2013 Ford Escape EcoBoost – Fuel Economy AND Performance

2013 Ford Escape EcoBoost

Ford has promised an EcoBoost high-efficiency engine in most of its product line by 2015 and the Escape will be the first SUV to see that, making for a sporty, fun, roomy and very efficient ride.

The manufacturer says

The Ford Escape, America’s best-selling SUV, will raise the bar even higher with the debut of an all-new model that features 11 new exclusive features and fuel economy projected to top any vehicle of its kind on the market today. Escape is America’s best-selling utility vehicle, and the Ford team has worked hard to make sure we deliver even more of what small SUV owners really want.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Ford
  • Year, Model: 2013 Escape EcoBoost
  • Class, Type: SUV
  • Propulsion system: Gasoline
  • Fuel(s): Gasoline
  • Base Price: $22,470
  • MSRP as tested: $30,198
  • Availability:
  • In dealerships now

Overview

The Ford Escape EcoBoost is a sport utility full of surprises. First, the smaller 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is very sporty and responsive compared to a similar-sized engine thanks to its 178 horsepower output and the mating Ford gave it to a tried-and-true 6-speed automatic transmission. The EcoBoost in the larger F150 pickup truck is always a surprise for those who haven't tried it, but in the smaller, redesigned 2013 Escape, it's a dream.

The EPA has rated the 2013 Escape EcoBoost at 23 miles in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Given the power and extreme efficiency of Ford's new engine system, this is not surprising, even if it is unprecedented in the SUV class. What is surprising is that those numbers are better than the Escape Hybrid used to get, showing that without the cost of hybridization, it's possible to get excellent fuel economy out of today's engine technologies.

The redesign of the Escape is very well done. A boxy SUV in dire need of a new look, the Escape got what it needed. Many will wonder if the Escape is now really a crossover, given the new shape and design, but despite the fun ride and excellent car-like handling, the Escape is still a capable SUV with all the off-road prowess that implies.

The interior is new and much more ergonomic, though it retains the well-built feel that marked the last-generation Escape as tops amongst its peers. In fact, Ford left well enough alone with things that people obviously want, such as well-fitted cargo space, comfortable seating, and the other aspects of this SUV that have made it a consumer favorite for years. Ford's new MyTouch system is prominent in the upfitted top-tier Platinum model of the Escape and adds a lot of now-generation connectivity options many will find useful.

Even without EcoBoost, the other powertrains offered in the 2013 Escape are fuel-sippers compared to others in this class. The 2.5-L base engine gives a 22/31 city/highway return and the 2.0-L EcoBoost option with 240hp still gives an impressive 22/30mpg.

What we like

Highly impressive fuel economy without adding a hybrid premium or electrification. The EcoBoost we tested had Auto Start-Stop, but is otherwise a gasoline engine in an SUV that still gets over 30 on the highway.

Great acceleration and handling, which are two things rarely seen together in a high-mileage sport utility. The Escape really likes to get up and go and once you're on the way, it turns and handles beautifully.

What we don't

Blurring the lines between crossover and SUV define the new Escape's look. Most will assume it's a crossover, frankly.

Complicated controls in the interior give using the amenities in your Escape (as with most new Fords) a learning curve.

Conclusions

This is an excellent, fuel-efficient entry into America's most popular segments, competing as both a crossover and an SUV. In both markets, it beats the fuel efficiency and price point of most entries. Ford has definitely hit the mark with the 2013 Escape EcoBoost.

Test Period Length and Limitations
Driven at a Ford-sponsored event, total seat time of about thirty minutes in city driving and on a parking lot-based acceleration and maneuvering course.

This site follows the emergence, application and development of transportation innovation. Reference to manufacturers, makes and models, and other automotive-related businesses are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by FutureCars.com.