Ford details China-only Escort compact

The 21st century Escort slots above the Focus in Ford\'s Chinese lineup.

Ford has detailed the China-only Escort compact that was previewed earlier this year at the Beijing Motor Show.

Previewed by a close-to-production concept at last year's Shanghai Motor Show, the Escort is roughly the same size as a four-door Focus sedan but it is aimed at a clientele willing to pay a little extra for more room inside and a wide panoply of high-tech convenience and safety. The Dearborn-based automaker predicts the typical Escort buyer will be older and wealthier than the average Focus buyer.

The Escort has changed very little in its transition from a show car to a production vehicle. Penned with Ford's Kinetic design language in mind, the car borrows styling cues such as its trapezoidal grille with horizontal slats and its elongated headlamps from members of Ford's global lineup like the Fusion and the Fiesta.

Inside, the Escort features a simple dashboard whose layout is noticeably inspired by the Fiesta. A three-spoke multi-function steering wheel and an instrument cluster made up of three analog gauges wrap up the function-over-form atmosphere.

Power for the Escort comes from a gas-burning 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 115 horsepower and 104 lb-ft. of torque. It spins the front wheels via either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic unit. Gas mileage and performance figures have not been published.

The Escort will be built in China and it might be exported to Russia and select countries in Latin America in order to take advantage of economies of scale, but Ford is not currently planning on selling the sedan in North America or in Europe.

In its home country, the Escort will carry a base price of about ¥90,000, a sum that converts to roughly $15,000.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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