The 2009 Ford Escape: More Performance with Better Fuel Economy. Seriously.
story & snaps- Amee Reehal
The 2009 Ford Escape proves that ‘compact’ need not equate to ‘compromise’ or ‘less.’ In fact, Canada’s top-selling compact SUV now offers more power and better fuel economy—yes, that’s a bit of a paradox, but one consumers will gladly accept and dare not question!
As Ron Razzano, the Escape vehicle-engineering manager puts it, “With gas prices rising, we want to offer customers even more fuel-efficient vehicles…but more fuel efficient doesn’t need to mean reduced performance. We tried to give our customers more of both, so there wouldn’t be any compromise.” The powertrain for 2009 includes a new 2.5-litre I-4 engine producing 171-hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. That’s an 11-percent increase in power over the previous 2.3-litre, 153-hp engine.
While this new engine may provide more horses, it’s the introduction of the 6F-mid-range 6-speed automatic transmission that will save you money. The new 6-speed is calibrated for cruising fuel efficiency without sacrificing launch feel and performance in lower gears, proving to be 4 to 6-percent more fuel efficient than it’s 4-speed predecessor.
Another improvement over last year is the optional 3.0-litre V6 engine creating 240-hp, with new components including cylinder heads, intake and exhaust, cams, etc. Paired to the 6F-mid transmission, also generates 1-mpg better fuel economy for both city and highway.
Aerodynamic improvements, such as a redesigned front spoiler and new rear tire spoilers, coupled with tire technology, including cooperation with Michelin to develop new low-rolling resistance tires, also contribute to the Escape’s increased fuel efficiency.
Rick Gemin, the Escape’s marketing plans manager states, “The 2009 Escape also has a quieter ride and handles better, with an engaging character and fun-to-drive nature.”
A revised shock absorber and addition of a new rear stabilizer bar, coupled with the retuned steering system and a better ABS system, all contribute to increased responsiveness and car-like drivability to the Escape—a welcome addition to any SUV.
The interior is roomy and comfortable, and scores points for being ‘green’ as well; the addition of comfort-designed seats not only feel good, they include soy-based foam that substitutes for petroleum-based products to conserve limited resources and reduce CO2 emissions. If that’s not ‘green’ enough for you, eco-friendly seat fabrics are also offered.
Safety features for the 2009 Escape include:
• AdvanceTrac with RSC
• SafetyCanopy, a side air curtain technology offering protection for the first and second rows
• PersonalSafteySystem: seven safety technologies including dual-stage front air bags and front passenger sensor system
• A tire pressure monitoring system
• Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system on rear seating positions
2009 Escape Hybrid
I had the opportunity to test both the 2009 Escape XLT w/ V6 engine and the 2009 Escape Hybrid; one week each, back-to-back.
While this review is solely on the non-hybrid version, the Escape Hybrid certainly warrants some discussion.
Driving from Ford’s Oakville head-office, to my brother’s place on Bay Street, to Niagara-on-the-Lake, back to Toronto, and everywhere in-between, I garnered countless Kms and barely used one full tank of fuel.
All thanks to the new 2.5-litre, I-4 Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with an engine processor that enables discreet transitions between gas and electric vehicle mode. Same as the non-hybrid version, the Hybrid’s new I-VCT technology provides improved fuel economy as well.
For 2009, the packaged option includes six-spoke aluminum wheels and exterior chrome accents; standard AM/FM 6CD changer; chrome and ebony interior appointments; ambient lighting, heated front leather seating surfaces, a power moonroof and retractable cargo cover area, all part of the luxury & convenience package. SecuriCode keyless entry is also offered in this package.
For more info on the 2009 Ford Escape, visit http://www.ford.ca/app/fo/en/suvs_crossovers/escape.do?WT.srch=1;
This review is also posted at http://www.pasmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=947&Itemid=105