The 2013 Ford Escape comes with three engines, all of which the EPA says will get at least 30 miles per gallon or better.
The smallest engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder Ecoboost turbo, which produces 178 horsepower. Ford says it gets 5 more mpg than the previous model, at 33 mpg highway and 23 mpg city.
The next engine from that is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, also Ecoboosted, which is Ford’s answer to V-6-equipped competitors. It produces 240 hp, but at little trade-off in efficiency: at 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city, it matches V-6 rivals such as the 269-hp Toyota RAV4, but which also has a lower mpg rating at 19/27 city and highway, respectively.
Finally, a 2.5-liter with iVCT variable valve timing is the Escape’s “big-block” non-Ecoboost engine, and it makes 170 hp while returning 31 highway and 22 city. This engine is curious in that it is larger and not turbocharged, but returns less power, fuel efficiency and torque than the previous two engines. Will consumers find a reason to spring for the 2.5?
Not many companies are resorting to V-6s in their compact crossovers, with most of them switching to four-bangers. Honda’s CR-V comes with just one engine, a 185-horsepower four, while Mazda’s CX-5 produces 155 horsepower from its 2.0-liter Skyactiv four. Curiously, both naturally-aspirated cars get lower fuel economy than Ford’s turbocharged engines, which says volumes about the advantages of turbocharging. It also helps that the Escape is 10 percent more aerodynamic than the chunky older model, and something that Ford is calling an “Active Grille Shutter System” closes the lower grille at highway speeds, for increased aerodynamics.
With three competitive engines that return better fuel economy than most compact crossovers, we won’t be surprised if Ford can’t build enough new Escapes to keep up. It’s a vehicle that could market itself. Which really calls into question why they need a reality TV show about it in the first place.