2013 Ford Escape 1.6L or 2.0L

We’re planning to purchase a 2013 Ford Escape in the next 6 months. It’ll probably be a SEL AWD. We live in SW MIchigan (flatlanders) and I’m thinking the 1.6L engine (178 hp) would be fine for our everyday driving. We like to travel and here’s where we’d like some input. We’re planning a trip to Yellowstone NP (next summer) then heading south through Grand Teton NP on to Colorado (Rocky Mountain NP) and maybe even over to Utah (Arches and Canyonlands) - obviously a lot of mountain driving! - and we intend to take more mountain driving vacations in the future (Glacier NP, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde etc). Do you think the 1.6L has adequate power to take on the uphill climbs and enough “kick” for passing the RVs on the 2 lane roads? or should we upgrade to the 2.0L (240 hp)

BTW we’re two 60 something retirees and we don’t need the extra HP just for the sake of having it.

I would get the 2.0 engine. I don’t believe the fuel economy is all that different. When you are in the Rockies…you will be glad you took my advice. It always better to have more horsepower and not need it than to need more horsepower and not have it.

The price difference isn’t that much more, and the MPGs are negligible at best. You get over 60 more horse power and about 100 ft./lbs of torque with the 2.0.
Either way, just make sure you feed it premium fuel and full synthetic oil and you’ll get long life out of it. The turbo will make the trips through the mountains a little easier for you.

“Either way, just make sure you feed it premium fuel and full synthetic oil and you’ll get long life out of it.”

Why premium fuel and full synthetic oil? The salesman told me the vehicle uses regular fuel (and yes I know some salesmen will tell you anything to get a sale). I didn’t ask about the oil. Does Ford require full synthetic oil for the turbo engines (I’ve never had a turbo before)? I haven’t checked the owners manual yet but I will do that before I buy the vehicle.

I found a chart with the specs for both the 1.6 and 2.0 engines ecoboost engines. The 2.5 engine is also listed. It has less power than the 1.6 engine so I would not recommend it. Premium fuel is used to get the maximum performance out of the engines. It seems 87 octane is recommended for all engines. If it has a turbo I would use full synthetic oil.


While these engines can run fine on regular (unlike many turbos), like @missileman said, it’ll perform a bit better in the mountains with premium. You’ll also want to compare mpgs on everyday driving, you might save enough gas with premium to make it worthwhile.

If I buy a turbo engine, I’ll likely use premium.

Is the V6 available? I would want it. I don’t trust turbochargers.

@missileman - thanks for looking up the specs. I noticed the hp rating is with premium fuel then Ford pulls a switcheroo - the recommended fuel is regular. Do you think there’s much of a dropoff in hp when using regular fuel (ie anything noticeable to the casual driver)?

@EllyEllis - no V6. The base engine is the 4 cyl 2.5L (non turbo). Then the two 4 cyl turbos.

The owner’s manual should tell you if synthetic oil is required for either engine. Go back to the dealer and read the manual in the glove box. It’s likely the same one for both engine choices.

Either way, I’d get the 2L. Ford gives towing specs for it, but not the 1.6L. This is not a lightweight vehicle.

The dropoff in HP isn’t huge. For the 1.6L, it’s rated for 178 HP with premium and 173 with regular. The 2.0L is rated for 240 HP with premium and 231 HP with regular. If it were me I’d go with the 2.0L Ecoboost you get substancially more power with only a 1-2 MPG penalty.

In the owner’s manual it weirdly specs 5W-30 Semi-Synthetic for the 2.0L Ecoboost and 5W-20 Semi-Synthetic for the 1.6L Ecoboost.

I own a vehicle with a turbo charger, so I do have a bit of experience with them. And you might be able to find the owner’s manual online in PDF format you can download and look at at your convenience.

As someone has pointed out in a different thread, a turbo charger can spin tens, even hundreds, of thousands RPMs while in boost, and it needs to keep cool. Full synthetic will help keep it lubed and cooled while this is happening.

Als I’m sure it’ll point out in the owner’s manual, if you’ve been on the highway, or running the engine pretty hard, it’s best to let the car sit and idle for 30 seconds or more before you shut the engine off. This relates to the previous paragraph in that the oil(and probably the coolant as well) needs to cycle through the turbo. If you don’t, you risk coking the turbo charger and this will land you with several thousand dollars worth of work to repair/replace the turbo. If they find out you haven’t taken proper care of the engine, warranty or not, you’ll be stuck footing the bill for it as they’ll blame lack of maintenance or improper care on your part for the damage. So when you arrive at your destination, take a moment to gather your things or finish a song on the radio before you shut the car off. Get into that habit early on and it’ll become second nature to you in no time.

As for premium fuel, the price difference in most places is 20 cents, and with a 15 gallon tank, you’d be hard pressed to spend $3 extra each fill up compared to regular fuel.
With AWD, be prepared to hear that you’ll need 4 new tires if you get a sidewall puncture in 1 tire. They aren’t trying to cheat you out of money, they are trying to keep themselves from having a possible future repair on their dime. Some/most AWD are picky about tire sizes and putting a new tire on with 3 that have 20k miles on them can damage the center differential. I’ve heard even different tread patterns can cause this to happen(i.e. 3 Goodyear tires and you put on a Michelin to replace the bad tire)

So, in summary, fuel, tires, and oil are cheap, new engines, differentials, and turbo chargers are expensive.

I have a base model 2.4l engine. Picked it up the day before Thanksgiving and it’s now mid-March with 12k miles on it. I had an 2010 Equinox before this, avoid those for engine and transmission issues. This 2.4l has plenty of power and averages 24.5mpg. Oil change indication came on at 10250mi so the synthetic oil gets you some distance. I did put snow tires on this 2wd vehicle, live in the hills of central MA. It does as well as any car in the snow or rain. It tracks well in rain, stays on course when you hit a puddle and I haven’t had any hydroplaning experiences as I did with the Equinox. It did not come with auto headlights, do get them as you have no visual indication you need to turn your lights on (daytime running and dash lights are always on). If you don’t remember to turn your lights on you have no taillights!

I agree with everyone else to get the larger engine, use premium, and use synthetic.

Turbochargers can spin at 200,000 rpm and get hot, they are heated by the exhaust, so they tend to cook regular oil. Synthetic oil contains fewer impurities than regular oil, so it tends to withstand heat better. If you have a turbo, synthetic is the way to go.

Finding any vehicle without either a turbo or a supercharger is getting harder and harder. In order to meet ever more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency mandates, manufacturers are downsizing the engines and relying on boosted induction to compensate for when power is needed.

A friend just bought a full size Ford F-150 crew cab with the turbo 6. Lots of grunt, good tow rating, very nice overall. Turbos seem to be the ‘wave of the future’…

The only turbo truck I would consider is a turbo diesel.

Early turbos used to self destruct, but they seem to have learned how to lubricate and cool them (and design them) so they’re more robust. I’, still ambivalent about turbos. I’ll wait a while.

Another agree missleman . I’m guessing the 240 up is a turbo. Not a turbo fan for the long haul. Guessing also the 2.5 isn’t . If you have awd, that seems the minimum size to get. Best of luck !

The OP can make the trips with either motor. The smaller motor might have different final gear ratio’s and different gear ratios in the transmission. So, which car drives better for him is only for him to judge. Take both cars for a good test drive, including a stretch on an interstate and a simulated pass on a simulated 2 lane road. If you feel the smaller motor is sluggish, then get the bigger one. If the smaller motor works, then go for it. Towing isn’t an issue, but if you ever think you’d like to tow anything get the bigger motor and the tow package.

No need for the bigger motor and less mpg if you don’t need the extra zip as you motor along. If you get the smaller motor, use premium fuel when you are in the mountains. Regular will set off the knock sensor under load on the hills and that retards the timing, hence the reduced power. In normal flatland driving to go shopping regular will be fine.

I’m surprised to see this thread has a second life. Here’s an update. We bought a 2013 Ford Escape Titanium 2.0L AWD (picked it up on Nov 1). We’ve not been to the mountains yet (that trip is this Sep - we’re going to Yellowstone and Grand Teton) but we did take a road trip to Panama City Beach, FL from SW MI. We drove about 2600 miles and averaged 27 MPG (regular fuel). We were in FL about 10 days. Overall we’re @ 24.7 MPG with 7000 miles on our Escape.

We’re very pleased with our new Escape.

@my2cents I just realized this thread is pretty old.

The reason it “has a second life” is because @HarleyVrodRed decided to revive it today.

Well, in any case, I’m glad you’re loving your new Escape.