Ford has officially messed with success.
The automaker introduced an all-new 2013 Escape crossover utility vehicle at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show that is a dramatic departure from the outgoing model, which is the best-selling compact SUV in America so far this year.
Gone is the boxy body of the old Escape, replaced by a sleeker design that is more in tune with the competition, as well as Ford’s other new small cars like the Focus and Fiesta.
Also absent are hybrid and V6-powered models, replaced by a lineup of four-cylinder engines that includes a conventional 2.5-liter and two turbocharged motors that variously promise everything from a 5 mpg fuel economy improvement over the current non-hybrid Escape (rated at 25 mpg combined) to a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
Front-wheel-drive is standard, but four-wheel-drive Escapes are fitted with new electronic controls that maximize on-road safety and handling and can sense if you are driving around a curve too quickly and adjust the power to each wheel accordingly.
The Escape also offers high-tech features throughout, including an updated MyFord Touch infotainment system, a self-parking system that can steer the car into a space, and a motion-sensor located under the rear bumper that lets you swipe your foot under it to open the liftgate if your hands are full.
Prices and official fuel economy for the new Escape will be revealed closer to its on-sale date early next year.