Ford’s three-row rival for the Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CR-V looks set to escape Australia’s clutches.
Ford Authority reports the upcoming three-row Ford Escape will be produced and sold only in China, reaching showrooms there late this year or early next year, despite previous reports it could be offered in other markets.
The three-row Escape is expected to feature a longer wheelbase and a boxier rear end than the regular Escape, in the same vein as the Chinese-market, three-row Ford Edge that we’ve also missed out on.
The stretched Escape would have given Ford Australia an indirect replacement for the Endura (aka Edge), which was axed last year.
Endura sales figures never approached those of the class leaders, perhaps in part because it lacked a third row of seating despite being a large SUV.
The Edge has also been discontinued in Europe and may be discontinued in the North American market at the end of its lifecycle despite steady sales across two generations.
The Oakville, Ontario plant where the Endura/Edge is currently built is being retooled in 2024 to produce battery-electric vehicles.
Ford is introducing a replacement for the Mondeo and related North American Fusion that’s expected to be called Fusion Activ and Mondeo Activ, featuring a high-riding wagon body style à la the Subaru Outback.
This could effectively take the place of the Edge and help reduce clutter in the North American Ford range, which now features two similarly-sized crossovers in the Escape and related Bronco Sport.
Even in the North American market, you need to step up to an Everest-sized SUV to get a third row of seating.
There, Ford offers the rear/all-wheel drive Explorer crossover which, conceptually, is the closest thing to a replacement for the Australian Ford Territory. Unfortunately, it’s been ruled out for right-hand drive.