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Hellboy........I'm calling BS on your 15 mpg in the Escape. We have the same vehicle and typically average 24.6 on a back road commute and weekend errand runs. Other than pulling a 28 foot Grady White I don't know how you could get that kind of mileage. Also, the last Rav4 maxed at 30 mpg non hybrid......just 2 years ago........with way less horsepower. I'm sure the new Escape will be very competitive......still with considerably more horsepower.
I am hardly an anomaly....Fuelly:
http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/escape/2017?page=5&engineconfig_id=13

The average mpg for the Escape is 21mpg, so consider yourself lucky that you can beat the 23mpg EPA for this engine.

Agreed the previous RAV4 was a total different ball game, but still had some really good mpgs...just look at the average - 28mpg:
http://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/rav4/2016
A 2017 Rav4 has a combined 24 mpg with 176hp/172 tq......I'll take 1 mpg less for 245/270. Also on the fuelly.com, a bunch of the Rav4's were hybrids that figured in the average.

I'm not surprised we beat the avg a little with our Escape......really very little city driving.
It’s actually 25mpg...and yep, Toyota’s selling mix is about 50% hybrids / 50% ICE - the hybrids are priced very smartly...

And there you have it...very little city driving - my drive is 80% city...add in some cold weather and the Escape drinks as much as my buddy’s truck - F150 2.7T
 

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Apples to oranges. Profile has a huge impact on highway FE, as does AWD. Taurus, although bigger, has a lower profile. And I bet it did not have AWD, like the EcoSport, if it was rated at only 26mpg hwy. EcoSport is capable of 29 mpg highway (FWD), you could never get any Taurus to actually get that. Had one, I know. But yes, EcoSport also needs to seriously up the FE ante.
Just for the record, my lovely 2018 Ford ECoSport does (NOT) have AWD. Its a base model SE! Still never achieved anything over 26 mpg highway using a feather foot. No wonder, at 70 mph, the tiny engine is running at 2600 rpm.
 

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Odd that my 2017 Honda CR-V with a much larger 4 cyl engine then the Match-Box Toy Engine in the Ford EcoSport gets much better fuel economy both City and HW. Say what you want about the negative aspects of CVT, it does achieve excellent FE. Ford needs to remove the "Eco" from its Mini-Cuv immediately. Unless perhaps, they meant "Echo" instead of "Eco"(nomy) or "Eco" (logy) which it does neither.
 
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