The 2013 Ford Escape was debuted at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto show and it looks like it shed itself from the box figure design. It now has a more sleek and curvy look to resemble it’s competitor, Honda with their CR-V model. A risky move since Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) once was a top seller in sport-utility vehicles in the U.s.
Although, both the Escape and CR-V are the fastest-growing SUVs in the U.S. The Escape has been Ford’s second and third best selling vehicle for four years. “When Ford first launched the Escape a decade ago, designers sought to make it look rugged, like an SUV, rather than streamlined like Honda’s CR-V or Toyota’s RAV4. But shoppers are now looking for sleeker design,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president. “We’re injecting a style aspect to it, which consumers are saying, ‘We want, (but) don’t pull back one iota in the utility capability.”
The Ford Escape offers buyers new options this year like being able to choose between three engine offers. One being a 1.6 liter with 170 horsepower and is expected to get around 30 miles per gallon on highway. They are also offering a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder with 240 horsepower. Then the basic engine in the current Escapes with 2.5 liter, four-cylinder, but with some improvements for better fuel economy. Ford is expecting that 80% of buyers will choose the EcoBoost models.
Some more options that buyers will see in the new Ford Escape will be the parallel park assistance that will automatically steer the vehicle into a parking space. A blind-spot alert system that will alert drivers when there is another vehicle close to them, but may be out of their view. Then there is a hands-free lift gate system that will raise the rear gate with a wave of a foot beneath the bumper when your hands are too full.
Ivan Drury, an analyst with Edmunds.com said in a statement about the fierce competition waiting on the other end, “Ford has a lot riding on the redesigned Escape. Consumers will be even more inclined to cross-shop Escape to CR-V and RAV4. If the new Escape follows in the footsteps of Ford’s latest launches as expected, then both Honda and Toyota better keep an eye on the competition.”
According to BusinessWeek, “The Escape outsold the CR-V 206,896 to 180,361 in the U.S. through October, according to researcher Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The CR-V outsold the Escape for the previous five years. Ford trails General Motors Co. in sport- utility vehicle sales so far this year in the U.S.”
Another analyst with Edmunds.com Michelle Krebs said, “This is going to be a real horse race. They’ve both added flair and character lines and upped the ante in technology. But Ford stretched more.”
One more thing to point out with competition ahead is the fact that women are the main buyers when it comes to SUVs. CR-V’s are one the highest sellers to women. Coming in at around 55 percent being sold to women this year, while the Escape’s average is 51 percent. Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive officer of Edmunds, based in Santa Monica, California said, “What we are seeing here is basically station wagons, but we can’t call them that because consumers don’t like that name. They should be called comfort utility vehicles instead of sport- utility vehicles.”
Starting prices for the current CR-V range from $21,895 to $26,845, according to Edmunds. The 2012 Escape starting prices go from $21,440 to $33,080, including hybrid versions, according to Edmunds.
Ford Escape 2013 will go on sale in the first half of 2012 and the CR-V 2013 will go on sale in Decemeber 2011.
Watch the raw footage video below of the 2013 Ford Escape: