Ford is bringing its One Ford mantra to bear in the SUV sector for the first time - so this new Escape will in turn mutate into the next Ford Kuga for Europe.
We're expecting the new Kuga in late 2012, with UK sales slated for spring 2013.
Ford Escape: a mix of Vertrek and Kuga
The new Escape 4x4 has heavy overtones of the Vertrek concept car, yet Europeans will be familiar with the Kuga motifs at play.
US buyers apparently bemoaned the unavailability of Kuga style for Stateside motorists, so there's plenty of European influence on the new Escape.
What will be different from Escape for Europe?
We hear the grille and foglamps will change for the 2012 Kuga, and there will be more chrome elements for the European spec models too. Inside the dashboard and centre console will also be different.
Rather obviously, most Europeans will spec their next Kuga with inline four-cylinder engines, the bulk of them being diesel. The US spec Escape, unveiled today at the 2011 LA show, is powered by 1.6 and 2.0 EcoBoost four-pots.
And what are the innovations on the new Escape/Kuga?
There are gadgets like an automated tailgate which lifts at the waggle of a foot; a multimedia system fully compatible with voice control; active park assist to twiddle the wheel for you; and torque vectoring control.
'We call our all-new Ford Escape the ‘Smarter Utility Vehicle’ because it offers the strengths that customers today really value – fuel economy, versatility and new technology that makes driving and living with the vehicle easier and more fun – all wrapped in a sleek, more modern design,' said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of product development. 'Ford understands that more people every year are looking at vehicles like Escape, and we want to give them even more reasons to buy.'