Not much is known about the next Ford Escape, other than the fact that the U.S. version is becoming more distinct from its foreign-market counterparts, like the re-nosed model set to run Down Under for 2007. Of course, as can be plainly seen here, the American version of the popular small SUV will get a new look as well, though markedly more aggressive than its Australian counterpart. With a bolder chrome grille and bumper inlet and headlamps similar to that of the 2007 Expedition, the look is definitely more grown up and aggressive, with designers having exorcised the overly prominent front bumper fascia of the current iteration.

No word yet on powertrain or interior refinements, though the Aussie Escape gained variable valve timing on its 2.3-liter four-cylinder model, and all models received an upgraded interior. From the looks of things, it would appear that the domestic Escape will receive a more thorough going-over than that of other markets, which should keep it in the hunt against vehicles like the new Toyota RAV-4 and Hyundai Tucson, along with upcoming competitors like the Mitsubishi Outlander.

[Source: The Detroit News]