Does this look like a Ford SUV to you? If it doesn’t it might be because it is not meant for you. It is being manufactured in China and for China. It is the 2022 Ford Equator three-row SUV and it was just unveiled there. And the feature Equator is this striking purple-colored one shown.
The Jiangling-Ford joint venture has created an SUV that won’t be sold anywhere else. That tends to be the case in many of these collaborations. Size-wise this falls between the Ranger-based Everest and Explorer. With a wheelbase of 112.8-inches, it is 193-inches long and stands 69-inches tall.
Ford feels that Chinese and American tastes in cars are different
Ford designers and marketers must really sense that Chinese and American tastes in cars are different. We’ve seen it over the years with European Fords that don’t make it to our shores. Now Ford continues that tradition of keeping styling different in different regions.
Going on sale in China at the end of this month, the Equator gets as much attention lavished on the interior as it does the exterior. The six-seat layout features elegant two-tone chairs in the spacious interior. The dual screens are over 12-inches each. The floating front center console boasts the shift dial, other controls, and generous storage. Wood trim is sprinkled throughout the dash and door panels.
The Equator interior looks inviting and elegant
There is a dual-pane sunroof that adds both light and visual space. Individual armrests for middle-row seats are a convenient addition. Shown in light oyster leather and purple accent colors the interior looks inviting and elegant.
One big difference that gets mandated by the Chinese government is taxing large-displacement engines. To that end, the unibody Equator runs on a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. It puts out 221 hp with 266 lb-ft of torque. That spins a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Equator can be ordered with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
Is there a need for an Equator splitting between an Escape and Explorer?
Do you think there is a real need for an SUV that splits between the size of an Escape and Explorer in the US? The difference in price between a base Escape and Explorer is less than $8,000. Would there be a need to split that difference with something like the Equator? It’s hard to say if there is a need but also if it would be worth it for Ford to give it a shot here.
For years US carmakers offered a wide variety of sedans and hatchbacks to capture every segment possible. Then it slowly cut back on sedans as SUVs and crossovers gained popularity. So now there is less variety because there are only SUVs to choose from. So from a portfolio standpoint, Ford needs other models to fill in for there being fewer overall offerings for buyers to choose from.
We’ll guarantee product and marketing heads for all of the carmakers are hand-wringing over just this dilemma.