Ford is still planning a longer Escape, a recent report claims, and we’re not talking about the audacious kind Carlos Ghosn is known for. Insiders revealed the Blue Oval’s popular crossover will spawn a long-wheelbase variant with seating for up to seven passengers, but the family-friendly soft-roader might not be sold in America.
Rumored for years but still under wraps, the extended Escape is currently under development and it’s known as the CX430 internally, according to enthusiast website Ford Authority. It shares its C2 platform with the standard Escape (pictured), among other cars in the firm’s range, but it receives a longer wheelbase, a boxier silhouette, and redesigned roof pillars. Both models will be nearly identical inside, with the evident exception of third-row seats designed to accommodate smaller passengers. They’ll fold flat when users need additional cargo space.
We don’t expect the bigger version will receive specific powertrain options. Front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine will come standard, and all-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost. Hybrid power will be available, too.
Whether the seven-seater Escape will join the five-seater model in showrooms across the United States remains to be seen. On one hand, Ford Authority clarified the model is being primarily developed for the European market, where it will replace the S-Max, the Galaxy, and the Edge all in one go. On the other hand, making the model compliant with American regulations will likely be relatively easy and reasonably cheap because it’s based on a car that’s sold here, and Ford executives have repeatedly argued there’s no such thing as too many crossovers. Additional details will emerge closer to the model’s launch, which is tentatively scheduled for 2022.
Production for the European market will take place in Spain. And, because the Escape is known as the Kuga across the pond, the long-wheelbase model will likely be called either Grand Kuga or Kuga Max. If that naming system crosses the Atlantic, the American model will arrive as either the Grand Escape or the Escape Max; both sound like a series you’d find on Netflix. It will likely be built alongside the two-row model in Louisville, Kentucky.