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Ford’s Aussie-designed Escort gets a lift

Refreshed: The Ford Escort has been given a styling update that includes a new-look front end.

Mid-life facelift for Ford’s Chinese-market, Aussie-flavoured Escort sedan

18 Apr 2018

FORD has uncovered the facelifted version of its Australian-developed Chinese-market Escort sedan that ushers in light styling tweaks, upgraded engines and more safety technology.

As previously reported, the Escort is a joint project between Ford’s Research and Engineering Centre in Nanjing and its Melbourne-based Asia-Pacific design and engineering team, so it stands to reason that the facelift was the work of the Australian team.

The Escort is one of Ford’s best-selling cars in China, achieving more than 800,000 sales since its debut in 2014.

The Focus-based Escort is built by Ford’s Chinese joint venture, Changan Ford Automobile, at its Chongqing plant in western China, and competes against the likes of the Volkswagen Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze, among others.

Ford has tweaked the exterior design of the Escort by rounding off the front end and smoothing the shape of the grille.

The headlights have also been softened and now feature a High Intensity Discharge lamp design that Ford says ensures improved lighting performance. It also gains new C-shaped daytime running lights, while the lower air intake now runs the width of the lower bumper.

At the back, LED tail-lights lead into the bootlid that now features a multi-piece rear fascia. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are optional.

Inside, the Escort gains a new instrument cluster, as well as high-gloss finishes and satin aluminium accents. It is also now offered with a two-tone grey and black colour scheme.

Two new engines include Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, with Ford claiming that the latter is lighter and stronger and makes for a 16 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared with the unit.

Both powertrains are offered with a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission or a new six-speed manual gearbox.

Additional comfort features include power memory seats and power folding memory mirrors for greater convenience, on top of the already offered connectivity system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, auto headlamp, auto dimming rearview mirror, automatic rain sensing wipers and keyless entry with push-button start.

“With the Escort, we are offering great value to our customers in the mid-size car segment in China,” Changan Ford Automobile Company president Nigel Harris said. “The new Escort delivers smart looks and premium features that are bound to excite and delight today’s trendy Chinese families.”

Ford also sells the existing Focus in China. It will also offer the freshly launched new-generation version. Chinese-built Focuses will also be exported to the United States.

To the end of February this year, sales of the Escort in China have slipped by 17.5 per cent compared with the first two months of last year, but it is ahead of one of its competitors, the Buick Verano, by about 1500 units.

It sits in 22nd place overall in China, while the Jetta is in seventh place.

The Cruze was not in the top 50 best-selling models for the first two months of 2018.

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