This isn’t exactly breaking news, as this car has been out for a while, but I realized that for all of my incessant bitching and whining and lamenting about the perpetually pissed-off look of modern cars, I’m not really doing enough to bring attention to those automakers that actually have the ‘nads to introduce a new car that doesn’t look like it wants to knee you in the gut and then urinate on your lunch. So, today, let me commend Ford for re-designing the Escape so it actually looks like it’s having fun dragging your ass to Target three times a week.
Now, I’m not going to lie; I’m not particularly interested in Ford Escapes, generally. They’re fine, mainstream small SUVs like so many others, and up until this latest redesign, they were pretty anonymously designed, not bad but not really memorable, and while they didn’t look quite as wrathful as many SUVs and CUVs out there, the previous-gen one at least had a sort of non-plussed, judgy-look.
But this recent redesign gave the car a sort of Mazda-like face (interesting, considering the Escape got its start as a joint project with Mazda) that looks like it’s having a pretty good time. Check for yourself:
While none of these designs is especially striking, the newest version’s simple, smiling face at least catches my attention in a positive way, and, as an aside, I’m glad they lost that little Pep Boys bit of fender jewelry there behind the front wheel arch.
Let’s just compare the Escape’s eager visage to two of its biggest competitors, the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V:
Look at those scowly motherfuckers. Their eyes are narrowed, mouths downturned into a mildly disgusted grimace — who needs to put up with this kind of sourpuss bullshit every time they go on a drive?
You don’t want to take me to the dog park again? Then look for a new job, you overgrown hatchbacks. I don’t need this shit.
This dude, though, he seems down to clown. He’s not judging you. He’s how you get around, and he looks happy to be doing it. That’s a face I’d much rather be greeted with than those others, which look like you just handed them a partially-masticated sardine.
For American cars, the last real flirtation with deliberately friendly designs was likely the Dodge Neon, a car I still appreciate the look of. I’m hoping this new Escape is a hint that maybe car designers are realizing there are other ways to make a car appealing besides having it look like it thinks you’re garbage.
I don’t think the new Escape is a flawless design, but I like the direction. I did play around with some other ideas for an Escape front end, and I kind of like this one:
I wonder if Ford would go for something like that? It’s kind of a big departure from a lot of modern car design, but I think it’s fun.
Anyway, this isn’t about me or my dumb ideas; I just want to commend the designers of the Escape for having the guts to make a car that doesn’t look like it hates mine.