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New, Larger Engine in 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner Offers Improved Fuel Efficiency and More Power; New Platform for Hybrid Models

The 2009 Escape.

The new 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, announced this week at the Washington Auto Show, feature a new, larger 2.5-liter engine and a new 6-speed automatic transmission.

The new powertrain is expected to improve the Escape and Mariner’s EPA estimated fuel economy by 1 mile per gallon and to provide an 11% increase in horsepower to 170 hp (127 kW). The new engine also is the new platform for Ford’s hybrid Escape and Mariner. Adapted to the Atkinson cycle, the engine is the first from Ford to incorporate variable valve timing on a engine applied in a hybrid powertrain.

The 2008 FWD Escape with 2.3-liter engine and automatic transmission carries an EPA combined cycle fuel economy rating of 22 mpg.

The new 2.5-liter engine with intake variable cam timing (IVCT) delivers a 17-horsepower increase in output over the outgoing 2.3-liter engine. The engine delivers peak torque of 225 Nm (166 lb-ft), and features dual-mode crankshaft damping, electronic throttle control and PowerPC engine electronic control.

With the improvements, Escape and Mariner also achieve ULEV II emissions certification.

An optional, 230-hp (172 kW), 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, due to the new 6-speed transmission and engine enhancements, including new pistons, cylinder heads and fuel injection system. The 2008 version with the 3.0-liter engine carries an EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg.

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 is designed to provide 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.

  • 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.

Under the hood of the 2009 Escape Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Hybrids. 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. Ford says that 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 for MY 2009 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 a safety technology.

In 2007, Ford Escape Hybrid recorded a 10.4% increase in sales versus 2006, with 21,386 units sold, while Mercury Mariner Hybrid sales were up 17% over 2006 to 3,722 units. Total Ford Escape sales were up 5.2% to 165,596. Mercury Mariner was up 2.6% to 34,844 units.



Nice job Ford! They've increased the horsepower, and still have a 1 mpg gain in efficiency. These little SUV's get better fuel mileage than a lot of economy cars. I just wish Ford would work harder and faster at hybrid-izing (if that's a word) the rest of their fleet.


It sounded to me like they need to improve quality and dealer technician training. There have been some online comments concerning this.

I would like to see them put this in a Fusion. I assumed that the Mazda 6 platform went into the Tribute, Escape and Fusion vehicles, if that is the case it should not be much of a redesign.

Ford needs a hybrid Fusion to contend with Camry and Altima hybrids. They migh sell a lot more vehicles there than with this.

Harvey D

Is the 6-speed transmission available with the I-4 engine on the hybrid and non-hybrid versions?


I've read a few places that Ford is planning to bring out a hybrid Fusion sometime in 2008, although not exactly sure when. Check out the following link, (although it won't tell you a whole lot more in terms of specifics):

I agree by the way, a Fusion and also Focus hybrid would get Ford more in the game. Wouldn't mind seeing them tackle a 2-mode arrangement like GM with their F150's and Edge crossover too.


Online sites have been talking about a Fusion hybrid since 2006, but now there is renewed talk about one in 2009 with some photos taken by people not working for Ford.

If I were Ford management, I would be working on one and announce that it will be available in 2009. That might slow some of the Camry and Altima hybrid sales. However, judging from how Japanese car oriented buyers are in California, probably not much.

These little SUV's get better fuel mileage than a lot of economy cars.
20 MPG?  Schmeltz, you are either joking or insane.

I have a non-economy car (Passat TDI) which is averaging 37 MPG and can haul a ton of payload (w. trailer).  If your SUV can't beat my car, it's pathetic.


Pardon me for being impatient and generally annoyed with current the current (slow) pacing and (mis) direction of Hybrids... but, doesn't it seem like we could have gotten several miles per gallon just from the transmission going from 4 to 6 speed (not too mention the aerodynamics, VVT, and tires) - but they grabbed some of that back for power? I would have like to have seen 5hp more, and 4 or 5 more miles per gallon...


Just taking accessories off of the belt drive helps. Electric power steering can increase mileage. If you think about a hydraulic pump running off a rubber belt, you can imagine some losses there.


You have a car none of us can buy new, thanks to CAFE states - a high-efficiency turbodiesel.

We expect you'd get close to 40 mpg - near impossible to match that in any non-hybrid gasser.

>I have a non-economy car (Passat TDI)


You have a car none of us can buy new, thanks to CARB states - a high-efficiency turbodiesel.

We expect you'd get close to 40 mpg - near impossible to match that in any non-hybrid gasser.

>I have a non-economy car (Passat TDI)


Referring to, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid FWD version has fuel mileage estimates of:

34 City / 30 Highway

Compare that to 2008 Honda Fit w/5 speed Automatic:

27 / 34 / 30

I think the 20 mpg you were referring to was in regards to the 3.0L V6?

Harvey D


Have you noticed the major differences between offical gov. test results and 'best drivers' results?

Here are a few for 2008 hybrids based on average (city + highways) :

Prius = 46 mpg and 56 mpg
Civic = 42 mpg and 51 mpg
Camry = 34 mpg and 42 mpg
Escape = 32 mpg and 34 mpg

With the exception of the Escape, good Hybrid drivers have been getting 20% to 25% better average mileage than the official govn. tests. Are the govn tests too generous for the Escape or are Escape drivers not as good??? It looks a bit fishy

The Prius is declared the best by government tests and 'good' drivers by 4 mpg and 5 mpg respectively..



You need to factor in all Prius's that are getting 32MPG because they are doing 75-80mph on the 101.



Remember the changed the drive cycle for the most recent "fuel economy" tests. Higher speeds, more aggressive acceleration, etc.

It used to be (5 years ago?) everyone from car magazines to internet message boards would lament how the EPA test was unrealistic and much higher than real world. [of course the general browser here has probably always achieved or exceeded the EPA estimates but the general public always falls short due to driving habits that use more fuel].


I bought an I4 RAV4 thinking I would get 90% of EPA mileage like I have with my cars in the past. 21 mpg in town wouldn't have been bad, since I was getting 18 with my V6, and the Ford dealer I had bought my Taurus from wouldn't budge on his price for the Escape Hybrid.
Now I am getting 17-18 mpg in town with my RAV4, about 70% of the EPA (2007 schedule) mileage, and I have been driving like my Grandmother to get better mileage. Man, do I wish I had forgotten my pride and bought the Escape! I am loving the utility of the RAV4, even a small SUV is plenty for me, but the mileage truly irritates.
Side question, would a K&N airfilter help much and would it invalidate my warranty? I have heard, 'not a bit' to '15% better'.


Schmeltz, not only do both the Fit and Escape hybrid get about the same mileage, they also seat the same number of people, and have about the same amount of cargo/interior room.

The biggest difference between the two is that one costs about ten grand less than the other one. Guess which one that is. ;)


Ziv, driving like a grandma won't help mileage necessarily, especially in the city, and don't bother with the K&N filter unless you get the matching intake and chrome exhaust tip too. ;)

hampden wireless

Real world on the K&N for me has been 3% or so. Its still worth it! Just don't look for any big increase.


I also get a few % from the K&N. I get about 2mpg more, which at 30mpg, saves me 1 gal per tank. That's 3 dollars a week and it pays for itself pretty quickly.


Anyone is gonna have to do a ton of (hopefully controlled) runs within a short time period in order to find a statistically significant result for something that small. Real world variations are wayyyyy more than 3%, so it's even way m04r 4real tough3r for anyone to distinguish signal from noise for a result that small in an everyday environment.

In any event, given the wealth of tested and tried mods that would result in significantly more bang for the buck, a K&N filter is somewhere around a Carbon Fiber air cleaner in my book.


k&n filter is pretty much a waste of time. i have one and didn't get any benefit from it until my PCM was re-flashed.
PCM re-flashing is one of the best options for increasing efficiency. i was able to have the torque curve smoothed out so i feel more power throughout my entire band. i also experienced a sometimes significant gain in mpg.
for a colorado ("compact" pickup) i can now return 23-25mpg on the highway (compare to 20-22 before)..

just my $.02


Remove your accessory belts and the accessories if you are desparate for some increased fuel efficiency! It will give you better acceleration performance and is free (other than the time involved) with the exception that you might have to replace a single serpentine belt with a much smaller one.

Bob Bastard

Joseph, I drove my Wife's 08 Prius home 4.5 hours from NYC on Monday evening. We got a late start and I had to drive much faster than I normally like to. I was doing 75-80 most of the way. The car had me, my wife, my daughter and her car seat plus all our luggage plus groceries and booze we brought from NY. According to the car's computer, we averaged 45.3 mpg. This is the worst mileage we have gotten yet. Since we purchased the car in November, my wife has consistently obtained 46 mpg running around, which is slightly lower than I was hoping. I suspect this is because most of the trips are short, coupled with her driving style. When I've driven the car, I normally get around 48 mpg, but I've gotten as high as 52 mpg. I suspect there are very few Prius owners who are consistently getting 32 mpg.

John L.


I'm impatient too. When presented with an opportunity to increase horsepower and/or fuel economy, Detroit always votes for horsepower.

U.S. auto manufacturers will never redeem themselves in my mind until they get serious about reducing gasoline use.


Yes, I too am curious as to where all these Prius drivers are that are getting 32 mpg. Most Prius owners on the net rarely get lower than 40 mpg in real world driving, highway or not.

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