NEW FOR 2009:
- New four- and six-cylinder engines, new six-speed automatic transmission for improved power and fuel economy
- Four-cylinder engine available in Limited trim line
- Base XLS model discontinued
- Available five-speed manual transmission in XLT
- New 2.5-litre four-cylinder with variable valve timing, new brake system and standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control on Hybrid
- Redesigned front fascia chin spoiler and rear tire spoilers; new 18.5 mm rear stabilizer bar, revised suspension tuning, new exhaust system, Easy Fuel capless refueling, and soy-based seat cushion foam on all models
- New 16-inch Michelin tire with improved rolling resistance
- New air induction system on V6 models
- Optional Sync connectivity system with new "911 Assist"
- New optional Hybrid Premium Package
For 2009, the Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid undergo significant changes. Gasoline models receive new four- and six-cylinder engines that give improved performance with better fuel economy, with the four-cylinder moving up from a 2.3-litre to a 2.5-litre. The new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous four-speed automatic. The Hybrid also uses the 2.5-litre four-cylinder with Ford's first use of variable valve timing on an Atkinson cycle hybrid engine, along with a new regenerative braking system with improved pedal feel.
The Hybrid also offers a new Premium Package of heated leather seats, piano black and chrome interior accents, cargo cover, auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, roof rack crossbars, compass display, SecuriCode keyless entry keypad, and reverse sensing system. AdvanceTrac stability control is now standard; it was previously unavailable on the Hybrid model.
The base XLT model can also be optioned with a five-speed manual transmission, a unique feature for Canadian buyers, while the four-cylinder engine is now available in all trim lines, including the Limited, which was previously available only with the V6. Other new features include a mild facelift, revised suspension tuning, the Easy Fuel system which eliminates the fuel cap, and optional or standard Sync connectivity system, which now includes "911 Assist" that contacts emergency personnel in the event of airbag deployment.
The Escape is available as the XLT, in front- or all-wheel drive; the Limited, in all-wheel; or the Hybrid, in front- or all-wheel drive. The XLT and Limited come with either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Duratec or 3.0-litre V6 Duratec engine; both use a six-speed automatic transmission that can be optioned to the five-speed manual in the XLT. The Hybrid uses the 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle engine with permanent-magnet AC-synchronous electric motor, nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery and electronically-controlled CVT.
Features on the XLT include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, black roof rail side rails with crossbars, privacy glass, power windows, power locks with SecuriLock keypad, heated mirrors, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and Sirius satellite radio, cruise control, floor mats, cloth seats with recycled upholstery material, six-way power driver's seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, floor console, tilt wheel, flip-up liftgate glass, variable intermittent wipers, and rear two-speed wiper.
The Limited adds dual-zone automatic climate control, power sunroof, reverse sensing system, six-CD/MP3 premium sound system, Sync, heated leather seats, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and ambient lighting.
The Hybrid builds on the XLT with dual-zone automatic climate control, six-CD/MP3 stereo with Sirius satellite radio, 110-volt outlet, and leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls.
The XLT can be optioned with a Canadian Winter Package of heated leather seats; the XLT and Limited can be optioned with a Rear Cargo Convenience Group of cargo cover and lockable wet trunk, or a trailer tow prep package; and the Hybrid can be optioned with a chrome appearance package or the new Premium Package.
Already a practical vehicle, the Escape benefits from its new engines and features. It has a car-like ride, nimble steering, and a number of safety features, including AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, Ford's Safety Canopy airbag system, and a post-crash alert system.
The Hybrid is a "full hybrid", meaning that it can run on its battery for short periods, shut off at idle, or receive a boost to its gasoline engine for better performance on acceleration. The new regenerative braking system improves the Hybrid's brake feel, which was too hard and artificial on the previous model.
Those who like to shift will appreciate the return of a manual transmission, discontinued for the 2008 model year, which also helps to make the most of the four-cylinder's ability to haul the Escape around.
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