DEARBORN, MI – The 2010 Ford Escape is adding five new features designed to improve safety, reduce driver distractions and aid drivers by automatically parallel parking their vehicle.

The new technologies build on Escape's crash ratings — a "Top Safety Pick" award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and 5-star government ratings in all crash tests.

"The Ford Escape is one of few vehicles that earned both full 5-star crash ratings and a 'Top Safety Pick' in the small SUV segment," said Susan Cischke, Ford's group vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering. "These new technologies will help to take the new Escape to the next level of safety and driver satisfaction."

The 2010 Escape will feature:

Integrated Spotter Mirror (standard) -- blind spot technology that consists of an outside rearview mirror designed with a secondary convex spotter in the top outer corner, which is aimed exclusively at the driver's blind spot. When traffic enters the driver's blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it is visible in the secondary convex mirror, helping provide the driver broader peripheral view.

MyKey (standard) -- allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour. This feature is standard on Escape models featuring a message center cluster, including XLT and above.

Rear View Camera System -- uses an exterior camera embedded in the rear of the vehicle that sends images to a video display in the rearview mirror or the navigation system screen to help enhance visibility directly behind the vehicle when it is in reverse. Ford is leveraging the affordability of high-quality video cameras to widely offer the technology with navigation systems.

Active Park Assist -- uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to position the vehicle for parallel parking, calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot. Ford's Active Park Assist also works in downhill parking situations.

SYNC - Ford is expanding its connectivity leadership by introducing new SYNC real-time information features. The new Escape is one of the first vehicles to introduce this innovation - SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information - which leverages voice-recognition software, integrated GPS technology, and a customer's Bluetooth-capable mobile phone. SYNC's new services provide simple hands-free access to personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather.

A recent study shows that SYNC's hands-free system significantly reduces the level of distraction when drivers select a phone number or choose a song on their MP3 player compared with the same operations performed with hand-held cell phones and music players, Ford said.

"We know people want to stay connected in their vehicles, so Ford is continuing to deliver that connectivity for them responsibly and safely," said Cischke. "Our SYNC research backs up what most of us instinctively know -- that it is better while driving to place a call using a voice interface than dialing manually, because you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."

The 2010 Ford Escape's standard safety technologies also include:

  • AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) -- Features a gyroscopic sensor that actively measures and helps prevent both side-to-side "yaw" and roll movements
  • Safety Canopy -- A side air curtain technology offering protection for the first and second seating rows. Helps provide rollover and ejection protection with extended deployment in rollovers
  • Personal Safety System -- a suite of seven safety technologies, including new dual-stage front air bags for the driver and front-seat passenger, side air bags and a front passenger sensor system
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System -- Alerts drivers when tire pressure is low.