Next Ford Escape to Boost Mileage Without Hybrid

The next-generation Ford Escape compact SUV will receive two new turbo engines along with a more traditional 2.5-liter four-cylinder when it goes on sale next year, Ford announced today. A photo of the Ford Vertrek concept (above) is rumored to be the design inspiration for the next Escape.

A new turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will be the most efficient. The company says the next Escape’s highway mileage will surpass the current Escape Hybrid’s 31 mpg highway. If the next-gen reaches just 32 mpg highway that would be a 14% boost over the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine’s highway rating of 28 mpg. A 2.0-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder will likely top the range promising V-6 power since there will be no V-6 option.

What happens to the next-generation Escape Hybrid? It doesn’t exist.

Instead, the future of that powertrain will reside only in the C-Max Hybrid. The small van has been shuffled around Ford’s lineup since its U.S. debut last year. Originally, a seven-passenger version with gasoline engine was the planned entry-level trim. That was scrapped. Now, a five-passenger hybrid will be available. The C-Max Hybrid will get 25% better fuel economy than the outgoing Escape Hybrid. If that’s accurate, its combined mileage would be 40 mpg. Toyota’s new 2012 Prius V is rated at 42 mpg combined.

A plug-in hybrid version of the C-Max called the C-Max Energi also will go on sale next year.

The new Escape will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

Packard 2011 Ford Escape Ford 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show Auto Show Ford C-Max Hybrids/Alternative Fuels L.A.

Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David