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2005 Tokyo: Ford's Equator offers glimpse at automaker's compact SUV future
Posted Date: 10/19/05

In Asia, the Ford Escape is one of Ford's most well-known products and a centrepiece of the company's SUV lineup. Known as the Maverick in China and other Asian markets, the compact SUV was launched in 2001 and is now among Ford's best-selling vehicles in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, thanks to its mix of functionality and economy.

Now comes the Equator Concept, offering a glimpse of the future for Ford's compact SUVs.

The Equator was developed in Ford's Lio Ho Design Technology Center in Taipei, Taiwan by Ford Asia Pacific and Africa chief designer Paul Gibson.
At 70.8 inches high and 174.2 inches long (the wheelbase is 102.4 inches), the car is roughly the same size as the Escape. The Equator rides on 255/50R-19 Michelin tires and 10-spoke wheels.

The interior features a DVD/nav system; a three-spoke GSK steering wheel; and an electronic gear-selection activated with the push of a button. Ford said when its new production compact SUV hits the streets, there will be a huge emphasis on better interior quality.

The Equator is powered by Ford's 24-valve, 3.0-liter Duratec V6. The 4WD system has a computer-controlled clutch that engages the rear wheels as needed. Under normal conditions, the Equator is driven by its front wheels, but can transfer up to 99 percent of torque to the rear wheels as required. Suspension is based on the Escape system using McPherson-type front struts with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear uses a multi-link setup.
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