2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Gets Best MPG Rating ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Gets Best MPG Rating

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Gets Best MPG Rating

The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid has improved its fuel economy by 1 mpg over the 2008 model, getting a 34 city/31 highway mpg rating from the EPA.  Since the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner Hybrid (and Mazda Tribute) are all built the same, you should expect the same improvements in the 2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid.

Read up on more of the improvements to the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid.

The 2009 model comes with a new 2.5 liter I-4 Atkinson combustion cycle engine.  Ford has also improved the processor, allowing for better transitions between gas and electric motoring, that has also allowed speeds up to 35 mph on all electric.  The new powertrain has also reduced vibrations.

Ford also updated the aerodynamics, allowing for a 17 point aero gain.  That translates to a .75 mpg increase at 70 mph.

The new improvements in fuel economy will help Ford attain a ULEV II emissions.

The engine did improve the Escape's power output, while basically retaining the fuel economy levels.  While the extra power is welcomed, fuel economy seems to be the selling point of the day.

Press Release Follows:

DEARBORN, Mich., July 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The 2009 Ford Escape, equipped with a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission, is the coveted fuel economy leader among all small SUVs.

With fuel prices at record highs, the 2009 Ford Escape with front-wheel drive is the smart choice for SUV customers, thanks to its 28 highway/20 city mpg, fun-to-drive performance.

"With gas prices rising, we want to offer our customers even more fuel-efficient vehicles," says David Finnegan, Escape marketing manager. "At the same time, we don't want to compromise performance. The 2009 Escape proves that we can provide customers best-in-class fuel economy without asking them to sacrifice."

"Escape has it all -- more horsepower, a smoother, more refined ride and class-leading fuel economy," Finnegan added. "Coupled with the fact that we offer the Escape Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet, the story can't get much better for small SUV customers."

Power of the Powertrain

The Escape's new 2.5-liter I-4 engine produces 171 hp, an 11 percent increase in power output versus the 2.3-liter version it replaces. The engine uses intake variable cam timing (iVCT) technology to optimize valve timing, creating a broad torque curve that helps deliver the increased power along with the improved efficiency.

The powertrain also incorporates electronic throttle control (ETC), dual-mode crankshaft damping and new intake and exhaust manifolds, which refine performance and contribute to greater fuel efficiency.

Pairing the engine with the new optional six-speed automatic transmission further drives Escape's competitive advantage, contributing up to a 6 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Gearing efficiencies and calibration changes help drive the significant gains as well, said Derek Bier, Escape Vehicle Engineering supervisor.

The new six-speed transmission, for example, is calibrated for fuel efficiency while cruising in sixth gear -- without sacrificing launch feel and performance feel in lower gears. It also has an adaptive shift feature that learns shift patterns and optimizes for each vehicle and driver style.

In addition, the six-speed has an integral cold-weather bypass for quicker warm-ups, lubricating the engine faster at each turn of the ignition key. This delivers real-world fuel economy gains.

"Typically, you have to choose performance or fuel economy. With the new Escape, it's an 'and' proposition, not an 'or,'" Bier said of the new powertrain and six-speed automatic transmission package. "A 2009 I-4 is as
fast as a 2008 Escape V-6. In turn, a 2009 Escape V-6 delivers the same fuel economy as a 2008 Escape I-4."

Aero and More

Two seemingly subtle aerodynamic changes also play a part in the Escape's fuel economy story.

A new front chin spoiler and rear tire spoilers help reduce wind drag. These modifications account for a 17-count aero improvement, said Bier. This means customers gain 0.75 mpg when travelling at 70 mph.

Escape also features new low-rolling-resistance tires. Developed in cooperation with Michelin, the 16-inch Latitude Tour tires have a unique mold design, reduced weight and a new tread pattern that all work together to produce less friction with the road, reducing fuel consumption.

The tires also contribute to Escape's refined performance. "The tires improve braking, deliver more precise handling, responsive steering and reduce noise," said Bier.

The 3.0-liter V-6

The improved 3.0-liter V-6 available on the 2009 Escape is writing its own important chapter in Ford's fuel economy story.

The V-6 delivers 40 more horsepower than its 2008 predecessor for a total of 240 horsepower, and paired with the six-speed automatic transmission, this more powerful engine is producing a 2 mpg improvement on
the highway for both front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations -- delivering 26 mpg and 24 mpg, respectively.

The 3.0-liter debuts an industry-first Cam Torque Actuated (CTA) iVCT technology that uses available camshaft torsional energy rather than pressurized oil to phase the camshafts. This allows for a smaller
displacement oil pump over traditional hydraulic VCT systems for improved fuel economy.

"With this technology, we are taking energy that is in your engine today -- energy that was previously wasted -- and using it to make an engine more efficient," said Steve Wilkie, supervisor of Cam Drive/VCT Design.

"As we launch the Escape, we are touting performance and fuel economy," he added. "The cam torque actuated technology is a significant player in the 3.0-liter's ability to provide customers both."

This innovative method uses torsional energy to move the camshafts similar to the way a hydraulic ratchet works. The system takes oil from one side of the phaser and channels it to the other side, rather than draining one side and filling the other as with a traditional hydraulic system. This allows the CTA system to work more efficiently at all engine speeds and it requires a smaller oil pump, which equates to lower parasitic energy loss.

CTA, in this case, reduces oil pump flow requirements by 25 percent, producing a fuel economy benefit up to 0.4 percent.

In addition, the CTA-based system responds more quickly than a traditional hydraulic oil actuated VCT system, improving tip-in performance feel and contributing to horsepower gains.


Escape Hybrid continues to deliver fuel economy gains as well, strengthening its title as the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly SUV on the planet. For 2009, the Hybrid achieved a 1 mpg improvement on the highway, for 34 city/31 highway mpg.

The upgraded Hybrid model will use the new 2.5-liter I-4 designed to run on the Atkinson combustion cycle. A new engine processor enables nearly imperceptible transitions between gas and electric vehicle mode. Plus, control system enhancements offer customers more electric mode driving, switching over from gas at 35 mph rather than 25 mph with the previous model.

The Escape Hybrid also features a new powertrain damping system to reduce vibrations and feedback to the driver and other occupants.

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