Ford is bringing a touch of sportiness to the family SUV segment, confirming the arrival of an ST-Line variant as part of an update for its Escape soft roader.
Sports SUVs have traditionally been the domain of prestige brands, but the blue oval wants to offer a little bit of go-fast goodness to families on a budget while also improving safety across the entire range with every Escape variant to be fitted with automated emergency braking.
The ST-Line model is identified by a host of striking visual changes to the exterior, including black 18-inch alloys that are matched by similarly-sinister looking highlights on the car's grille, fog light surrounds, roof rails and rear bumper valance.
Inside the cabin, the ST-Line features a leather-trimmed cockpit with red stitching contrasts throughout while the chassis settings have been altered with suspension that sits 10mm lower than regular Escape variants, steering that has been re-tuned and anti-roll bars that are thicker than normal to improve handling.
The ST-Line will be exclusively offered with a 2.0-litre turbo charged petrol four-cylinder engine that uses 8.6L/100km to produce outputs of 178kW and 345Nm, driving an all-wheel drive transmission via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
It will slot into the range below the flagship Titanium models and cost from $39,990 (plus on-roads). Apart from the sporty bits, the ST-Line will be equipped with automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard, while an $800 Technology Pack builds on the safety credentials with adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and lane keeping assistance.
The fitment of AEB across the range has seen prices creep up by at least $500, with the entry-level, front-drive Ambiente variant now costing $28,990 (plus on-roads) while the flagship diesel-powered Titanium now commands $48,340 (plus on-roads).
The updated Ford Escape range is due to arrive in Australian showrooms from September.
2018 Ford Escape Prices
Ambiente FWD 1.5L (man) $28,990
Ambiente FWD 1.5L (auto) $30,490
Ambiente AWD 1.5L (auto) $33,490
Trend 1.5L FWD (auto) $33,490
Trend 1.5L AWD (auto) $36,490
Trend 2.0L diesel AWD (auto) $38,990
ST-Line 2.0L petrol AWD (auto) $39,990
Titanium 2.0L petrol AWD (auto) $45,480
Titanium 2.0L diesel AWD (auto) $48,340
* all prices exclusive on-road costs