Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
4/27/09 12:00 a.m.
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After trying the new-for-2009 Ford Escape, we were impressed by the improvements made over the 2008 version. Offering greater fuel efficiency and better acceleration than the outgoing model, the new 2.5-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission combine to make a much better finished product.

The towing capacity we would typically expect from an SUV was somewhat meager in the Escape XLT, however, as it seems the manufacturer has traded utility for efficiency. Our test car was rated to tow 1500 pounds, which is only good enough to haul a kart or small formula car—if you've got a lightweight trailer. Otherwise, you'll want to look a little further upmarket; an Escape equipped with the V6 and towing package options is rated to haul a more useful 3500 pounds.

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