DEARBORN, MI - The 2008 Ford Escape made its debut last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show with a restyled exterior, an all-new and quieter interior package, and a host of standard safety equipment for less money. Set to arrive at dealerships in January, Escape is expected to top 1.5 million units in 2006.

The Escape's exterior profile features a raised hood and beltline and 17-inch aluminum wheels. A combination of engineering and design has also helped the 2008 Escape deliver a 12-percent reduction in noise, vibration, and harshness levels inside the vehicle.

The gas-powered 2008 Escape comes with two engine options: the standard 2.3L, 16-valve Duratec I-4 produces a more fuel-efficient 153 horsepower and 152 lb.-ft. of torque, while the available 3.0L, 24-valve V-6 Duratec 30 engine delivers 200 horsepower and 193 lb.-ft. of torque. With a four-speed automatic, the V-6-powered Escape can tow up to 3,500 lbs.

The Ford Escape Hybrid continues to be a "full" hybrid, meaning it can run on 100-percent electric power up to 25 mph, maximizing in-city fuel economy. Escape's hybrid engineers also made revisions to software in the vehicle's control system to improve transparency, or the transition between gasoline and electric operation.

Ford's advanced safety technology, including the Safety Canopy air curtain system and, on gas-powered models, Advance Trac with Roll Stability Control, are featured as standard safety equipment for 2008.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials