A host of performance upgrades boosts the 2009 Ford Escape's appeal to the discerning driver.
A new 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine replaces last year’s 2.3-liter and features Ford’s intake Variable Cam Timing (I-VCT). The new powerplant boasts an 11 percent increase in horsepower, outputting 171 hp, while also getting 1 mpg better efficiency. “The company claims a front-drive four-banger Escape chops 1.7 seconds from its 0-to-60 time, bringing it down to 10.4 seconds. We handily beat that estimate in our testing, making it to 60 mph in a much-improved 8.9 seconds,” reports Car and Driver.
If you're looking for more oomph, the significantly enhanced 3.0-liter V-6 makes 240 horsepower, up 40 hp from 2008. “The V6 is a significant improvement over last year's version, though a tall first gear sacrifices a bit of off-the-line grunt in favor of fuel economy,” says Popular Mechanics.
According ConsumerGuide, “The 240-hp V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission make for a more responsive compact SUV compared to the old 200-hp V6/4-speed automatic combo. The transmission is the highlight of this powertrain, providing smooth upshifts and snappy downshifts when needed.”
Popular Mechanics says that when the smaller engine is “equipped with the 6-speed automatic, the four-cylinder produces reasonably strong acceleration—certainly enough to satisfy most daily driving conditions.” They also note, “On the road, all three Escape variants accelerate with more authority than before, but they feel more refined, too.” Automobile Magazine asserts the transmission’s “short off-the-line gear ratios are complemented by very long, widely spaced upper gears. Sixth gear is very long—great for highway fuel economy and quiet cruising.”
Fuel economy is as important to the new Escape’s engines as improved horsepower. According to ConsumerGuide, “an AWD V6 Escape averaged 20.0 mpg in driving slightly biased towards highway use. Similar Mercury Mariner AWD 4-cylinder averaged 23.2 mpg in mostly highway driving over the course of its 4802-mile extended-use evaluation.”
Automobile.com sums up the 2009 Ford Escape’s performance, saying “the Escape strikes a good balance between a small exterior size, easily manageable in parking lots and narrow streets, and interior space. Add the recent drivetrain, suspension, and safety upgrades, and an improved interior, and it has stayed competitive in a tough environment.”