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Ford’s popular Escape has been completely redesigned for 2020 with a lower and more car-like look, offering compact crossover buyers plenty of options with gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. The gasoline and standard hybrid are available with front- and four-wheel-drive, while the plug-in hybrid is available exclusively with front-wheel drive. Gasoline versions come in S, SE, SEL and Titanium trim, while the hybrids offer SE and Titanium trim choices.

Although the new Escape's dramatic restyling may make it appear smaller than the previous generation, it is actually a bit longer and wider with a slightly lower roofline. Interior space has increased with additional rear legroom and up to 37.5 cubic feet of useable space behind the rear seats. A Panoramic sunroof is available on specific models.

Escape is available with either a 1.5 liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine producing 180 horsepower, or a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder delivering 250 horsepower. Both come with start-stop engine technology to enhance efficiency. The 1.5-liter engine is standard on S, SE, and SEL models with the 2.0-liter standard on the Titanium and optional on the SEL.

The 1.5-liter engine has cylinder deactivation that shuts down one of the cylinders under low-load conditions, allowing it to operate as a two-cylinder engine for improved fuel economy. Both engines connect to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter engine adds SelectShift with paddle controls. The three-cylinder EcoBoost powerplant is available with standard front- or optional all-wheel drive, while the four-cylinder comes only with all-wheel drive. Tow rating for the three-cylinder Escape is 2000 pounds with the four-cylinder capable of towing 3500 pounds.

Both hybrids use an Atkinson cycle, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. The hybrid offers a combined 198 horsepower, while the plug-in offers a slightly higher 209 horsepower rating. A PowerSplit electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) transfers power to the road. The hybrid uses a 1.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, while the plug-in hybrid has more powerful 14.4 kWh pack that provides an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles. Both battery packs fit under the floor.

The Escape PHEV has a Level 1/Level 2 AC charging port. Using a household outlet and the 110-volt Level 1 charger requires about 10 to 11 hours for a full charge. Charge time is a much quicker 3.5 hours using a home or public 240-volt Level 2 charger.

Ford's CoPilot360 driver assistance features are standard on all models. These include Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Auto High-Beam Headlamps, Lane-Keeping Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, and Rear View Camera.  Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and lane centering plus Park Assist are optional on Titanium models. A voice activated navigation system is available.

The Escape’s 8-inch touchscreen, standard on all but the base S trim, comes with Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system that’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, 4G LTE Wi-Fi is standard on all versions. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is optional on all but the base S model. An optional head-up display projects images on a six-inch screen rather than on the windshield.

The gas models and the hybrid will go on sale in fall 2019 with the plug-in-hybrid Escape will arrive in spring 2020. Prices and fuel economy data have yet to be announced.

2018 Ford MustangThose who want the excitement of a Mustang fastback or convertible but are interested in good fuel economy can opt for the model’s EcoBoost 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. The Mustang’s V-6 engine is no longer offered. Opting for the more efficient four banger doesn’t mean drivers have to live with mediocre performance or style. Featuring a refreshed appearance in 2018, the Mustang offers a slightly lower hood and a more aggressive front fascia. Add in an available Performance Package and there’s also a new decklid wing and new lower rear diffuser to make this pony car even sportier.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine can be mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a new 10-speed automatic.  This transmission promises much quicker shifting and can handle more torque than the previous 6-speed automatic. All 2018 Mustangs now have MagneRide magnetorheological adaptive dampers for improved handling. Performance-oriented drivers will appreciate the Mustang’s line lock feature for performing easy burnouts regardless of engine choice.

2018 Ford Mustang InteriorStandard equipment includes a 4.2-inch center screen, Ford Sync multimedia system, a rearview camera, two USB ports, keyless entry/start, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Options include navigation, Shaker premium audio system, Recaro seats, racing stripes, 18 to 20-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, two-tone leather upholstery, and a reconfigurable 12-inch LCD cluster.  An array of available active safety features includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams.

The EcoBoost Performance package adds 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires, a Torsen limited-slip differential, larger brake rotors, heavy-duty front springs, unique chassis calibration, and a large rear anti-roll bar. It also includes specially-tuned stability control, electric power steering, and anti-lock brakes. A rear wing is added on fastbacks.

2018 Ford MustangA 12-inch digital gauge cluster replaces the traditional analog speedometer and tachometer. It offers configurable modes and display patterns for personalization, plus a drag racing mode that displays an NHRA-style starting light – or "Christmas tree" – for practicing launches.

Ford claims a 0-to-60 time of about 5 seconds for its 310 horsepower 2.3-liter powered Mustangs. Surprisingly, this kind of performance comes with EPA fuel economy numbers as high as 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The Mustang EcoBoost has a starting price of $25,680.

2018 Mustang Digital Cluster

2016 Ford F-150 Lariat Appearance PackageFord’s aluminum bodied F-150, an all-new generation that debuted in the 2015 model year, is revolutionary. It is also distinguished as Green Car Journal’s 2016 Green Truck of the Year™, an honor bestowed at the recent San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in Texas.

Besides this new generation's more refined look and improvements across the board, use of an all-aluminum body has allowed Ford to decrease the pickup’s body weight by 630 pounds, with a high-strength steel frame reducing weight by another 70 pounds. This lightweighting contributes toward higher fuel efficiency without sacrificing the durability and all-around functionality F-150 buyers have come to expect from their pickups over many decades.

2015 Ford F-150For 2016, Ford expanded the F-150 lineup with a new Limited edition for discerning high-end truck buyers, plus special edition appearance packages available for XLT and Lariat models. An all-new aluminum-bodied F-250 has now joined the Ford pickup lineup and this heavy-duty variant will be detailed in a future article.

The F-150’s weight reduction brings the added benefit of better performance. Simply, it takes less power to propel the truck when empty so acceleration is noticeably improved. With less mass working on the chassis, the truck has a lighter feel and handles better than the previous model generation. Braking is also improved since there is less weight to bring to a halt. Cargo bed payload capacity and gross combined vehicle weight ratings (GCVWR) remain similar on the new truck compared to the previous generation, so the lighter aluminum F-150 can haul and tow hundreds heavier loads.

2016 Ford F-150 Lariat Appearance PackageFord offers F-150 buyers four engine choices to fit varying requirements including a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6,  3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6, and a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V-8. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine should be of particular interest to drivers seeking a balance of power, functionality, and efficiency. This engine allows the F-150 to achieve up to 26 highway and 19 city mpg while also enabling towing up to 8,500 pounds. Other powertrain choices allow towing up to 12,100 pounds. Ford has integrated the sport mode feature found in the Mustang that changes the frequency of gearshifts, thus enabling drivers to keep the F-150 in the ‘sweet’ spot of the powerband while holding lower gears longer for a more engaging driving experience.

A gaseous-fuel prep option is now available with the F-150‘s 5.0-liter V-8 engine. This positions the F-150 as the only light-duty pickup capable of running on compressed natural gas or propane to help further reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions.

2016 Ford F-150 LimitedThe 2016 F-150 features SYNC 3, Ford’s newest communications and entertainment system that delivers enhanced voice recognition and a capacitive touch screen. Plus, the F-150’s segment-first Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology makes it easier to back a trailer up to launch a boat or park in a driveway. Using the F-150’s advanced camera technology, a driver steers a trailer instinctively by turning a knob left or right to indicate direction, then backs up as the truck controls its steering and limits vehicle speed.

Pickup buyers have a wide choice of F-150 engine, cab configuration, and trim levels in either two- or four-wheel drive, at a starting cost of $26,540.

2016 Ford F-150 Lariat Appearance Package

todd-kaho-leftSome cars leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. The Ford Mustang is one of those cars for me. As a kid, I was blessed with a dad who always had something unique in the driveway, from a Morris Minor to a Triumph Herald. None were exotic or expensive, but they were fun and more than a little quirky.

So, when the first generation Mustang came out, Dad had to have one and in the summer of 1964 there was a 1964 1/2 Mustang convertible in our driveway. It was copper with a white interior and white top. Powered by a 289 V-8 and a ‘three-at-the-knee shifted manual transmission. Detroit was producing big iron at the time and this car seemed lean, efficient, and mean. Many happy hours were enjoyed in that first generation Mustang.

When Ford offered to let me drive a 2015 Mustang not long ago, I was understandably thrilled. Then I read the specs. The car would be a four-cylinder with an automatic transmission. No, really?

If you want to know how far the automotive industry has advanced in the last 50 years, go drive the new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder Mustang. For those of us of a certain vintage let me clarify, this is not a Pinto engine. This 2.3 is a beast. The first time I pushed the start button, the raspy growl made it clear that the EcoBoost means business. This engine, produces 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft torque. At just 137.5 cubic inches it’s less than half the displacement of Dad’s 289 V-8.

For perspective, consider that this new four-cylinder also makes more horsepower than the 2005 Mustang GT 4.6-liter V-8 of just 10 years ago. EcoBoost uses smaller, more efficient engine designs aided by turbocharging to do more with less. It’s not a new idea, but Ford has been refining it for years with impressive results. The 2.3 Mustang engine uses a twin-scroll turbo with split exhaust runners to feed immediate boost. It produces low-end power more like a V-6 or V-8 than a four, delivering a very satisfying driving experience.

2015 Mustang Media Drive in L.A.I’ve always preferred manual transmissions, but the six-speed auto in the Mustang was quite nice. It can be manually shifted with paddle controls on the steering wheel for more control and fun.

The best part about this whole equation is that the EcoBoost engine is lighter than V-6 and V-8 counterparts. That makes all vehicle dynamics simply work better. Everything from acceleration to handling and braking are improved. The car literally feels lighter and is more nimble, which makes it a joy to drive.

Now for the ‘green’ part. The EcoBoost Mustang has an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 32 mpg. This car is quick and will spring from 0-60 mph is 5.6 seconds. But we also decided to push it in the other direction and see how it would do in economy cruise mode. At legal speeds, mid-to upper 30 mpg averages are easily obtainable. You can use this car as a daily commuter and not break the bank.

It’s an interesting and compelling contrast to look back 50 years to the first Mustang, and even 10 years to the last generation Mustang. But what I love most is that this iconic car still has swagger and will stir emotions. I’ll take that over an automotive appliance any day.

2015 Ford Focus STIt’s well understood that Ford’s EcoBoost engines combine direct injection, variable valve timing, and turbocharging to achieve impressive power and high efficiency. While these advanced engines deliver the acceleration and high fuel economy desired in mainstream models, EcoBoost engines also power the automaker’s performance-oriented models like the Mustang and Fiesta ST. As die-hard enthusiasts always wonder…is there a way to eke even more performance from my car?

And the answer is ‘yes,’ with new hand-held programmers from Ford that adjust a multitude of engine parameters. Tuners often go the traditional route of replacing original equipment with aftermarket parts like performance camshafts, exhaust and intake manifolds, high-flow fueling systems, and even superchargers, sometimes with unwanted trade-offs in efficiency, durability, or comfort.

ford-pro-cal

Ford points out that in an age of computer-controlled engines, a better answer is performance mods using Ford Racing’s programming handset. The $595 ProCal programmer for the Focus ST 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and Fiesta ST 1.6-liter EcoBoost plugs into the car’s diagnostic link connector port, enabling performance tweaks to everything from throttle response characteristics and idle speed to turbo wastegate control, fuel curves, and spark timing.

In the hands of engine tuning experts, tweaking with the ProCal can bring impressive gains in horsepower and torque output. The Focus ST can gain up to a 90 lb-ft torque increase while maintaining the Ford-backed limited warranty. Custom engine calibrations for the all-new Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost are being developed by Ford Racing with a product expected by the end of 2015.

2014 SEMA: Mountune Mustang

 

 

Ford’s completely redesigned 2013 Fusion sedan, the most fuel efficient midsize car in America, has been named Green Car Journal’s 2013 Green Car of the Year at the L.A. Auto Show. The Fusion emerged on top of an exceptional field of finalists including the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero, Ford C-MAX, Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV, and the Toyota Prius c.

Selecting the 2013 Green Car of the Year® was a jury comprised of the nation’s top environmental leaders including Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Global Green USA president Matt Petersen, plus Tonight Show host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal staff.

The 2013 Fusion is designed from the ground-up to be a world car with distinctly different fuel-efficient powertrains available. These range from familiar EcoBoost internal combustion engines that use turbocharging and direct injection to eke out greater efficiencies, to a next-generation hybrid variant and an all-new plug-in hybrid version, the Fusion Energi.

You can’t talk about the new Fusion without mentioning its striking good looks. Ford did a stellar job in designing the new Fusion, offering an attention-grabbing body design with a front end that hints of Aston Martin influences. The interior is also well-appointed and intuitive, with an array of advanced electronics either standard or optional. Safety systems now include dual first-row knee airbags and adaptive front airbags that vent and tether to conform to a specific occupant’s size, position, and seatbelt usage.

The 1.6-liter Fusion SE EcoBoost model, which starts at $24,495, is Ford’s first automatic-transmission product with an automatic start-stop system. This shuts the engine off when the car is stopped and seamlessly restarts as the driver releases the brake pedal, and can alone reduce fuel consumption and emissions by about 3.5 percent. The $25,950 Fusion SE with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is mated with a paddle-shifted, six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and available in front-wheel-drive.

Ford’s all-new Fusion Hybrid SE offers even more content than the outgoing Fusion Hybrid model at a price $1,575 less. It features an all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder gasoline engine that’s significantly downsized from the previous 2.5-liter engine, while offering similar performance. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is expected to net more than 100 MPGe overall fuel efficiency.

The all-new 2013 Fusion embraces all the elements important to aggressively raising the bar in environmental performance. Importantly, its approachable price points also mean that large numbers of this sedan will make their way to the highway, bringing meaningful reductions in petroleum use and CO2 emissions along the way.

For the eighth consecutive year, Green Car Journal is honoring environmental leadership in the automotive field with its annual Green Car of the Year award. The winner will be announced at the L.A. Auto Show.

This year’s finalists include the Dodge Dart Aero, Ford C-MAX, Ford Fusion, Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV, and the Toyota Prius c. This ‘greenest’ field-of-five – representing not only the five finalists for the 2013 Green Car of the Year award but also Green Car Journal’s distinguished ‘Top 5 Green Cars for 2013’ – underscores the evolving auto industry’s increasing focus on efficiencies and tailpipe/CO2 emissions. It's also proof-positive that auto manufacturers are listening to the needs and desires of today's new car buyers. 

Green Car Journal has documented the 'greening' of the auto industry for over two decades, from a time of mere concepts and demonstration programs to today, when the number of environmentally positive production vehicles available to consumers is just short of amazing. And today it's not all about hybrids, which have become the de-facto answer to environmental progress in recent years. The answers being presented by major automakers encompass everything from a growing field of efficient gasoline-electric hybrids to high-efficiency gasoline and clean diesel vehicles, vehicles running on alternative fuels, and cars using plug-in electric drive.

This shift toward diverse 'green' vehicles is significant on many levels, providing excellent new car choices for buyers who want to drive cleaner and more efficiently while still experiencing the joy of driving. It’s also important to the imperatives of today, from reducing tailpipe and CO2 emissions to decreasing dependence on oil and thus enhancing our energy security.

The 'Top 5 Green Cars for 2013' illustrate the growing choices consumers have for going 'green.' The high mpg Dodge Dart Aero and Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV show that conventionally-powered, internal combustion vehicles can indeed compete with the efficiencies of hybrids. Toyota's Prius c continues this automaker's tradition of offering all-new, high mpg hybrid models under the Prius name. The Ford C-MAX and Fusion illustrate how mainstream models can present drivers multiple high-efficiency choices – with the C-MAX offering both hybrid and plug-in hybrid iterations, and the Fusion offering these power options, plus fuel-efficient EcoBoost variants.

Importantly, all are affordable mass-market products that provide drivers full functionality and mainstream appeal, paving the way for making a difference in fuel use and overall emissions in daily driving. This availability is an important component of the Green Car of the Year program, since vehicles with great environmental credentials can only make a difference in decreasing CO2 and tailpipe emissions, reducing petroleum use, and improving overall environmental impact if they're available for new car buyers to purchase and drive.

The 2013 Green Car of the Year will be selected by a jury comprised of the nation's top environmental leaders, including Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau, Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, and Global Green USA president Matt Petersen, plus Tonight Show host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal staff.

Which of these ‘Top 5 Green Cars for 2013’ will be selected as Green Car Journal’s 2013 Green Car of the Year? Stay tuned for news from the L.A. Auto Show on November 29,

 

Ford’s super-efficient 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will make its first appearance on our shores next year in the new 2014 Ford Fiesta. It’s expected to be the smallest engine in its class and also achieve the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid car sold in America.

The award-winning engine is already making waves in Europe, where it accounts for 30 percent of all Focus sales. It will also be offered in the all-new Mondeo and is launching in the B-MAX and C-MAX in European markets.

The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is the first three-cylinder powerplant ever for Ford. It also features innovations never seen in a Ford engine including a super-small turbocharger, timing belt immersed in engine oil, an offset crankshaft, variable oil pump, split cooling, and external balancing. The smooth-running engine develops about the same horsepower as a 1.6-liter engine with 25 percent fewer moving parts.

Ford aims to provide it all with this engine – a sporty sound at high revs, smooth and quiet idle, and great fuel economy. It’s projected to offer 123 horsepower with 148 lb-ft torque and provide satisfying acceleration.