Tell, Touch or Kick: All-New Ford Escape Is the Smart Utility Vehicle That Responds to Customers’ Every Command
- New Escape’s segment-first hands-free liftgate allows customers to load or unload gear without fumbling for a key – just a gentle kicking motion opens and closes it
- Next generation of SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology improves overall legibility and screen consistency, making everything even easier to navigate
- Advanced Ford-developed software for Escape’s Intelligent 4WD System pre-emptively reassesses conditions about 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye, readjusting power split to give driver precise blend of handling and traction at all times
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2011 – The all-new Escape might be the most helpful vehicle ever produced by Ford. Using the most hands-free technology ever offered in a Ford, the new Escape helps customers load or unload gear through the rear hatch without fumbling for a key, stay connected, parallel park and avoid a collision in a parking lot.
Plus, on the road, the all-new Ford-engineered Intelligent 4WD System helps deliver outstanding handling and excellent traction off-road when drivers want to leave the pavement.
Additionally, exclusive technologies that no competitor can match to automatically slow the vehicle when cornering too fast (Curve Control) or help accelerate through a turn (Torque Vectoring Control) are joined together for the first time in an SUV in the new Ford Escape.
“Customers want technology that makes their lives easier,” said Jason Sprawka, Escape marketing manager. “The new Escape has a wealth of available intuitive technology as well as aids that are completely seamless.”
Getting a kick out of new smart technology
Leading the clever, segment-first customer-focused features for the all-new Escape is the available hands-free power liftgate. A slight kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper activates the system, then unlocks and raises the liftgate.
This allows quick, easy and convenient access to the cargo area without setting down packages or digging out keys to open the rear hatch. The same process closes the hatch as well.
The hands-free liftgate builds off Ford’s Intelligent Access with push-button start, which allows customers to unlock and start their vehicles without ever having to take out the key. When the key fob is in their possession – kept in a pocket, coat, purse or briefcase – a simple pull on the door handle unlocks the vehicle. Once inside, the driver simply holds down the brake pedal and presses the power button to start the vehicle.
For the hands-free power liftgate, two sensors integrated into the Intelligent Access system are located in the rear bumper. One detects the driver’s shin, and the other detects the kicking motion to enable the hands-free power liftgate.
The combination of the system detecting the key fob and the shin and leg motion is necessary to unlock and open the liftgate, safeguarding against any accidental opening.
“Animals running under the car, hitting bumps in the road or having leaves swirl below the vehicle on the road won’t trip the liftgate,” said Michael Becker, systems engineer. “We’ve designed the system so the liftgate opens when you want it to.”
Additionally, the liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet specific customer needs. The liftgate opens from about 4 feet to a maximum of about 7 feet above the ground.
New version of SYNC with MyFord Touch
The latest version of SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology for new Escape makes it easier to manage information, control features and adjust settings.
“We’ve listened to our customers and have improved what they love about MyFord Touch,” said Kenneth Williams, systems integration engineer. “In this upgrade, the screens have a cleaner, clearer display. The words on the screens are larger and easier to read, the pressable areas on the screen look more like buttons, and we have made the functions clearer for faster navigation.
“What separates MyFord Touch is that there are multiple ways for customers to manage and control what they want through voice commands, menus accessed through the steering wheel controls, touch screen, buttons or knobs, whatever they prefer.”
Now, the key corner screens – Phone, Navigation, Entertainment and Climate – are labeled as such in addition to their color codes. Icons have a new look that better specifies the functionality or feature.
MyFord Touch includes a standard 4-inch screen in the instrument cluster on all Escape series models. An 8-inch screen in the center stack is standard on SEL and Titanium models. All-new Escape also features the latest version of SYNC, which includes:
- Hands-free, voice-activated calling via a Bluetooth®-connected mobile phone
- Hands-free, voice-activated control of a USB-connected digital music player
- 911 Assist™, the automated emergency calling service that is free for the life of the vehicle
- Vehicle Health Report, the on-demand diagnostic and maintenance information service
Standard with MyFord Touch is a SYNC Services subscription, which expands voice-controlled features to include a cloud-based network of services. These include turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports and business search information with available live operator assistance, if needed.
MyFord Touch is available with navigation systems and with Sony-branded audio with 10 speakers and a Sony-designed electronic finish panel.
New parking technology package
Available for the first time for Escape is a parking technology package that can help take the anxiety out of parallel parking and help avoid accidents. Included in the package are:
- Active park assist
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Front park assist
- Rear park assist
- Rear view camera
Ford’s active park assist system helps make parallel parking stress-free. With the simple press of a button and enabled by the EPAS (electric power-assisted steering) system, active park assist will detect an available parallel parking space using 10 sensors and automatically steer the vehicle into the space, without the driver having to touch the steering wheel. The driver controls the accelerator, gearshift and brakes.
The sensor-based technology of active park assist parks on grades, in tighter spaces, closer to the curb, and is faster and more accurate than competitors’ camera-based systems. The new Escape can parallel park into a space of less than 18 feet long – the vehicle’s length (a little less than 15 feet) plus 3 feet.
BLIS with cross-traffic alert helps drivers change lanes or back out of a parking space with more confidence. BLIS alerts when a vehicle is detected entering a blind spot, and cross-traffic alert warns of traffic detected approaching from the sides, such as backing out of a parking space.
On-road driving experience dramatically improved
Advanced Ford-developed software behind the new Escape’s Intelligent 4WD System pre-emptively reassesses conditions about 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye, readjusting the power split to give the driver the precise blend of handling and traction at all times.
Using advanced software and sensors, the system gathers data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, to deliver outstanding driving performance in both wet and dry conditions as well as excellent off-road traction.
Greater confidence when entering and driving through turns is enabled by the technologies Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control, which are available together for the first time in an SUV in the all-new Ford Escape.
The system always pre-emptively splits the torque produced by the powertrain between the front and rear axles. Splitting the torque offers several benefits to the driver. First, it transfers the power, which means that when a driver corners hard, the vehicle will better follow the intended steering path. For example, if the vehicle is understeering – the tendency to go straight when cornering – the system will automatically split more torque to the rear wheels to help counteract that effect and provide more neutral steering.
Second, and new to this all-new SUV, are feedback sensors and software that calculate, based on the driver’s steering angle, where the driver wants to go versus where the vehicle is heading, and make the appropriate split.
A sort of mini-supercomputer uses all the inputs from an array of sensors and data – such as lateral acceleration, driver demand and steering angle – and processes that information to get the vehicle to turn in the direction the driver wants it to go. The Ford system builds on the pre-emptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.
If, for example, the front of the vehicle is on ice and the rear is on pavement, the all-wheel-drive system can send all the torque the powertrain can produce to the rear, putting power where the driver needs it.
All of these adjustments, corrections and calculations are made every 16 milliseconds, which is about 20 times faster than the blink of an eye.
Both the brains (the control software) and the brawn (the rear axle) were developed in-house by Ford.
Upgraded braking system, new technologies add another level of confidence
Working in harmony with Ford’s new Intelligent 4WD System is an enhanced version of Torque Vectoring Control, deployed for the first time with an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Introduced on the new global Ford Focus but completely retuned and recalibrated for the new Escape, Torque Vectoring Control adds another level of confidence for the driver. In a situation when wheel slip is detected – losing grip on the inside wheel, for example – Torque Vectoring Control transfers torque across the axle to the outside wheel.
Torque Vectoring Control is engaged when the driver is on the accelerator, and uses sensors and software to calculate the vehicle’s yaw motion, or its tendency to move left or right.
More typically found on high-performance cars, Torque Vectoring Control uses the vehicle’s brakes to imitate the effect of a limited-slip differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque between the front wheels during cornering, resulting in improved grip and steering and a reduced chance of understeer.
The system operates using the vehicle’s stability control module and monitors the situation 100 times per second. As the vehicle accelerates through a corner, the system detects when the inside front wheel is starting to slip and applies an imperceptible amount of braking to the wheel. This prevents wheel spin and has the effect of transferring engine torque to the outside wheel, which has more grip, thus maintaining traction and steering control.
Unlike a traction control system that reduces engine power, Torque Vectoring Control’s intervention is extremely subtle and may not even be noticeable to the driver.
Other helpful technologies added to the new Ford Escape include active park assist, hill start assist and emergency brake assist, complementing such core and familiar Escape technologies as Roll Stability Control™ and trailer sway control.
Brakes offer better control when cornering
The new braking system also helps keep the driver in control when cornering. Similar to the Curve Control feature introduced on the new Explorer, the new braking system in the Escape can apply automatic four-wheel braking to help the driver when cornering too quickly on a curve, and is always active.
The system will aid in cutting speed by reducing the engine torque and four-wheel braking, helping avoid crashes. Freeway off-ramps and on-ramps are common situations where vehicles may be going too fast for the curve. The system is fully automatic and capable of slowing the vehicle more quickly than most drivers can react – speeds can be reduced about 10 mph in about one second, allowing the vehicle to maintain its path.