Ford Shelby GT500 (© Rod Hatfield)

Ford Shelby GT500

Ford came to the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show in full force, showcasing new iterations of the high-volume favorites Escape and Flex, an ST-badged go-fast concept version of its Fiesta subcompact and the full roll-out of its 2013 Mustang lineup — including the vicious, 650-horsepower Shelby GT500.

More coverage from the Los Angeles Auto Show

Ford Escape

What is it? A lot is riding on the new Escape, and Ford has packed the newest version of its segment-leading sales champ with additional features and technologies to ensure it stays globally competitive.

What's hot? Besides the sleek new styling reminiscent of the Focus, Ford continues its "democratization of technology" strategy by loading the Escape with standard high-tech features such as the MyFord Touch infotainment system, a new 4-wheel-drive system, a hands-free power liftgate triggered by a sensor under the rear bumper, park assist, curve control, and torque control and blind-spot sensors.

What's not? Both 1.6- and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines are available as options above the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, boosting fuel economy by 5 mpg from the outgoing model. However, the Escape won't be offered as a hybrid — an odd choice, given Ford's propensity for gas-electric powertrains and the fact that the Escape is the best-selling SUV in America.

How much and when? Price has yet to be announced. But the new Escape will be here in summer 2012

MSN Autos' verdict: A better-looking and more feature-heavy Escape signals nothing but continued success for Ford's best-selling SUV.

See: New SUVs Under $30,000

Ford Flex

What is it? More than a simple visual refresh of its boxy people-mover, the new model offers more power and more compelling features and in-car tech. But don't worry, Flex lovers: It's still plenty boxy.

What's hot? In short, more power and more features. The Flex's 3.5-liter V6 engine gets an upgrade, including twin independent variable camshaft timing, that boosts horsepower by 20, to 285, while slightly improving fuel economy. Inside, the vehicle gets the same inflatable rear seatbelts as in the Ford Explorer, plus blind-spot and collision-warning systems and radar-enabled adaptive cruise control.

What's not? The styling of the boxy Flex has always been polarizing, and nothing will change with this new iteration — which, if anything, is even more composed of right angles and vertical through-lines than the outgoing model.

How much and when? Price has yet to be announced. It will hit dealerships in summer 2012

MSN Autos' verdict: Those who liked the original execution of the Flex will find a more capable model with more high-tech features; those who didn't probably won't have their minds changed by the new model.

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