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Ford has just announced the 2013 Escape will get an official tow rating of 3,500 lbs., which makes it best-in-class out of all small turbocharged SUVs – an rather obscure statistic.
The Escape used to be powered by a 3.0L V6, and carried a 3,500 lbs. tow rating, same as the new Escape. Now with Ford’s 2.0L Ecoboost, the engine is downsized to provide better fuel economy and still give Escape owners 3,500lbs. of towing capability. The 2.0L Ecoboost makes 237 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a six speed automatic transmission.
“Smaller-displacement engines have a fundamental efficiency advantage,” said Roger Maynard, Powertrain supervisor for the 2013 Ford Escape.
The Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Acura RDX are the closest competitors to the Escape (all being either turbocharged or offering turbo versions), but all fall short by at least 1,300 lbs. worth of towing capability.
As reported many months ago, Ford will replace its Escape compact SUV with a new crossover model similar to the European Kuga. Based on the same architecture as the new global Focus, the new Escape/Kuga will be previewed in concept form at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January.
The same platform will be used for the upcoming Grand C-Max MPV as well as for a Lincoln compact crossover.
Powertrains will likely be shared with the Focus, meaning there will be a 2.0-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder, while an EcoBoost option is also certain to be included to give the new Kuga/Escape enough oomph to keep pace offerings like the Toyota RV4 V6.
[Source: Automotive News via TheCarConnection]
Ford’s popular Escape crossover is set to be replaced in 2012 with the European Kuga. Recent reports suggest, however, that this new model may keep the Escape badge. According to Ward’s Auto, several Ford dealers have commented that it would be a waste to do away with the Escape badge as it has excellent recognition in the market and as the Escape is one of Ford’s top sellers and has even given the Toyota RAV-4 a run for its money.
“I believe the Escape is a great vehicle with a great reputation and that it would be a big mistake to kill the Escape name,” Owen Mossy, general manager of San Diego-based Mossy Ford, told Ward’s.
Ford is likely to listen to its dealers, as a previous decision to drop the Taurus name in favor of the 500 proved disastrous for sales, which bounced back when the name was resurrected. The decision to bring back the Taurus name was that of CEO Alan Mulally, who took the helm at ford in 2006 and said that not using the Taurus name was wasting precious brand equity. We’d also argue that the old Tuarus/500 model had a lot more wrong with it than the name.
“I would doubt seriously that the company would repeat the lesson learned from the Taurus brand-equity position on any vehicle currently in our lineup, ” said Kevin Collins, president-Bill Collins Ford in Louisville.
The Kuga (or new Escape if you prefer) is set to be built in North America at the company’s Louisville, KY plant starting in 2011. The current European Kuga is based on the same architecture as the European Focus and C-Max MPV.
When the 2012 Escape does debut, expect front-drive and AWD versions, along with an EcoBoost 4-cylinder rather than a V6 option.