Sun, 11 May 2003

Ford Escape 2.0lt Less powerful SUV to cruise the city roads

Primastuti Handayani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Several journalists were seen queuing at Putri Duyung Cottage in Ancol Recreational Park, North Jakarta. They were not waiting for their news sources.

In fact, they were waiting for their turn to drive the new Ford Escape 2.0lt.

Though instructors in each car warned the journalists not to speed in public places such as Ancol, most of the drivers ignored the warnings as they wanted to test the car's ability in the city's streets.

The launching of the latest Escape -- Ford already launched Escape XLT 3.0lt 4x2 and Escape XLT 3.0lt 4x4 last October -- is to fulfill the demand of customers who want the same style and comfort but need less power.

"The Ford Escape 3.0lt to date is still one of the most in demand vehicles on the market," said Will Angove, President Director of PT Ford Motor Indonesia. "Therefore, we know that the local automotive market will also welcome Ford Escape 2.0lt with enthusiasm.

"The Ford Escape 2.0lt is a product that has been designed to cater for the young urban market, targeting dynamic singles, couples and families desiring a combination of superior comfort, responsive handling and a stylish model that reflects their dynamic lifestyle."

Different from the Escape 3.0lt -- which is equipped with 3.0lt Duratec V6 -- the Escape 2.0lt carries the 2.0lt Zetec 14 engine. Zetec is the sophisticated engine used in Ford Mondeo in Europe and Ford Escape in the United States.

With less power in the engine, Escape 2.0lt -- though it is still included in the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) category -- fits better on city roads while the Escape 3.0lt can be used for both on-road and off-road activities.

The Escape 2.0lt felt okay when we made a quick stop. It happened a lot since there were many people crossing the streets inside the park even on working days. We just realized how similar the handling was to a sedan.

Even lots of bumps in the park could be passed smoothly by the vehicle, which as a maximum power of 129 horsepower (HP) at 5,400 rotations per minute (rpm) and a maximum torque of 189 Newton meter (Nm) at 4,500 rpm.

The Escape 2.0lt has a refined unibody structure, giving a sporty and compact look though I personally thought it has a similar shape to the Rover Freelander.

With the length of 4.4 meters, height of 1.77 meters and width of 1.825 meters, the Escape 2.0lt is quite spacious. The cargo area has cover and net while the rear seats can be folded down if the owner requires extra space.

The interior is compact and modest, dominated with a cream color. A feature on the instrument board caught my attention. There was a sign "Theft". Apparently, the car is equipped with an engine immobilizer. It means when a thief attempts to steal the vehicle using a fake key, the car won't start. No need for insurance then?

The Escape 2.0lt is only available in manual transmission. PT Ford Motor Indonesia's Marketing and Sales Director, Scott McCormack, said in the meantime the company would see how well sales went with the manual transmission.

"We'll evaluate the manual transmission sales before considering producing an automatic transmission variant," he said.

Available in five colors -- pumice gold metallic, radiant red, panther black, honor green and machine silver -- the Escape 2.0lt is offered at the introductory price at Rp 229 million (US$26,760). After the Jakarta Motor Show in July, the vehicle will be sold at Rp 235 million.

Angove expressed optimism with the Escape 2.0lt, saying that the company expected to sell 400 units this year alone. Since being launched last year, the Escape 3.0lt has sold 200 units.

He was optimistic that the three variants would be able to pick up customers wishing to trade their sedans for SUVs.

In a way to get closer with the customers, PT Ford Motor Indonesia also opened its branch at the Automall, located in the Sudirman Business Center District, South Jakarta.

.TB3.00" Engine Type 2.0lt Zetec 14 Displacement 1,989cc Maximum power output 129HP at 5,400 rpm Maximum torque 183 Nm at 4,500 rpm Fuel tank capacity 62 liters

Dimension Length 4,400 cm Height 1,770 cm Width 1,825 cm Wheelbase 2,620 cm Ground clearance 200 cm