Ford Escape

From Ford press: The Ford Escape, one of America’s best-selling small utility vehicles, is completely redesigned inside and out for 2008. Escape now makes a more powerful statement with a bolder, more 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. Meanwhile, chassis refinements deliver impressive fuel economy and agile driving dynamics that belie the Escape’s rugged exterior.

The Escape helped ignite consumer demand for more fuel-efficient small-utility vehicles, which almost doubled the small-utility market from 800,000 units in 2000 to an estimated 1.5 million in 2006.

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 among the sales leaders of the small-utility segment, a remarkable feat considering the increased segment volume.

The 2008 Escape’s standard 2.3-liter, 16-valve Duratec 23 I-4 produces 153 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 152 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm and comes with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. An available 3.0-liter, 24-valve V-6 Duratec 30 engine makes 200 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 193 pound-feet of torque at 4,850 rpm mated to a 4-speed automatic.

Gallery: Ford Escape