Monday, December 16, 2013

Separated Twins: 2013 Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4

I recently decided that it was about time to replace my 2009 Toyota RAV4 with a restyled 2013 model.  So I began to pay more attention to the '13s when I was out and about.

But I encountered a problem: Many times when I at first thought I was looking at a 2013 RAV4, I was actually seeing a 2013 Ford Escape, a rival compact SUV.  Hence the subject of this post.

Because both cars were restyled for the 2013 model year, it is unlikely that Toyota stole Ford's theme or vice-versa, because the cars were probably under development around the same time.  What Toyota was doing was taking the theme of the 2008-2012 RAV4 design and making it more in line with the current fashion for sharp-edged, somewhat baroque shapes.  Ford, on the other hand, had a rather plain, boxy-looking Escape line for 2008-2012 and wanted to make it more in line with the current fashion for sharp-edged, somewhat baroque shapes.  But Ford seems to have borrowed a number of styling cues from the popular 2008-2012 RAV4 as the basis for its restyling.  In short, both firms were independently trying to do essentially the same thing (update the RAV4 design), so there's little wonder that the resulting designs seem so similar.

Let's take a look.


Here is a 2008 RAV4 for reference.  Key design features include (1) a fender line that rises towards the rear, (2) a reverse-slant to the back edge of the the rear side windows, (3) vertical paneling on large wheel opening lips, and (4) a strong character line and indentation along the lower edge of the doors.  Other details such as windshield rake and the slope of the top are conventional responses to wind tunnel derived aerodynamic data.

Here we compare front three-quarter view of the 2013 RAV4 (top) and the 2013 Escape.  The RAV is nearly nine inches (4.5 cm) longer than the Escape, and its wheelbase is only about an inch (3 cm) more, but these differences have little effect on appearance.  Aerodynamically-influenced features aside, similarities include: (1) rising fender lines, (2) strong wheel opening lips, (3) strong character lines on the lower door area, (4) a "shoulder" level character line a little below the side window sills, and (5) wraparound, sharp-cornered headlamp and tail light housings.

Rear three-quarter views show fewer similarities, though both cars follow current fashion in the form of sharp, fussy tail light shapes.  The Escape's rear styling is busier, offering a more baroque appearance than the RAV.

1 comment:

AutoPuzzles Blogger said...

Thee 2013 Escape is the North American version of the second-gen 2012 Ford Kuga from Europe. The 2012 Kuga, sans the taillights, was more or less styled to look like the fist-gen Kuga, which went on sale in 2008. The previous generation RAV4, by comparison, looked more like a school bus. I can see why Toyota cribbed much of Ford's 6-year-old design brief.