When the 2013 Ford Escape goes on sale later this spring it will do so with three four-cylinder powertrains that all achieve better than 30 mpg on the highway, according to Ford. The 2013 Scion FR-S hits dealerships this June and the 2013 Subaru BRZ sometime after that and both will get 34 mpg highway.
The 2013 Escape's base 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder is a carryover from the previous generation and only available on the S trim with front-wheel drive; the engine will return an EPA-estimated 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined. That's a 2 mpg improvement over the old Escape; Ford says the carryover engine benefits from better low-end torque and higher fuel economy due to an active grille shutter system and new torque converter, among other changes.
The engine offered on the bulk of the Escape lineup — the new 178-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder — is capable of achieving 23/33 mpg with front-wheel drive, according to the automaker. We don't have a combined figure yet, but expect 26 mpg based on figures from other models.
That number makes the Escape one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers available. It beat the Chevrolet Equinox (22/32/26), Honda CR-V (23/31/26), Hyundai Tucson (23/31/26) and Toyota RAV4 (22/28/24). The recently redesigned 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport gets the same gas mileage (23/33/26) as the 1.6-liter EcoBoost Escape, and it's bigger overall. Theoretically, the Escape should be less expensive than the Santa Fe Sport. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 still holds the fuel efficiency mantel, with a 26/32/29 mpg rating. No word yet on the fuel economy for the Escape all-wheel drive variant of the 1.6-liter EcoBoost.
The Escape's V-6 engine replacement — a 240-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder — will achieve 22/25/30 mpg with front-wheel drive and 21/28/24 mpg with all-wheel drive, according to Ford.
None of the new Escape models beat the now discontinued Ford Escape Hybrid, which had a 34/31/32 mpg rating. Its discontinuation also marks the end of hybrid availability in the compact crossover segment.
In other fuel-economy news, the sport coupe twins, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, are rated at 25/34/28 mpg with an automatic transmission and 22/30/25 mpg with a manual transmission.