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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Nov 18 2011, 9:55 AM

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Ford‘s new Escape couldn’t be any more different from the outgoing model, with a new look, a new platform, new EcoBoost turbocharged direct-injection engines and an all-new interior with an updated version of Ford’s MyFord Touch telematics system. Plus, Ford has added a cool new innovation, the handsfree liftgate. Find out about all the updates and watch the liftgate in action with AutoGuide editor Colum Wood from the floor of the LA Auto Show.

GALLERY: 2013 Ford Escape

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Watch the video below:

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 |  Nov 16 2011, 1:12 PM

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A perennial best-seller in its current boxy SUV style, Ford has made a bold move, completely revamping the Escape crossover into a stylish urban machine, filled with high-tech features inside, and under the hood.

Part of the One Ford plan to offer global vehicles, this new sport ute replaces the current Escape in North America, as well as the Kuga in Europe – and actually looks like a natural design progression from that model.

To help deliver a nice entry-level sticker price Ford will offer a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder model, only with front-wheel drive, making 168-hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. Ninety percent of the volume is, however, expected to be EcoBoost models with a new 1.6-liter EcoBoost making 173-hp and 177 lb-ft, while a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine replaced the V6 offering, delivering 237-hp and 250 lb-ft. And to help keep those V6 buyers, Ford has rated the 2.0-liter’s towing at 3,500 lbs. EcoBoost models will be available as either front or all-wheel drive.

Ford has yet to announce official fuel economy numbers but says the new Escape should improve on the old model’s rating by as much as 5-mpg.

Ford will offer an updated (and supposedly easier to use) MyFord Touch system, while a big selling feature will be the handsfree rear liftgate. A fancy option, with the key in your pocket, just use a kicking motion under the rear bumper and the hatch will swing open.

GALLERY: 2013 Ford Ecape

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See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 LA Auto Show coverage here

 |  Nov 16 2011, 2:06 AM

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Ford has ditched the Escape’s more traditional SUV styling, overhauling the compact crossover for the 2013 model year. The North American market will now finally be treated to styling more in line with Europe’s Kuga crossover, proving that Ford is focusing on its One Ford plan of ensuring products offered in North America are nearly identical to their European counterparts.

The 2013 Ford Escape clearly takes a page out of the successful Focus design book and while some may or may not love it, we’re greeting the departure from typical SUV styling with open arms. Ford also announced what will be powering the 2013 Escape, offering a 2.5L four-cylinder with 168-hp and 167 lb-ft of torque as standard. An all-new 1.6L EcoBoost four-cylinder can also be had with 173-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque while the top-of-the-line model will be powered by a 2.0L EcoBoost with 237-hp and 250 lb-ft of torque.

All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while Ford boasted that the 2.0L is capable of towing up to 3,500-lbs. Official EPA numbers or estimates haven’t been released yet, but Ford claims that the new Escape is up to five gallons more efficient than the previous model, dependent on the engine of course. An AWD option is also available for those who just don’t dig a FWD SUV.

New technology on the inside include the newly revamped MyFord Touch system along with active park assist and hands-free liftgate system.

GALLERY: 2013 Ford Escape

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Look for live photos here from the car’s reveal today at the LA Auto Show

 |  Nov 07 2011, 11:50 AM

If you were one of the Ford owners who weren’t thrilled with MyFord Touch, you’ll be happy to learn that the system is receiving an upgrade that will make it more user friendly and easier to operate.

The upgrade, which will be available early next year and offered at no extra charge to exsisting MyFord Touch owners, will feature simpler graphics, faster touch-screen response and easier-to-use controls. The upgraded voice-activated in-car connectivity system will also be available with the new 2013 Ford Escape, Flex and Taurus.

Ford decided to upgrade the MyFord Touch system after conducting a series of polls, as well as receiving a flurry of bad press that stated the system wasn’t user friendly and was a bit buggy. To enhance the user experience, Ford has added Apple iPad connectivity and access to Audible.com audiobooks through voice commands or the touchscreen. Other improvements include better Bluetooth telephone connectivity, an updated map experience from TeleNav and Navteq and improved voice recognition powered by Nuance technology.

MyFord Touch is also getting some visual enhancements. Users will be treated to larger, bolder fonts, while designs are made more consistent and low-priority elements have been removed. In total, more than 1,000 screens have been updated with the improved look.

If you need a tutorial about the upgraded system, you can watch how-to videos at www.syncmyride.com or set up a free “SYNC My Ride” personalized training session at a Ford dealership.  If you already have the MyFord Touch system, you’ll be sent a USB flash drive with the software upgrade for installation or you can visit your Ford or Lincoln dealer for the software installation.

You can also check out a video of the upgraded system after the jump.

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 |  Nov 01 2011, 4:10 PM

As automakers seem intent in adding more and more easy operating gimmicks to the cars and trucks we buy, it raises the question, what could possibly come next? To its credit, however, the self-opening liftgate on the new 2013 Ford Escape, which can be activated by a gentle kick to the bumper instead of requiring the use of a key, is arguably one of the better ones.

Scheduled for an official introduction at the LA Auto Show later this month, the new Escape is the first SUV to utilize this “gesture-based” technology, similar to that found in motion activated video games.

It works by using two sensors located in the bumper to detect an individual’s kicking and shin motion and, according to Ford, is able to provide a safeguard against accidentally opening the liftgate because the software has been programmed to open with leg motions, so no worries about groceries spilling out of the back on bumpy roads.

The new Escape, built off Ford’s C-Class global architecture, promises to be more car-like than ever, with standard four-cylinder engines, including 1.6 and 2.0-liter EcoBoost variants, designed to provide a good blend of performance and fuel economy.

To see the kick-operated liftgate in action, watch the video after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 10 2011, 11:00 AM

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A dramatic departure from the current model, Ford‘s new Vertrek Concept previews the next generation Escape crossover. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Vertrek trades the current model’s boxy SUV look for more stylish, though still aggressive, lines.

Based on the same architecture as the 2012 Ford Focus, the Vertrek will be a global vehicle, and is also set to replace the Kuga crossover in Europe. Overseas customers won’t be nearly so shocked with it’s design, as it more of an evolutionary change from the current Kuga.

But there’s more to this story than a new shape, with the Vertrek also sporting one of Ford’s new EcoBoost engines. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. This same engine has also just been revealed in the 2011 Ford C-Max, making 168-hp and 173 ft-lbs of torque. If Ford follows the same strategy as with the C-Max, look for a production model to get an equally-powerful 168-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder standard, with the EcoBoost version selling for a premium.

Helping to further improve fuel economy is Ford’s Auto Start-Stop system, that shuts off the engine at idle (like at a red light) and then starts it again when the driver lifts off the brake and goes to accelerate away. Ford claims this technology alone can improve fuel economy from 5 to 10 percent depending on the type of driving you do.

Yet another fuel-saving technology employed on the Vertrek is what Ford calls Smart Regenerative Charging, which works by only recharging the battery under braking, thereby reducing the drag on the engine (freeing up both horsepower and improving fuel economy) under acceleration. Both Auto Start-Stop and Smart Regenerative Charging will be offered on the next generation Ford Escape, as well as numerous other Blue Oval models starting in 2012.

While Ford hasn’t confirmed as much, the Vertrek will get some slight styling revisions and then head to market in the not-too-distant future as yet another model derived from the same platform as the Focus. In total, Ford is planning as many as 10 models for the U.S. that will ride on this shared structure.

The use of new ‘green’ technology and engines is a given and will help Ford attract plenty of customers, although unlike with many of Ford’s other products, the Vertrek represents a much larger gamble, moving away from the Escape that continues to be a top seller in the important and fast-growing compact crossover segment.

GALLERY: Ford Vertrek Concept

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