L.A. Auto Show: Ford Goes Big on EcoBoost, Debuts 2013 Escape

If any American car company is a modern success story, it is Ford. The Blue Oval has been debuting product after product to much praise,and the Los Angeles Auto Show is no different. Today Ford has officially debuted several new models including the 2013 Ford Escape and 2013 Ford Flex, in addition to a refreshed look for the Ford Mustang. But let’s get to that Escape.More EcoBoost, More MPG, A Brand New Escape

The 2013 Ford Escape debut was recieved with much fanfare, though I have to admit the looks aren’t quite what I was hoping for. I found last year’s Vertrek Concept to be much more visually appealing, although the new Escape is a big step up from the outgoing mini-truck model. The truck-like looks aren’t the only thing the 2013 Ford Escape got rid of though.Gone is the hybrid model, replaced by two option EcoBoost engines (1.6 and 2.0) as well as a 2.5 liter V6. The 2.0 liter EcoBoost will deliver up to 5 mpg more than the outgoing Escape, and is expected to deliver 2 MPG more than Honda CRV or Toyota RAV4. Bold claims, to be sure, and the idea of a turbocharged small SUV is something that no other automaker (except the Kia Sportage) currently offers.

The 2013 Ford Escape will also come equipped with a SelectShift six-speed transmissionBut that’s not all. The 1.6 liter EcoBoost offers 173 horsepower and 177 ft-lbs of torque, while the 2.0 liter EcoBoost offers 237 horsepower and 250 ft-lbs of torque. The base 2.5 V6 only offers 168 horsepower and 167 ft-lbs of torque.

The Escape also offers some nifty new technology, including a hands-free power liftgate. If you have the keyfob in your pocket, and wave your foot under the back bumper, like magic the lift gate opens. Could be a fun way to play a few pranks on your friends. The 2013 Escape also gets an updated MyFord Touch system, and a whole bunch of green credentials, like carpet made from recycled plastic bottles, soy foam seats, sound absorption materials made from recycled cotton and jeans, and a whole lot more. more than I have time to write, quite frankly.

Also updated was the 2013 Ford Flex, which gets a new front end, +1 MPG, and 20 additional horsepower.  Also on display; the Ford Focus ST, a sporty new Focus powered by a 250 horsepower 2.0 liter EcoBoost 4-banger. Joining the Focus ST was the Fiesta ST Concept, with a 180 horsepower 1.6 liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine.The Fiesta ST is still a concept, and I wonder what kind of MPG this little hot hatch could deliver on top of that horsepower. I certainly hope it makes it past the cutting room floor.And Yet…Ford also had updates to several other models, including the 2013 Mustang, which gets more power (650 ponies in the Shelby GT500), LED lights, and a refreshed look. Unfortunately, Scott Monty informed me that Ford is “moving away” from ethanol, so, despite the 5.0 V8 being E85 capable in the F-150, Ford has no plans to offer that option in the Mustang. Boo.

Mr. Monty also informed me that Ford has no intention of selling an EcoBoost crate engine (boo again!) and that they aren’t really delving into the real of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) either. Which means Ford seems to be doubling down on its EcoBoost technology. It has served them well so far, but does the Blue Oval risk being locked into a technology still heavily dependent on a single fuel source? This writer certainly thinks so.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.