Cheating the wind with aerodynamic improvements helps the 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner become more fuel efficient.
Already among America’s most fuel-efficient and environmentally
friendly SUVs, the Escape and Mariner receive aerodynamic refinements
on top of powertrain upgrades that contribute to an overall estimated 1
mpg improvement in fuel economy for the four- and six-cylinder models.
“Aerodynamic refinements are the most cost-effective ways to reduce
fuel consumption,” says Van Stewart, Escape/Mariner aerodynamicist.
“Without significantly altering the design of the vehicle, we can find
ways to optimize the flow of air to reduce drag and improve fuel
For the 2009 Escape and Mariner, engineers
redesigned the front bumper spoiler and added rear tire spoilers for
better airflow management.
The front spoiler was extended
further over the wheels to diminish drag and was lowered by 40 mm to
redirect air flow. The rear tire spoilers help reduce the aerodynamic
drag of the rear wheels and tires.
“Thanks to the
aerodynamic refinements made to the Escape and Mariner, they are now
fully optimized given the current design of the vehicles,” said Stewart.
This is no small feat, because the Escape and Mariner already were aerodynamically efficient designs.
Stewart and his team of aerodynamics engineers tested all aspects of
the vehicle to find areas of potential improvements for incremental
fuel economy. From underbody shields to door sealing and new mirror
designs, the Ford team spent hours in the wind tunnel and with
sophisticated computer modeling to analyze airflow patterns and measure