It’s clear from the extent of the camouflage on this prototype Escape that Ford is planning to overhaul the appearance of its compact SUV for 2013. Nearly all of the exterior surface areas are newly designed, as evidenced by the black canvas covering everything but the windows and a front section of the roof.
But try as Ford test engineers might to keep their work under wraps, there are still a number of clues to read into the exterior form of the new vehicle. Overall, you see curved body lines replacing the Lego-block profile of the current Escape. The swooping curve at the top of the doors is especially revealing; it stretches from the top of the windshield post to the top of the tailgate. On the current Escape, the line is almost straight. It’s clear that Ford is taking a cue from the Vertrak concept of the last Detroit Auto Show, and from competitors like the Honda CR-V and Chevy Equinox.
While wheel design generally differs depending on the model, there is no evidence that Ford plans some fancy designs for at least one version of the new SUV. But, the six dual-spoke wheel design pictured here is completely new. We also expect major changes in the Escape’s chassis and drivetrain to give better fuel economy across the lineup of powertrains. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will surely power the base models and offer about 30 mpg on the highway. Engineers will probably supplement the base model with an Ecoboost turbo.
Ford is expected to unveil the new Escape at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2012.
October 5, 2011