Spy Shots: 2012 Ford Escape

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Ford is currently engineering its global C-platform to spawn a trio of crossovers that will include a new Lincoln model, as well as the replacements for the popular Escape SUV and European-market Kuga. As we all know, the C-platform is the modular small car architecture underpinning the 2012 Ford Focus and U.S.-bound C-Max MPV, and soon we will get to see it underpinning these new crossover models.

Today we have spy shots of the 2012 Ford Escape, the next-generation of the Blue Oval’s compact soft-roader, which is expected to hit showrooms early next year.

We got a preview of the styling direction Ford is taking for its new crossover with the unveiling of the attractive Vertrek Concept at January’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Building on the heritage of both the Escape and Kuga, the Vertrek pairs a sleeker, more modern shape with a slightly larger size.

The concept also gave us a preview of the powerplant destined for the 2012 Escape, namely, an EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder mill. That will be one of two engines offered, and may replace the optional 3.0-liter V-6 found in the current model. The other engine is likely to be an evolution of the current Escape's 2.5-liter four.

Further down the track, expect to see a hybrid version complete with a lithium-ion battery. The Blue Oval’s MyFord Touch audio control system and all the electronic goodies you could want should also feature.

Ford is yet to decide if it will stick with the Escape name but considering the current popularity of the badge product planners would be foolish to drop it.

Both the 2012 Escape and Kuga replacement are expected to be built at Ford’s Louisville plant in Kentucky alongside the Lincoln version. The plant is currently undergoing $500 million in renovations and should be operational towards in the second half of the year.

U.S. production of the Kuga means the Saarlouis plant in Germany, which builds the current-generation model, will likely switch to producing just the Focus hatchback and possibly the C-Max.

Look out for the 2012 Ford Escape early next year, possibly with a showing at November’s 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
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