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UPDATED: Full gallery of press shots added after the jump

Well well, something bold from Ford! The 2008 Escape has certainly been restyled with bold strokes, evolving into something that's unmistakable as the smallest sibling of the Explorer and Expedition. The interior has been taken uptown with high quality materials and a pleasing, handsome design incorporating many comfort and quietness improvements. Nice touches abound, from an iPod jack to blue instrument illumination, not to mention the use of laminated glass and acoustic headlining to reduce NVH levels. Debuting in the '08 Escape is Ford's "top of dash" display that puts information like ambient temp, climate control settings and radio functions at eye level.

The designers were let loose on the Escape with the idea of making it look more "Ford Truck Tough." There's a higher beltline, a more prominent hood and Edge-like headlights. This thing looks like it'd flat out crush the old Escape. Glancing quickly at the pictures, it's easy to confuse it with the Explorer, a testament to the great job Ford's stylists and designers did balancing the proportions and adding family styling cues. Even if you're not buying the Hybrid model, the Escape has paid attention to environmental impact and includes touches like seatcovers made from recycled materials. Powertrains consist of the 2.3 liter Duratec 4 and the 3.0 liter V6 as well as the aforementioned Hybrid that's said to perform on par with the V6 while saving fuel. It's beginning to look like Ford's putting all the Bold Moves talk into action with a muscular restyle of the Escape's exterior and a poshing up that makes the CUV that much more appealing.

Check out the Photo Gallery and Ford's press release after the jump.

[Source: Ford]




The Ford Escape, America's best-selling compact utility vehicle, has a completely new look inside and out for 2008. Escape now makes a powerful statement with a bolder, rugged exterior design that bears a stronger family resemblance to the Ford Explorer and Ford Expedition. The all-new interior resets the bar for small utility vehicles, with more upscale appointments, new innovative storage options, and improved comfort and quietness. In addition, chassis refinements deliver impressive fuel economy and agile driving dynamics that belie the Escape's rugged exterior.

"The 2008 Escape offers the capability and styling of a traditional SUV with the benefits of crossover construction – building on the successful formula that has made the Escape America's favorite small utility vehicle for six years," says Cisco Codina, group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "The new Escape offers a more refined ride, go-anywhere capability, impressive fuel economy, up to 3,500 pounds of towing, and a more comfortable interior that is quieter and more versatile."

The combination of traditional SUV capability and crossover construction made the original Escape an instant success. More than one million Escapes have been sold since its introduction as a 2001 model – more than any other small utility vehicle or crossover of any size. Six years later, Escape remains the sales leader of the small-utility segment, a remarkable feat considering the segment has almost doubled, from 800,000 sales in 2000 to a projected 1.5 million in 2006.

Bolder, Tougher Exterior Design
"The goal from the beginning was to make Escape look even stronger and tougher than the original," says Doyle Letson, chief designer for the 2008 Escape. "We raised the beltline to give the profile a strong, modern proportion of sheetmetal to glass. Then, we sculpted the surfaces for a more Ford Tough Truck appearance, making Escape fit nicely in line with Explorer."

The high beltline is further emphasized by the new blacked-out B-pillars, integrated running boards, available 17-inch wheels, and the deletion of the original Escape's molded-in-color fascias and lower body-side molding.

To integrate the higher beltline, the hood has also been raised and now features a unique "reverse crease" design that draws the eye to the detailed surface. The new front fascia has headlamps that sweep up towards the front corners of the vehicle to short side marker lamps. The new headlights bracket the dramatic new grille.

Refined and Recycled Interior
The 2008 Escape is believed to be the first U.S. automotive application of seating surfaces made from 100 percent recycled materials. The new fabric, supplied by Interface Fabrics, Inc., is made from 100 percent post-industrial recycled materials. Interface Fabrics estimates that Ford's use of post-industrial recycled materials, rather than virgin fibers, will conserve an estimated 600,000 gallons of water, an estimated 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents, and the equivalent of more than 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

Escape also showcases Ford's first use of a "top of dash" display positioned at eye level on the dashboard, which shows ambient temperature, radio functions and climate-control readouts. This simple, efficient design puts much of the vehicle's information in one place at the top of the dashboard, making it easier to reference when driving.

Also improving ease-of-use is the clean, uncluttered center console. Rather than the traditional "brick" design for the radio and temperature controls, Escape features dials and buttons that "poke-through" the center console. The instrument panel houses audio and climate controls, a standard MP3/iPod audio jack, and controls for the available heated seats and in-dash navigation system.

Escape's interior also features the first use of Ford's new, signature Ice Blue interior lighting. The cool blue lighting replaces the traditional green on the instrument cluster, the center console, the redundant controls on the steering wheel, and the door lock and window switches. Ice Blue presents a cool, crisp, easy-on-the-eyes light for night driving and enhances the overall feel of the interior.

Escape's center console is large enough to hold a laptop computer, and there are three levels of storage space. In addition, the center console features two removable bins with innovative dovetail mounting points, which allows the bins to be hung from the front passenger side and rear of the console for additional storage.

Refined, Quiet Interior
Engineers made a host of changes to the 2008 Escape to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels inside the vehicle.

The 2008 Escape is one of the first Ford Motor Company vehicles to use speed-sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS), a sophisticated system that helps correct for road irregularities and improves overall steering feel.

Conventional power steering systems use an engine-driven hydraulic gear, which saps power and efficiency from the engine. The 2008 Escape's new EPS system uses an electric motor, rather than the engine's accessory drive. This new system helps improve fuel economy and eliminates the hydraulic noises typical of conventional hydraulic power-assisted steering systems.

In addition, new recessed channels in the vehicle's roof panel are designed to improve airflow over the top of the vehicle, while horizontal ribs in the roof also strengthen the body structure and help reduce boom noise in the cabin. A new acoustic laminate is sandwiched between two glass panels in the windshield and acoustic headliner also help decrease wind noise. New interior carpeting, which is up to 50 percent increase in thickness, further improves the isolation from road and wind noise.
Compared with the previous model, the 2008 Escape is 12 percent quieter on the highway (30.8 sones to 27 sones at 80 mph in the wind tunnel) and 20 percent quieter in high velocity cross winds.

Standard Safety Equipment and Fuel-efficient Powertrains
Under its skin, the 2008 Escape has one of the most advanced safety packages in the small SUV segment. Escape comes standard with Safety Canopy™ side air curtains, which provide head and neck protection for the first- and second-row passengers, as well as standard side-impact airbags that deploy out of the upper portion of the front seats to protect the upper and lower torso of the driver and passenger. In addition, I-4 and V-6 Escape models come standard with Ford's exclusive AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control.

The 2008 Escape's standard 2.3-liter, 16-valve Duratec 23 I-4 produces 153 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 152 lb.-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm, paired with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The available 3.0-liter, 24-valve V-6 Duratec 30 engine makes 200 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 193 lb.-ft of torque at 4,850 rpm. With a four-speed automatic, the V-6 powered Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Ford Escape Hybrid continues to be a "full" hybrid. This means that, unlike other "mild" hybrid vehicles, Escape Hybrid can run on 100 percent electric power up to about 30 mph, maximizing in-city fuel economy.

At low speeds, power is delivered by a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor, producing 70 kw @ 5,000 rpm and 330V maximum voltage. When additional power is required, the Escape Hybrid's 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine seamlessly engages, contributing 133 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 124 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm. The net result is 155 horsepower with 0-60 times comparable to a 200 horsepower V-6 engine and a boost in city-driving fuel economy of nearly 75 percent. Escape Hybrids are equipped with a smooth-shifting, electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). .

For 2008, Escape Hybrid engineers made revisions to software in the control system to improve transparency, or the transition between gasoline and electric operation. The transition from all-electric to gasoline power to a combination of the two is now even more seamless and virtually imperceptible to the driver.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      As the owner of a 2005 Escape, it took a bit before I got use to the new look. I guess I was expecting 3 chrome bars across the front or something like it. While I like the look of my Escape, I think the new look will serve the new Escape well. Cleaner sides and rear end, with more emphasis on the front end is in line with the look of Ford trucks/SUV's as opposed to the new look their cars/crossovers like the Edge. Several of the interior changes are improvements especially the dash, and center console. I believe they needed to improve the look and feel of the interior components, something pictures can't really convey. Where I think the big mistake lies, is in the power trains. They aren't ahead in the hp game (especially in the V6), which I feel would be ok if instead you lead the mpg pack. As an example Honda with the new CR-V decided that a 4 cylinder was just fine for this segment. Unfortunately the Escape (other than the hybrid) leads neither hp or mpg. I think a real bold move would have been a 6sp auto trans, or at least they should have put in a 5sp auto in both the 4 and 6 cylinder models. These changes would have improved the responsiveness, driveability and increased the mpg with auto trans. At least they still offer a 5sp manual (which is what I have), something both Honda and Toyota seemed to have abandoned in this market.
      • 8 Years Ago

      The grille reminds me of the Subaru Forester years ago
      • 8 Years Ago

      1- Nonsense? Did you not see the first picture in the article? If that is not vomit inducing, then maybe I just have a weak stomach for bling. (Although, it is possible that the picture was so traumatic that your brain has subconsciously block it from your memory.)

      2- Compared to past Ford products? So, essentially what you are saying is that the current bad design, by relative standards, is good in comparison to the monstrously-bad designs of the past. I can accept this. This logically follows the theory that if an ugly person stands next to a really ugly person, they become better looking. But aren't you still just saying that poor achievement is acceptable if it is marginally better than past poor achievement?

      3- Rav4/CR-V? You really want to go there? Go take a look at a current year (2006 or 2007) CR-V or Rav4. Now, I can't argue aesthetics with you, because it's a matter of opinion and taste. But, I can point out the fact that both the Honda and the Toyota has some of the highest consumer satisfaction and reliability ratings of any vehicle in that class.

      I understand that you BELIEVE that the interior quality of this vehicle--one which is not yet on the market and that you have not actually seen in person--is better (based solely on the pictures released by the PR department) than that of the CR-V, but let's hold off on judgment until you get a chance to actually sit in one.

      For now, let's just talk about what we can see for ourselves, the design and specs. And the fact that the FIRST picture makes my stomach churn (*grumble*).

      (Addtionally, the black Escape is actually pretty nice for a 1998 design. I approve.)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think that Ford Motor did a good job with the new interior and exterior styling; I like the center stack and the information display at the top of the dash. Good to see that they decided to go their own direction with the tougher truck look and did not follow all of the other wieners. Everyone has to admit that the RAV/4 is a chick unit. What's up with the dorky spare tire hanging off the back anyway? By the way, those of us that live outside of LA and have to drive in the snow and Ice to work appreciate the AWD option. And gimpboy, if you want a sissymobile, then just go get a RAVVVVVVV.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Very, very disappointed ... I am the current owner of a 2005 Escape. I was very excited to see the 2008 Model and ready to TRADE-UP this summer. NOT NOW! The 2008 looks out of proportion and cheap like the Nissan X-Terra.Yuck! Who are you appealing to? Being from New England,the only great change was finally adding a temp guage which every SUV should always have.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The reality is with the 'big' three that unless they adopt the production and marketing strategy professor Deming had advised them back in the 60s which they rejected and the Japanese adopted, the big three will always be behind in quality, ergo efficiency, reliability, and value for the $US and a turn off for American consumers. This I say from experience with 3 american lemons, one from each of the big three. I have never had a lemon from Toyota or Honda nor had to quibble over warranty issues. Let me know when the "big three" wake up!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ok, ok ok. now WHY does ford have to copy the VW/Audi-chrome-nose deal? if the car were simply body color below the chrome grille, the new escape would be looking beyond-slick, not wannabe-german.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sorry, but from the pictures i have to agree this is uninspiring- and it looks too much like the Explorer. Too big, too heavy, too thick in the front. The old style at least looked nimble and sporty...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm not going to argue aesthetics with anyone here- that is indeed one's own opinion- but I like it. The interior nice and clean but I'd like to see it in another color to really guve it a thumb's up.

      What self-respecting man drives a CR-V- willingly that is? I dare say none. At least this Escape gives some competition for the male buyer looking for a reasonably sized SUV. Does it beat the FJ cruiser or Xterra? No. But throw in the hybrid engine and an improved record of reliability and I am at least looking at Ford again. That's huge coming from this import fanboy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would like an apology from Ford. We were promised an all new Escape, and all this is is a nosejob. And an ugly one at that. The grille is disgustingly overstyled. Do Americans really have that bad taste? Have we all lost our minds in wanting bling bling ghetto features? No. Even VW acknowledges the chrome thing has gone too far with the Passat and Jetta. Note the new Rabbit with no chrome grille. Ford, you are catering to a losing market of fly by night people. These people are not reliable in building sales! I sadly watch the fall continue. What a shame and waste.
      • 8 Years Ago
      bold but not bold enough ... first the engines are still weak n still uses 4-speed automatic tranny .. they got the more powerful version of the 3.0 v6 used in fusion why not use it with this? and 5 speed automatic or even 6speed would be really BOLD MOVE .. they are being bold to where it counts ... they are still way behind the horsepower war
      • 8 Years Ago
      looks just as bold as the current one,
      oh wait, it's still an ugly turd, with a new chrome grill on it

      the interior does look like it has gotten a lot of help - nice start, but needs more, like a total redesign more
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