Ford has made the unusual decision to remove independent rear suspension from all front-wheel drive 2022 Escape models.
These models will instead use a torsion-beam rear axle – generally regarded as a dynamically inferior, but cheaper and more space-efficient setup – while the all-wheel drive models will continue with multi-link rear suspension.
The move impacts all front-wheel drive variants: the base FWD, mid-range ST-Line and its upcoming plug-in hybrid counterpart, and the luxury Vignale.
The move is in stark contrast to Ford Australia’s recent decision to mandate an independent rear suspension set-up across the entire Focus range.
It’s also highly unusual for a mid-sized SUV in Australia, if not quite as unusual in Europe.
The move aligns the Escape with its new Maverick ute counterpart in North America, which restricts availability of a multi-link rear suspension to all-wheel drive models.
Any change to a torsion-beam rear axle has yet to be announced for the US-market Escape or European-market Kuga, however.
For reference, our local-spec Escape is effectively a Kuga with a different badge, coming out of the same Spanish factory, though the differences between the US- and EU-market mid-sizers are negligible.
Model year 2022 Escapes will start arriving in Australia by the end of this year.
While the rear suspension change is a retrograde step, Ford has added some equipment across the range.
All models now receive a rear seat occupant alert and intelligent speed assist, while the blind-spot monitoring adds a Trailer Tow Lite feature that accounts for the extra length of a trailer.
There’s also a Reverse Cross Traffic Braking feature that’ll apply the brakes if it detects you’ll reverse into the path of an oncoming vehicle.