It hasn’t been long since Ford released the latest generation of the Escape and the Escape Hybrid, but the automaker is already thinking about a significant update for the model. It’s not the mid-cycle refresh that most companies give their respective products, but possibly a longer variant of the vehicle—an extended-length ST version, in particular.
According to reports by Ford Authority, the Blue Oval is in the process of developing a three-row Escape that can seat up to seven passengers.
The model has the temporary name of CX430 and is planned to ride the same C2 platform that underpins the standard Escape, as well as the new Bronco Sport. With the longer wheelbase, the model is also expected to have a few design changes, especially with the roof.
The third row of this new Escape will be accessible from the second row. But aside from this addition, there will likely be no other major enhancements in the cabin. The future Escape will also sport the same powertrains as the newly released generation.
Both the plug-in and hybrid variants of the model are set to return, with the three-row version also scheduled to debut in Europe with the Kuga nameplate. The Kuga is rumored to replace the mediocre sellers in that part of the globe such as the Edge, Galaxy, and S-Max.
The three-row SUV will be Ford’s answer to Volkswagen’s three-row Tiguan.
It’s still unclear how spacious these extra seats will be. But considering the current Escape falls within the mid- and full-size crossover segment, customers can expect the new version to be no smaller than those variants.
In terms of cargo space, interested buyers has no reason to be concerned as there will be a lot more space in the cabin when the third row of seats is folded flat.
Ford has yet to confirm that it’s working on a longer Escape, but the automaker is expected to release it in time for the 2022 model year.