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Last year’s Shanghai show saw Ford wheel out the Escort Concept; fast forward a year and we’re now looking at the production Ford Escort at Auto China 2014. The modern day Escort is a roomy, inexpensive three-box sedan made in China for the Chinese market.

Developed by Ford’s Asia Pacific design team in Australia together with the Blue Oval’s Research and Engineering Centre in Nanjing, the Ford Escort was designed for a Chinese consumers looking for a sedan that is “stylish without appearing arrogant or pretentious.”

With that Aston Martin-style inverted trapezoidal grille, it’s unmistakably Ford up front. Elongated jeweled headlamps feature a floating turn signal, LED signature lighting and chrome graphics designed to resemble the lucky number eight. Chrome highlights around the fog lamp bezels call to mind the letter E on the Escort’s rear-mounted nameplate.

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Working from Ford’s global C platform, the designers pulled the A-pillar rearward as far as possible to maximise the dash-to-axle ratio, for “premium, athletic proportions.” An upward kick at the rear of the beltline suggests the shape of the rear window edge where it meets the trunk lid.

The tail lamps, which also feature LED signature lighting, are shaped to echo the headlamps. A chrome bar bridges the lamps and helps create a wider appearance, always welcome in a compact sedan.

Ford strived for a premium appearance in the cabin, which should be roomier than a Focus Sedan‘s, although measurements were not given. Materials like perforated leather surpass customer expectations for a compact car, Ford says, while the instrument panel features a stitch line running the width of the interior.

Ford Escort China-01

Ford says that the Escort has been designed to provide a quiet and refined ride, even with the windows open. To minimise the throbbing sound that occurs when driving at speed with one window down, designers and engineers worked to optimise the design of the car’s side mirrors and their interaction with the body sides. This must be a common driving habit in China for Ford to specifically focus on it.

The 1.5 litre Ti-VCT-powered sedan is a China-only model for now, but do you think the Ford Escort will work here as a rival to the Toyota Vios and Honda City? That’s a task too big (literally) for the Fiesta Sedan, which is a backmarker in the B-segment race for space.

Live pix by Kwek Chai Li