The next-generation Ford Escape has been spied many times in the last several months, but the shooters at Brenda Priddy & Co. supplied some up-close pics of the Ford Sync-equipped interior.
The features that jump out are the push-button start, driver/passenger heated seat controls, a button behind the steering wheel for voice-activated commands and a "+/-" button on the shifter to change gears.
Comparing this prototype to the Vertrek, the concept car's general shape looks to have made the jump to production largely unchanged. However, Priddy says the overall size of this new Escape does not differ much from the current model.
Peering through the camo is a grille and front fascia that looks quite similar to the Ford Edge. The upper grille opening looks to be very slim, with one small crossbar. At the rear are glimpses of some very angular-looking taillights. However, Priddy says not to be fooled by the squared-off roofline because it appears that Ford has attached some elaborate camouflage in an effort to hide the true, sloping lines of the rear hatch.
This new CUV will launch very late in 2011, or Q1 of 2012, according to Priddy, and that could make this a ’12 or ’13 model-year vehicle, but nothing is official so far. Priddy's team would be shocked if Ford didn't retain the "Escape" badge. The new Escape will ride on Ford's global C1 chassis, and it will share that platform with other vehicles, including the Focus, C-max, Transit Connect and the forthcoming C-segment MPV from Lincoln.
The Escape will make the shift from a V6 to a 2.5L four-cylinder for the base model and an Ecoboost four-cylinder for the upmarket model, and Priddy says that the type of Ecoboost motor under the hood remains a bit of mystery. She says that several sources indicate it will be the 2.0L, but her team has also heard that the 1.6L is getting strong consideration based on fuel economy. Priddy also says that there will also be a hybrid model available shortly after launch, with Ford's next-gen hybrid powertrain providing the motivation.
Photo Credit: Brenda Priddy & Company