LA 2011: Ford Reveals All-New 2013 Escape

As the outgoing model continues to be a best-seller, Ford unveils their all-new 2013 Escape at LA.

First launched back in 2000, the Ford Escape has never undergone a complete redesign. Ford regularly updated the popular compact SUV over the years and even launched a successful hybrid version. However, competition rises and the years simply go by. In other words, the Escape was long overdue for a major do-over. Fortunately, the time has come as Ford has just released full details and pictures of its all-new 2013 Escape.

Taking much of its styling from the Vertrek concept that was unveiled at last year's Detroit Auto Show, the '13 Escape is a dramatic departure from the previous model at nearly every level. Calling it the "Smarter Utility Vehicle," Ford claims that it offers the strengths that customers today value: fuel economy, versatility, and new technology. In addition to more cargo space behind the first and second rows over the outgoing model, the new Escape also features projected best in-class fuel economy, improved driving dynamics, a new Ford Intelligent 4WD System for even better traction off-road, and a new design reminiscent of the also new Focus.

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The standard engine will be the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder with 168hp and 167lb-ft of torque. Optional engines include the new 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 173hp and 177lb-ft of torque, but if you really want to throw down the extra cash, Ford is also offering the 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 237hp and 250lb-ft of torque. With this last engine, Ford claims the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds. There's only one transmission offered: a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard, but there's also the aforementioned optional 4WD system.

The interior is also a dramatic departure from the old Escape's, as Ford once again took much influence from the new Focus. Also included is the latest version of SYNC with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, active park assist, and a Blind Spot Information System. Ford heavily focused on improving the SUV's cargo space, as the rear seats have been designed to fold flat along with an optional two-position load floor which can be configured to allow owners to choose among maximum luggage volume or a flat load floor. In regards to the exterior styling, we predict there'll be a love it or hate it reaction, but it's no doubt eye-catching.

As the latest step in the evolution of Ford's Kinetic design language, the new Escape bears a strong resemblance to the Focus and we can expect to see more of these design traits in upcoming models. And like the Focus, the Escape is now a part of the automaker's One Ford global plan. In Europe, however, it's known as the Kuga, which was also a success in its previous generation. The question now is whether North American buyers will accept the 2013 Escape's dramatic redesign over the outgoing model, which continues to sell very well. Official pricing hasn't been announced, but we'll have more details shortly from LA.