Ford’s Escape crossover gets a more powerful four-cylinder engine for 2009, and that engine also gets transplanted into the Escape Hybrid and the similar Mercury Mariner/Hybrid models for the new model year.

The new engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that should boost fuel economy by one mile per gallon in the EPA cycle. At the same time, Ford says the new four-cylinder will make 170 horsepower, an 11-percent boost over the existing base engine. The 17 additional horsepower come in part from a new variable cam timing system and from the increase in displacement over the former 2.3-liter four.

The V-6 option gains power for 2009, too. The 3.0-liter V-6 now makes 230 horsepower, up 30 hp and also up one mpg in fuel economy thanks in part to its six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces a four-speed unit used on the Escape and Mariner last year.

2009 Mercury Mariner

Other tweaks, include a new chin spoiler and rear tire spoilers, clean up the Escape’s aero profile and help boost fuel economy, while a new 16-inch tire also cuts down on rolling resistance.

Ford says the new Escape is more connected too. That’s because the Sync infotainment system is offered in the 2009 model, along with the Sirius Travel Link system with 911 Assist, which helps passengers get in touch with emergency workers when the need arises.

Other revamps for 2009 include new suspension tuning and standard stability control with roll stability control on Hybrid models.


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Marty Padgett

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