image The Equator is 1798mm high, 4424mm long and 1780mm wide. The 2620mm wheelbase isunchanged from current Escape.

The engine is a development of the Escape’s existing 3.0-litre Duratec V6 tuned for 145kW at 6000 rpm and 359Nm at 4700 rpm.

The V6 drives through a six-speed computer-controlled automatic with a button-activated electronic gear-selection system.

An aggressive wheel-and-tyres are 255/50R-19 Michelins on 10-spoke wheels with a "Chrome Shadow" finish.

The Equator uses an intelligent 4WD System has a fully computer-controlled clutch that engages the rear wheels as needed.

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