While the 2021 Ford Expedition is now available with two-row seating for the very first time, for the most part, automakers are working hard to stuff a third row in every SUV and crossover they make, whether they’re capable of fitting actual humans in the back or not. As Ford Authority was the first to report back in 2019 and again last year, that will also soon include the Ford Escape. However, Ford Authority has now learned from its sources that the three-row Ford Escape will only be produced and sold in China.
The three-row Ford Escape could have presumably replaced the Ford Edge in the U.S., which, as we reported last summer, will be discontinued following its current generation. Originally, a new Edge was scheduled to launch in 2023. Thus, it’s possible that the reborn Ford Fusion Activ crossover will take the Edge’s place instead, as it too shares many similarities with that model.
The three-row Ford Escape is expected to launch in late 2021 or early 2022, though it’s most likely to fall in the latter part of that range. Currently, in development under the program code CX788, the three-row Escape will share the Ford C2 platform that also underpins the 2020 Ford Escape (sold as the Ford Kuga in Europe), 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, Lincoln Corsair, and fourth-generation Ford Focus. The upcoming Ford Maverick compact unibody pickup will also use a variant of the C2 architecture, as first reported by Ford Authority.
The three-row Ford Escape will ride on a longer wheelbase and will be longer than the two-row model. It will also feature a more traditional roofline when compared to the two-row Escape. That additional length and roofline will allow the vehicle to accommodate a third row of seats, for a seven-passenger capacity.
The exterior styling of the three-row Ford Escape will mostly carry over from the two-row model, with the biggest differences being the additional length, treatment of the C- and D-pillars, a well as the roofline execution, which will be more boxy than the rapidly-sloping roof in the two-row model.
Inside, the cockpit will carry over from the two-row Escape, while the biggest change will be the addition of the third row, access to which will be aided by the sliding second-row already available in the two-row model today.