Ford’s CEO Hints at the Next SUV on the Chopping Block
Some Ford cars will probably stay around forever, as long as consumer demand stays high. The F-150 is the best example of this, which has been going strong since the ’50s. The Explorer and Bronco (back by popular demand) continue to be some of the automaker’s most popular cars.
Still, Ford has phased out many of its sedans in recent years. Despite the increased popularity of SUV models, it appears that one Ford SUV might disappear soon.
The Ford Escape could be on its way out
The Escape could be the automaker’s next discontinued model based on recent comments from Ford CEO Jim Farley. The Ford Escape is a two-row SUV that’s been around since the early 2000s and is currently in its fourth generation. The 2023 model has a standard 181-hp turbo-three engine and a 250-hp turbo-four that can be matched to certain higher trims.
If the Escape disappeared, its hybrid models would likely disappear with it. In addition to a regular hybrid, there’s a plug-in version available that gets 37 miles of electric range. The Escape Hybrid also gets excellent fuel economy, up to 44/37 mpg city/highway.
The non-hybrid Escape is predictably thirstier, but it’s quicker than many rivals and offers a smooth drive. The Escape is also praised for having supportive and comfy seats in both rows. Its standard cloth seats are accented with vinyl in higher trims, while the range-topping Platinum has fancier faux leather seats.
The Escape ST-Line Select might be the best value because it adds heated seats, the upgraded engine, and standard all-wheel drive. Wireless smartphone integration is standard across the entire trim lineup. Every Escape also includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warning.
Does scrapping the Ford Escape make sense?
According to Ford Authority, Farley commented that competing in the two-row SUV market “didn’t really work out” for the company in previous years. Instead, Ford reportedly wants to center its focus on large SUVs and trucks.
From a business perspective, we can see why the automaker would want to eliminate a segment that isn’t providing enough profits. The Ford Bronco is technically a two-row SUV, but its rough-ready nature sets it apart from the competition.
Additionally, we’d hardly expect Ford to discontinue this popular model so soon after its highly successful launch.
Say goodbye to these Ford SUVs too
2023 marks the final year of the Ford Edge, a two-row midsize SUV with standard AWD. Its base engine is the same 250-hp turbo-four you can option on the Escape, but the Edge ST has a twin-turbo V6. It allows this SUV to reach 60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds.
However, it’s hard to justify buying this trim when its MSRP is close to $50,000. Other midsize SUVs might have relatively conservative powertrains, but an extra row of seats and higher cargo capacities are more practical for SUV shoppers.
The Lincoln Nautilus, part of the Blue Oval’s luxury brand, also won’t return for the 2024 model year. While this two-row SUV was a hit with drivers, it was panned by Consumer Reports for some troublesome controls and subpar reliability.
However, we don’t think anyone was surprised when the Ford EcoSport’s discontinuation was announced. This model is even smaller than the Escape and has a negative reputation due to its sluggish engine. The base trim’s interior quality is disappointing at its price point and includes only a handful of standard features.
The Escape might be one of the less popular choices in the segment, but it’s not the worst compact SUV. Still, no matter how good a car might be, it’s up to the automakers to decide which models move forward.