2022 Ford Escape: Front-drive models lose independent rear suspension

Ford has made the unusual decision to remove independent rear suspension from all front-wheel drive 2022 Escape models.

These models will instead use a torsion-beam rear axle – generally regarded as a dynamically inferior, but cheaper and more space-efficient setup – while the all-wheel drive models will continue with multi-link rear suspension.

The move impacts all front-wheel drive variants: the base FWD, mid-range ST-Line and its upcoming plug-in hybrid counterpart, and the luxury Vignale.

The move is in stark contrast to Ford Australia’s recent decision to mandate an independent rear suspension set-up across the entire Focus range.

It’s also highly unusual for a mid-sized SUV in Australia, if not quite as unusual in Europe.

Almost every rival uses a multi-link or double-wishbone rear suspension, including the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.

That even includes more budget-oriented fare like the Haval H6 and MG HS.

The only rivals with a torsion or twist-beam rear axle are the Citroen C5 Aircross and Peugeot 3008, along with the front-wheel drive Skoda Karoq.

The move aligns the Escape with its new Maverick ute counterpart in North America, which restricts availability of a multi-link rear suspension to all-wheel drive models.

Any change to a torsion-beam rear axle has yet to be announced for the US-market Escape or European-market Kuga, however.

For reference, our local-spec Escape is effectively a Kuga with a different badge, coming out of the same Spanish factory, though the differences between the US- and EU-market mid-sizers are negligible.

Model year 2022 Escapes will start arriving in Australia by the end of this year.

While the rear suspension change is a retrograde step, Ford has added some equipment across the range.

All models now receive a rear seat occupant alert and intelligent speed assist, while the blind-spot monitoring adds a Trailer Tow Lite feature that accounts for the extra length of a trailer.

There’s also a Reverse Cross Traffic Braking feature that’ll apply the brakes if it detects you’ll reverse into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

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