2013 Ford Escape 2.0-Liter EcoBoost: Gas Mileage Drive Report

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The Ford Escape is one of the most popular compact crossovers on the market today, and its all-new 2013 model goes head-to-head with the Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4.

Both of those vehicles were redesigned in 2012 or 2013, so crossover competition is now fierce.

We spent six days with a pale green ("Ginger Ale Metallic") 2013 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

This is the top-of-the-line Escape, with a sticker price of almost $35,000--against the starting price of $23,365 for the almost nonexistent 2.5-liter Escape base model.

After surveying a number of auto writers, it appears that in many cities (including ours), Ford only gives out the nicest, priciest Escape models for media drives.

So right now, our gas mileage test only applies to this engine and drive configuration. We hope to test lesser Escapes in the future.

24-mpg rating

Rather to our surprise, our 2013 Escape was EPA-rated at just 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway).

The most fuel-efficient Escape is the front-wheel drive model with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, rated at 26 mpg combined.

Add all-wheel drive to the 1.6-liter model, and the combined number drops 1 mpg to 25 mpg. Or if you want the bigger 240-hp, 2.0-liter engine but can forgo the AWD, you'll also find a 25-mpg rating.

Of course, those numbers are nothing like the 32 mpg combined rating of the late, lamented Escape Hybrid (the front-wheel drive model), which went out of production after the 2012 model year.

Real-world results

Over the course of an 838-mile trip that took us through five states, we pretty much nailed the EPA combined rating.

We got 23. 9 miles per gallon, though during most of our fairly hilly trip, the reading was not that good.

But three solid hours of Interstate cruising on flat roads with a net downslope back to our sea-level destination boosted the recorded mileage enough to where we'd deem the EPA's rating of 24 mpg combined a reasonable expectation.

(Unlike the 47-mpg combined ratings in Ford's newest C-Max and Fusion hybrids. But that's another story.)

Filling up HOW often?

The most startling thing about our 2013 Escape was that it needed to have its gas tank refilled in less than 300 miles

2013 Ford Escape EcoBoost 2.0-liter, Pennsylvania, April 2013

2013 Ford Escape EcoBoost 2.0-liter, Pennsylvania, April 2013

Enlarge Photo

The "low gas" warning light went off the first time with 246 miles on the trip odometer--and we'd received the car with a full tank indicated.

The second time it happened, we'd logged 266 miles.

Yes, we know there's a lot of leeway between the time the light goes on and the last drop in the tank. But still: 250 miles between fillups? RLY?

The 2013 Ford Escape is listed as having a 15.1-gallon tank, which would provide roughly 350 miles of range.

That's among the smallest in compact crossovers, but perhaps Ford has programmed its low-gas light to be exceptionally conservative.

In our 800-plus-mile trip, we put gas in the Escape three times.

You have been warned..

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Comments (19)
  1. OK, let's say the C-MAX hybrid only really gets 40 mpg, still that is a lot more than the 24 MPG of the Escape reviewed here.

    So my dumb question, is there really that much more space in an Escape than a C-MAX? I'm assuming that is what motivates people to get the Escape over the C-MAX.

  2. @John: One strong motivating factor for purchase of an Escape over a C-Max is the availability of all-wheel drive. The C-Max only comes in front-wheel drive.

    The Escape has 34 cu ft of cargo capacity with the rear seat up, and 68 cu ft with it folded down. The comparable figures for the C-Max are 25 cu ft and 53 cu ft, so it's slightly less capacious.

  3. Life is full of choices and I just have to question the Escape as a good one (AWD not withstanding).

    The C-MAX hybrid get much better MPG (perhaps 40 mpg real world) and probably can be had for similar money. It will also handle better.

    Another choice might be the VW SportWagen TDI with 34 mpg combined. I'm not much of a fan of diesels, but the SportWagen seems to have lots of room and handles well with much better MPG.

    It is a little depressing to see these small CUV's becoming so mainstream if 24 mpg is going to be typical. It is really terribly inefficient.

    Personally, I changed from a Sienna MiniVan to a Prius some years ago. Sure I have missed not being able to carry 4x8 sheet good, but not the 18 mpg.

  4. Sit in the back seat of a C-Max and you'll find out! (hint: Tiny)

  5. I have sat in the back of a C-MAX and found it to be comfortable with good headroom for my 6' frame.

  6. I get well over 40 in my C-Max Energi in gas mode usually around 43-44 mpg. On April 1 I took my C-Max Energi on a 375 mile round trip to the Oregon Coast. This took me over a 3500 foot mountain pass and then over the Coast Range in Oregon and then back again. With only about 55 of these miles on all electric I averaged 54.3 MPG. That was calcualted when I filled the tank on April 5. Well I have put over 625 miles on that tank full and I still have 3/8's of the tank left.

  7. John, I have a 2.0l EB AWD Escape very similar to the one you drove. Over a little less than 10,000 miles which started in the depth of a Midwest winter:

    . Worst fillup: 16.6 mpg (all very short trips in winter)
    . Best fillup: 27.7 mpg (Interstate in Florida)
    . Average: 21.9 mpg

    I had expected better, but with that much power on tap in a vehicle with excellent dynamics, it's sometimes hard to hold back, so I'm definitely part of the problem.

    The miles-to-empty gauge on my Escape also was an issue; they reflashed the instrument panel and now it works accurately.

  8. @Rich: Thanks for the informative comment. Interesting about the reflash; I must admit I didn't think to check service bulletins, but that's a good piece of info to know.

    I definitely noticed that the Escape 2.0 returned its best fuel efficiency--that is, it matched the EPA combined rating--when on level freeways using cruise control. The first part of my trip, where I had to use the engine's power much more, returned pretty dreadful numbers--as you experienced as well.

    What's your overall gas mileage to date, having now covered 10,000 miles?

  9. @John, overall mileage for my 2.0l EB AWD is 21.9 mpg since new. Average for last 2,000 miles is 22.7 mpg. These are calculated on actual fuel use; odometer seems accurate.

  10. I assume that 23.9mpg is computed by the onboard computer. Is there a verification of the "actual" mpg using gallons burned vs miles traveled?

    I start to see that many "high mpg" cars with about 5-10% "aggressive" displays on their computer than actual consumption...

  11. @Xiaolong: That'd be an interesting topic for an article if anyone has any data to that effect. Since we don't have our own High Gear Media testing facilities, we rely on long-distance drive reports like this one to give an indication of what actual owners will experience.

  12. That would be a great article. Few months back, there was a GCR article that covered a group of hybrid owners compared a Prius V, Prius hatchback and C-Max in a long range driving and calculated each car's fuel consumption and their respective display. All of them displayed better MPG than the actual consumption... The Prius was as much as 9% more aggressive in the computer display.

  13. Agreed it would be a good article. My ford territory shows about 7% less consumption than as measured by the pump at refill and calculated... In the us are they're any standards for accuracy on this? As far as I am aware, there isn't in Australia...

  14. John, I have data taken at every fill up on 3 cars. The oldest is a 2001 Prius, which read 5.6% high over it life of 78,000 miles. The next is a 2004 Cadillac CTS, which read 2.7% high ofer 101,000 miles. The last is a 2010 Lexus (purchased used, so the first 20,000 miles is unknown), which reads 5.0% high for 17,000 miles.

  15. Based on your data, I would say that Toyota cheats at the twice the rate of GM... :)

  16. I own a 2013 Escape SE with the 2.0 Eco-boost with 4WD and find the fuel economy to be very disappointing. My weighted average (60% city 40% highway) typically comes in around 19 mpg. And I'm not alone. The EPA website that allows owners to log their fuel efficiency experience specifically by vehicle and engine/transmission type shows that this is a common experience. (https://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=mpgData&vehicleID=32369&browser=true&details=on)
    The only time that I experience fuel economy that comes close to what Ford advertises is when I am taking a trip and am driving continuously on the freeway. Why doesn't the EPA use the real world figures rather than the manufacturer's test lab figures?

  17. Ginger ale metallic green... Ah, that must be the link with *Green* Car Reports.

  18. If you get this instead of a C-Max you hate the environment or are a ludite. Size isn't a reason, CMax looks like it could have a 3rd row. AWD-for-safety is a myth, it's far safer to detect FWD wheelspin and gauge your stopping distances than to accelerate obliviously on ice. The difference in the ability to handle light off-road use is about zero too.

  19. @Paul: Neither the Escape nor the C-Max Hybrid has a third row. A longer version of the C-Max sold in Europe, known as the Grand C-Max, does have a third row, but Ford concluded it was simply too small for large American children.

    As for the difference in light off-road use being zero, I invite you to come visit my driveway in the mountains. In the winter, it *requires* all-wheel drive to get up it (steep and curved).

    And, LOL, for the record, I'm not a Luddite.

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