As expected, the new Escape is based on Ford's earlier Vertrek concept, with only the production model's larger lights, taller cabin and a subtle softening of the concept's sharp lines separating the two.
It's a look that is now common to the international Ford line-up, if not so much for the Australian-designed Falcon and Territory; although future versions of these cars (in whatever form they take) will show elements of Ford's "Kinetic" design language.
The 2012 Escape is a touch bigger than its 11 year-old predecessor, with a wheelbase 70mm longer than before, and overall length growing by 86mm.
Internationally, the new Escape will be offered with three four-cylinder engines, including two EcoBoost petrol units and a revised version of the 2.5 litre petrol engine featured in the second-generation model (not sold in Australia).
Towing capacity for this engine is rated at 1585kg, and a trailer-sway monitoring and control system will also feature.
A 1.6 litre EcoBoost petrol engine will also be offered, delivering 129kW and 240Nm of torque.
Being EcoBoost engines, both units feature turbocharging and direct injection, along with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT).
At the entry-level end of the line-up will be the updated 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 125kW and 226Nm of torque.
All three engines will be mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, featuring a manual gear selector switch on the shift lever.
A front-wheel-drive configuration will be the standard layout for the new Escape, while a new Intelligent Four-Wheel-Drive system will be offered as an option.
Inside, the new Escape gets a Focus-inspired dash, featuring a similar look to the tall centre stack, vertical air vents and four-spoke steering wheel.
Although we likely won't see them in Australia (at least not immediately), Ford's SYNC and MyFord infotainment systems will feature in the new Escape.
The same self-parking system featured on the new Focus hatch range joins the 2012 Escape, along with the Blind Spot Information System originally developed with Volvo.
Curve Control will also be featured - it won't do much to help with your weight, but if the Escape is moving too quickly into a corner, the system will work to slow the car safely.
A local launch for the new Escape has not been confirmed, although it looks like that Ford's brand-new small SUV will hit Australia sometime in the not-too-distant future.
"We anticipate the new Escape forming part of our future catalogue, but it's too soon to confirm an Australian debut at this stage," Ford Australia's Peter Fadeyev told TMR today.
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