Structural and paleostress analyses provide new insights into the Quaternary kinematics of the outermost fold-and-thrust units of southwestern Taiwan Foothills. The frontal folds are interpreted as fault-related folds, and their tectonic evolution through space and time is tightly constrained. Fold development is correlated with reef building on top of the anticlines. Moreover, we provide field evidence that NW-SE fault zones oblique to the structural grain of the belt probably acted as transfer fault zones during the the Quaternary fold-thrust emplacement. Two successive Quaternary stress regimes are evidenced in southwestern Taiwan: A NW-SE compression, followed by a recent nearly E-W compression. The latter shows an along-strike change from pure: E-W contraction to the north to perpendicular N-S extension in the south. This southward decrease in N-S confinement probably represents the on-land signature of the incipient Quaternary tectonic escape predicted by analogue and numerical modelling and evidenced at present-day by Global Positioning System data.