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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
As part of Ford‘s “One World” plan, a single platform will be used across all markets worldwide. While we reap the benefits with the all-new Focus and C-Max, there can be trade-offs when different markets require different attributes in a vehicle. With the Ford Vertrek Concept, unveiled today at the Detroit Auto Show, the Blue Oval is hoping to synchronize the very American Escape SUV, and the equally European Kuga compact crossover.
Styling-wise, the Vertrek takes after the Kuga, as it abandons the Escapes boxy sheet metal for a fluid look that utilizes Ford’s new design language. Cargo room is comparable to the Escape, suggesting a bigger footprint than the Kuga, while a 1.6L Ecoboost 4-cylinder and a Ford TDCi diesel will be offered (with the latter likely for Europe only).
A start-stop system as well as a mild regenerative braking system will also be offered, with Ford touting as much as 10 percent less C02 emissions, and an equivalent bump in fuel economy thanks to the new technologies. While the Vertek is officially billed as a concept, expect to see the production version to look nearly identical to what was seen at Detroit.
GALLERY: Ford Vertrek Debut
GALLERY: Ford Vertrek
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As reported many months ago, Ford will replace its Escape compact SUV with a new crossover model similar to the European Kuga. Based on the same architecture as the new global Focus, the new Escape/Kuga will be previewed in concept form at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January.
The same platform will be used for the upcoming Grand C-Max MPV as well as for a Lincoln compact crossover.
Powertrains will likely be shared with the Focus, meaning there will be a 2.0-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder, while an EcoBoost option is also certain to be included to give the new Kuga/Escape enough oomph to keep pace offerings like the Toyota RV4 V6.
[Source: Automotive News via TheCarConnection]
Ford’s popular Escape crossover is set to be replaced in 2012 with the European Kuga. Recent reports suggest, however, that this new model may keep the Escape badge. According to Ward’s Auto, several Ford dealers have commented that it would be a waste to do away with the Escape badge as it has excellent recognition in the market and as the Escape is one of Ford’s top sellers and has even given the Toyota RAV-4 a run for its money.
“I believe the Escape is a great vehicle with a great reputation and that it would be a big mistake to kill the Escape name,” Owen Mossy, general manager of San Diego-based Mossy Ford, told Ward’s.
Ford is likely to listen to its dealers, as a previous decision to drop the Taurus name in favor of the 500 proved disastrous for sales, which bounced back when the name was resurrected. The decision to bring back the Taurus name was that of CEO Alan Mulally, who took the helm at ford in 2006 and said that not using the Taurus name was wasting precious brand equity. We’d also argue that the old Tuarus/500 model had a lot more wrong with it than the name.
“I would doubt seriously that the company would repeat the lesson learned from the Taurus brand-equity position on any vehicle currently in our lineup, ” said Kevin Collins, president-Bill Collins Ford in Louisville.
The Kuga (or new Escape if you prefer) is set to be built in North America at the company’s Louisville, KY plant starting in 2011. The current European Kuga is based on the same architecture as the European Focus and C-Max MPV.
When the 2012 Escape does debut, expect front-drive and AWD versions, along with an EcoBoost 4-cylinder rather than a V6 option.