Ford Escape Hybrid Review: Great &
by Jessica Howell
drivers can't help but notice the powdery
glow of Ford's exclusive paint on the
new 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid-an eye-catching
shade dubbed Light Ice Blue Metallic.
Like the gleaming "HYBRID"
badge on the SUV's rear, it sets apart
both vehicle and driver in a sea of
gas-guzzling, still-standing traffic.
Going green may seem daunting, but it's
an easy task with this full hybrid small
SUV, which effortlessly jumps from 100
percent electric power to 100 percent
gasoline power-or a balance of both-to
produce the most efficient and powerful
Whisper quiet upon start up, the Escape
Hybrid runs on pure electric power at
speeds up to 25 MPH, managing to garner
80 percent better fuel economy than
its conventional twin in city driving.
(That's 500 miles per tank of gas if
you're not cruising highways.) The vehicle,
rated at new 2008 EPA guidelines, is
estimated to earn 34/30 (city/highway)
MPG, a 14 percent improvement from the
2007 Escape Hybrid.
recently climbed into the freshened
2008 Escape Hybrid for a cross-state
trek and test-drive. Ruggedly reminiscent
of the older sibs Explorer and Expedition,
the new exterior design of the Escape
Hybrid is a bit more grown up than years
past. The new exterior also boasts four
new and shiny metallic paint options,
including the noted Light Ice Blue,
Kiwi Green, Vista Blue and Black Pearl
The interior? It's been upgraded as
well. New this year are 100 percent
recycled fabric seating fabrics, produced
from post-industrial waste (think plastic
intended for pop bottles and un-dyed
polyester.) Talk about being green.
on the forefront of comfort is a new
display placed near eye-level on the
dash that highlights temperature, climate
controls, and radio station for at-a-glance
info. Cool, blue lighting takes the
place of green for less-blinding night
drives. And most convenient-a 110-volt
AC power outlet in the center console.
Car phone charger be gone!
Since the Escape is a SUV, cargo space
and capability are major factors. With
the second row (split 60/40) in upright
position, passengers have access to
nearly 28 cubic feet of space for stowing
gear and goods. Those who've got something
to tow can pull up to 1,000 lbs. with
a properly equipped Escape Hybrid, powered
by the 2.3L 4-cylinder gasoline engine
that features Atkinson-cycle combustion
and 70-kWatt electric traction motor.
you're wondering, how was the drive?
It was good. Really. Ford claims that
the hybrid's powertrain "provides
0-60 acceleration performance similar
to the conventional Escape with a 200-horsepower
V6 engine." They're not far off.
The SUV doesn't lack power and it provides
a smooth ride not unlike any other comparable
small SUV. During my three-hour drive
through torrential rains, I was both
pleased and impressed by the hybrid.
course, the best way to discover if
a hybrid is right for you is to test
one yourself, and I think you'll be
surprised by the performance of the
Escape Hybrid. Car-buyers have plenty
of options when building their hybrid,
but most re-assuring, an 8-year/100,000-mile
warranty on hybrid-related components.
Still on the fence? The
Complete Idiot's Guide to Hybrid &
Alternative Fuel Vehicles by Jack Nerad
(Alpha, 2007) details the pros and cons
of purchasing green with plenty of unbiased
explanation. It's worth checking out.
more information on eco-friendly automotive,
visit RTM's "green" section: