• The EPA says the Escape's most efficient engine can achieve up to 33 miles per gallon
  • Mazda's new CX-5 barely edges out the Escape's combined fuel economy numbers
  • The EPA also announced MPG ratings for the Escape's other powerplants

The freshly redesigned 2013 Ford Escape will be among the greenest SUVs on the market when it arrives in dealerships later this month. That's the latest from the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency, which recently announced official fuel economy ratings for each of the Escape's three upcoming variants ahead of their upcoming debuts.

The most efficient engine in the recently redesigned Escape's lineup is the all-new 173-horsepower 1.6-liter "EcoBoost" four-cylinder. Available on the mid-level Escape SE and SEL, the motor uses turbocharging to increase power without sacrificing fuel economy and can only be had with the automaker's six-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, front-wheel drive Escape models equipped with the 1.6-liter engine are capable of achieving 23 miles per gallon in city driving and a whopping 33 mpg on the highway for a combined total of 26 mpg.

While those fuel economy figures are certainly impressive, they fall just short of EPA fuel economy ratings for the Mazda CX-5, which is officially the most fuel efficient SUV available today. Equipped with a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 6-speed manual transmission, the CX-5 achieves a thirstier 32 mpg on the highway but maintains a miserly 26 mpg in city driving for a combined total of 29 miles per gallon. The figures also fall behind the outgoing Escape Hybrid's fuel economy numbers, which topped 32 miles per gallon in combined driving.

Base-level Escape S models will offer a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder that's also available in the SUV's current generation. In the 2013 model, that engine is rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg in highway driving for a combined total of 25 mpg - an increase in two miles per gallon compared to the old Escape. According to Ford, the fuel economy boost comes from minor updates to the engine's internals combined with an overall improvement in the SUV's aerodynamics.

While the 2013 Escape will no longer offer a V6 like its predecessor, a powerful EcoBoost four-cylinder will take its place as the flagship powerplant in the model's lineup. According to the EPA, that engine - a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter - will achieve 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive or 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive.

With its redesign for 2013, the all-new Escape will mark the beginning of its third generation as one of the most popular vehicles in the compact SUV segment. According to Ford, base-level models will be priced from $22,470 before destination when they begin arriving at dealers later this spring.

What it means to you: With its new EPA fuel economy ratings, the 2013 Escape joins a growing list of SUVs perfect for buyers concerned about fuel efficiency.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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