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Smooth ride and handling; fuel efficiency (four-cylinder and Hybrid); eco-friendly seating material, competitive pricing.
Following a redesign last year, the Ford Escape gets a minor facelift for 2009, with subtle exterior revisions both front and rear. The Escape now benefits from a new capless fueling system and an 18.5-inch rear anti-roll bar. Ford's SYNC communications and entertainment system is available for the first time. Escape Hybrids will get standard stability control with roll control, and are now offered in both base and Limited trim. But the biggest changes are in the 2009 Escape's powertrain. The old 2.3L 4-cylinder has been replaced by a 2.5L 4-cylinder with intake variable cam timing (IVCT), which generates 170 horsepower--a 17-hp increase over 2008. The new 2.5L engine also makes its way into the Escape Hybrid. Meanwhile, 3.0L V6 Escapes get a 30 hp performance increase thanks to more efficient internal components. In both 4-cylinder and V6-powered Escapes, the 4-speed automatic transmission of old is replaced by a new 6-speed automatic. Ford claims a 1-mpg improvement in fuel economy for both 4-cylinder and V6 Escapes.