Well, it's back in China, who never really had the original ones, so "back" isn't exactly right. Still, Ford did just show this surprisingly handsome little sedan at the Beijing Auto Show, and for those of us who fondly remember Escorts (like the good British one, or even the American shitbox), this is news.
Ford had teased this coming with a concept last year, and the production car is surprisingly close to that (admittedly tame) concept. It's a car that was clearly designed with China in mind, showing their affinity for smallish three-box sedans with surprisingly large back seats. There's also a special "Device Dock" on the top of the dash, which is, according to Ford,
A new way to store, mount and charge devices like mobile phones, MP3 players and satellite navigation systems, the Device Dock integrates them seamlessly into the in-car entertainment system.
That sounds like a pretty handy feature. I wonder if my Newton will plug into that?
The exterior design is described by Ford as "stylish and unpretentious," and that concept of "unpretentious" seems to be filling a Chinese market need. I actually find it to be a little bit like a modernized Ford Tempo in it's pleasingly chunky proportions, but I don't think anyone was hoping for a reintroduction of the "Tempo" name. There's even some chrome detailing in the light units designed to hint at the number 8, which is lucky in China.
Also interesting design-wise is that the side mirrors and other exterior elements have been designed to minimize that thumping sound when driving with a window open, which appears to be more popular in China than other places, perhaps due to perceptions of greater economy than using air-conditioning?
The reborn Escort is built on the same platform as the Focus, and will be powered by a 1.5L Ti-VCT four of as yet unknown power, though I would guess it'll be something between 90-105 HP or so. I'm guessing numbers lower than what that engine usually makes since I suspect it'll be detuned a bit for better economy. I'm just guessing, but I think it's reasonable.
The Escort will slot in under the Focus, and is meant to be inexpensive. This seems like a much more appealing economy sedan than something like the Versa, and I'd think could even be an appealing lower cost option here in the US. How about a little manual wagon? This one's already brown, after all.