2009 Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid

2009 Ford EscapeFord will be showing off the 2009 Escape Hybrid and it's sister, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid, at the Washington Auto Show. The newly redesigned hybrid may have better fuel economy (by 1 mpg) but will definitely have more power (11 percent improvement, 170 hp).

Ford is also displaying their prototype plug-in Hybrid Escape at the Washington Auto Show.

The 2009 Escape Hybrid will come with a 2.5-liter engine, which is larger than the 2.3 liter engine in the current model. While the Escape Hybrid still comes with a continuously variable transmission, Ford has added variable valve timing on the intake, increasing the hp to 170. You can also get the 2009 Escape (and Mariner) Hybrid as an optional 230 hp, 3.0 liter V6 engine. Sales of the new Escape and Mariner will begin in the summer (so look for sales on the older model).

With the possible improvements in fuel economy, the Escape and Mariner also achieve ULEV II emissions certification.

The new hybrid also comes with some aerodynamic changes and new 16-inch low-rolling resistance tires. You also get the stability and roll control systems, AdvanceTrac with RSC and a smoother braking system.

2009 Mercury MarinerWhat this means to you: While better aerodynamics and better braking systems (smoother) are welcome, I think Ford is missing the point. Hybrid car (or SUV) buyers don't want an upgrade in power. I think a real upgrade in fuel economy would have turned heads. What do you think?

Press Release Follows:


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Press Releases

2009 Ford Escape

* 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner crossovers improve fuel efficiency with new, more powerful I-4 and V-6 engines and 6-speed transmissions.
* Ford’s full-hybrid Escape and Mariner gain performance and refinement improvements for 2009.
* Ford adds three vehicles to its flexible fuel (FFV) line-up for the 2009 model year – Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator SUVs and Ford E-Series Econoline vans.
* Ford and Southern California Edison showcase 120-mpg Escape Plug-in Hybrid.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 22, 2008 – Today at the Washington Auto Show and Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Ford Motor Company announced its hot-selling compact SUVs, the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, will become more fuel efficient, more powerful and more connected for the 2009 model year.

Ford also announced that it is expanding its commitment to biofuels by adding three additional vehicles to its E85-capable flexible fuel line-up for 2009 – the E-Series van, as well as the standard and extended-length models of the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. These additional product actions are part of Ford’s sustainability strategy, which also includes high-volume introductions of EcoBoost gas turbocharged direct injection engines.

Speaking today at Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally met with industry leaders and media to share today’s announcement and discuss how Ford is accelerating the development of new products and technologies customers want and value. Mulally also reaffirmed that Ford will reach benchmark levels of new or significantly freshened products, delivering a showroom with 70 percent new or freshened vehicles by the end of 2008 and 100 percent by 2010.

“This year, we make good on our commitment to freshen our showrooms,” Mulally said. “We just introduced the new 2009 Ford F-150 last week, and it was a hit. We also have Lincoln MKS and Ford Flex coming, as well as a new Mustang early next year.”

At the Washington Auto Show, Sue Cischke, Ford senior vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, outlined the company’s high-volume customer-focused strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy.

“Ford Motor Company is increasing fuel economy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions with affordable technologies for millions of customers,” said Cischke. “In the near term, we will leverage existing technologies to achieve those goals, including advanced engines and multi-speed transmissions. The 2009 Escape and Mariner are great examples of how we’re delivering today.”

2009 Mercury Mariner

Fuel-efficient new 2.5-liter Engine

The new 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner make strides in fuel economy and emissions with a new, 2.5-liter engine and a smooth new fuel-saving 6-speed automatic transmission.

Not only is the new powertrain expected to improve the Escape and Mariner’s EPA estimated fuel economy by 1 mile per gallon, it will also give the customer an 11 percent increase in horsepower to 170 horsepower.

The new 2.5-liter engine with intake variable cam timing (IVCT) boasts a 17-horsepower increase in output over the outgoing 2.3-liter engine.

Responsive with its peak 166 ft. lb. of torque, the engine also is refined, with dual-mode crankshaft damping, electronic throttle control and PowerPC engine electronic control.

The anticipated 1 mpg improvement in fuel economy will make Escape and Mariner more than competitive in the segment. With the improvements, Escape and Mariner also achieve ULEV II emissions certification.

The new engine also is the new basis for Ford’s hybrid models, ushering in a host of improvements that will make the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid even more appealing. Adapted to the Atkinson cycle, the engine is the first for Ford to incorporate variable valve timing on a hybrid engine.

“More than ever, the Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid are the ultimate vehicles for commuters in the daily battle with urban traffic congestion,” said Cischke. “For every eight Escape and Mariner vehicles we sell, one of them is a hybrid, and the appeal is growing.”

An optional, 230-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 engine – a 30-hp increase over last year – also is offered. It, too, will offer an estimated 1 mpg fuel economy improvement and better acceleration, thanks to the new 6-speed transmission and engine enhancements, including new pistons, cylinder heads and fuel injection system.

Spotlight on Fuel Efficiency, Even in the Performance Version

The new, more fuel-efficient automatic 6-speed transmission featured in the Escape and Mariner offers a significant improvement in powertrain smoothness and drivability, replacing the four-speed automatic previously offered.

Its flexibility allows Escape and Mariner to feature a longer final-drive ratio for optimal fuel economy, while its smooth-shifting quality provides an enhanced experience for the driver, especially in combination with the more powerful engines in the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner family.

Fuel savings also come from additional design and engineering features, including:

* Aerodynamic improvements, including a new front fascia chin spoiler and rear tire spoilers also play a role in the fuel economy story.
* A new 16-inch Michelin tire design offers improved rolling resistance that contributes to fuel efficiency, while also bringing improvements in quiet operation, steering and handling, and stopping distance.

All Escape and Mariner models now feature Easy Fuel™, a capless refueling system. This feature is not only a convenience for customers but also helps to prevent evaporative fuel emissions.

Escape and Mariner also incorporate new features to improve dynamic handling and ride characteristics, including a new 18.5 mm rear stabilizer bar and revised suspension tuning. Powertrain sound quality is enhanced by a new air induction system for V-6 engine models and a new exhaust system on all models.

Ford Hybrids: More Refinement, Safety and Performance

The new 2.5-liter engine also is the new foundation for the Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid models. Adapted for hybrid use, the engine is Ford’s first to use variable valve timing on an Atkinson cycle hybrid engine. Advancements in engine processor technology enable a nearly imperceptible transition from gas to electric mode.

A new brake system also provides a more seamless transition from regenerative braking to traditional braking. It incorporates a new pedal sensor that gives the driver better feedback and pedal feel similar to that of a traditional vacuum-assisted hydraulic system.

Also new this year is a new standard safety feature – AdvanceTrac® with RSC®. Already standard on gas-powered models, this patented Ford Motor Company stability control system includes roll stability control. Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid are the only small hybrids to offer such an advanced safety technology.

At the Washington Auto Show, Ford will display a Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) alongside the production Escape Hybrid. The plug-in research vehicle uses high voltage, lithium-ion batteries and can travel up to 30 miles on battery power alone before switching to full hybrid mode, delivering the equivalent of up to 120 miles per gallon for far fewer trips to the gas station.

Ford is collaborating with Southern California Edison in a unique partnership to advance the commercialization of PHEVs, demonstrating the potential for two industries to change the transportation and energy future.

This is part of Ford’s sustainability strategy, which also includes a new engine technology called EcoBoost that will deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy and 15 percent fewer CO2 emissions on half a million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles annually in North America starting within the next five years.

The EcoBoost family of 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines features turbocharging and direct injection technology and will be used in a range of global vehicles – from small cars to large trucks. Compared with more expensive hybrids and diesel engines, EcoBoost builds upon today’s affordable gasoline engine and improves it, providing more customers with a way to improve fuel economy and emissions without compromising driving performance.

More Technology, Connectivity

The popularity of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner reflects a trend of continuous improvement and product enhancement, including the most “connected” driving experience available today.

New optional equipment includes:

* SYNC, the award-winning Ford in-car connectivity system developed with Microsoft, will be offered in Escape and Mariner. New for the 2009 model-year, SYNC features “911 Assist” which will help drivers connect with emergency assistance in the event of air bag deployment. Also available for 2009, SYNC will offer Vehicle Health Reports, which are designed to keep owners up to speed with vehicle maintenance needs through the syncmyride.com web site.

* SIRIUS® Travel Link™ , which offers real-time traffic, weather, fuel price, sports schedules and movie information when combined with Ford’s next-generation navigation system with voice recognition.

Growing Popularity

With the continuous improvements to the 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, the vehicles are primed to build on their sales success in the 2007 calendar year, which included record hybrid volume. Highlights include:

* Ford Escape Hybrid recorded a 10.4 percent increase in sales versus 2006, with 21,386 units sold, while Mercury Mariner Hybrid sales were up 17 percent over 2006 to 3,722 units.

* Total Ford Escape sales were up 5.2 percent to 165,596. Mercury Mariner was up 2.6 percent to 34,844 units.

The Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner are produced at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, and the 2009 models will go on sale this summer.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com


Anonymous said...

People buy hybrid cars because of the fuel economy first. There is a very small element of environmentalist that purchase hybrids because of emissions, but there are many other options out there to meet that need.

I suspect people buy SUV's for fuel economy first, but given a preference would want more power if fuel economy was reasonable. I've hesitated from buying the Escape because it can't do what I need an SUV to do (haul, tow).

Unknown said...

Yes, there is a group of the buying public who would pick on that basis, but if you do, then chances are you won't buy an SUV hybrid. The premium cost (for right now) doesn't seem to be worth it.

But there's a big demand for higher fuel economy. There are already SUVs out there that tow/haul for less money. Imagine an SUV that gets closer to 40 mpg. I believe there is a large untapped market for just that. People who need the larger vehicle for hauling things around (on the inside, like large families), but would love to get much improved gas mileage.

Anonymous said...

I drove the hybrid a couple of months ago & noticed the difference between the Mariner & the Prius models in acceleration & top end performance. There was a huge difference. I do WANT TO BUY AMERICAN MADE, so I am waiting for the 2009 to come out, since it has improved its' horsepower etc. I'll be buying an AMERICAN MADE HYBRID this summer.

I'm hoping this new version will have the radio channel changing on the steering wheel as well, without having to buy into the HEATED package... I live in Arizona, and the HEATED SEAT is somthing I dont really need -

Unknown said...

It's fascinating sometimes how they pair certain items together so that you are forced to buy both. But that's the way car companies work (dealerships, too) on getting you to pay for more of the optional items.

Anonymous said...

I've had two Escape Hybrids: A 2005 and currently a 2008. The 2008 is in another world over the 2005 in terms of quality, style, and value. It is a fantastic vehicle if you don't need to tow, and fills a need that no other does that I'm aware of: The added safety of All-Wheel-Drive (up to 25 MPH) for winter driving, great visibility with its high seating position, and a comfortable interior makes long-distance travel a pleasure. I'll definitely continue to buy the Escape hybrid as long as they continue to improve upon it.

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about the hybrid having more horsepower? The standard version of the new 2.5l has 170 hp, but no hp figures have been released for the Atkinson-ish version of the engine.

Unknown said...

All the information comes directly from Ford. It's their press release, so I'm not sure I understand your question?

Anonymous said...

Mike nailed this one. You are looking for a SUV so obviously you have something to tow or a lot to carry. But will many people want to drop 50 on the Durango hybrid-hemi when the mpg is going to go from 14 to 18?

I would like to pull my boat a few times a year without having to get an old beater truck to do it. Not sure what the towing on this is going to be, but the 2008 was rated for 1000. That is barely going to pull a trailer and two guys.

Anonymous said...

I think their stock will continue to suffer until they get it. They need heads turning for them right now and I'm convinced they have some old school high execs that still think, "This fuel efficient stuff is just a phase. People want power!"

Anonymous said...

if you wan towing power get the Toyota Highlander hybrid...it is 265hp, as opposed to this which isnt even 200.

Anonymous said...

I had a 2008 Mariner hybrid 4x4 which, unfortunatly, was totaled in a collision. We just went out and bought the 2009 Mariner hybrid. After looking at all of the other models, nothing matched this car for a combination of size, comfort, fuel economy and 4-wheel drive capability. This car is solid and makes me feel safe - love it

Unknown said...

Now if only Ford would make more of them. The Ford Escape Hybrid is still the most economical choice when it comes to hybrid SUVs, but Ford needs to make more of them.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why they can't make more of these. Ford is hurting and this should be a hot product so why not make more. It's hard to conserve and be green when we can only talk about it.

Unknown said...

The problem so far is one of cost. Until this year, Ford was losing money on each hybrid they sold. With the addition of two new hybrid cars, the cost is supposedly going to come down enough and Ford will now begin making money off of their hybrid vehicles.

Hopefully, that will lead to more Ford hybrids available.

Anonymous said...

I like the improved horsepower of the 2009 Escape Hybrid. The fuel economy has been satisfactory but its a pretty big truck, really, and needs the power.

Anonymous said...

Own a 2008 FEH and love it. Average 34 mph on combined city and highway driving. Handles just fine in the Wisconsin snow and has great flexibility to carry large items. I don't tow things and I do not go offroad so this is a great SUV for the city. Its a comfortable ride and a great way to get chicks who take the environment a little to seriously.

Anonymous said...

The 2008 version is so amazing especailly the back seat if you know what I mean Im hoping the 2009 will be amazing cause im buying it I know cool huh!!!

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