A hybrid sport utility vehicle? About six
years ago, the idea still seemed outrageous. But then the Ford Escape
hybrid debuted. Skeptics sneered. But now SUV hybrids are plentiful
from several manufacturers. In other words, there’s competition for the
Ford Escape, even if some of the competition remains from Ford via the
very similar Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute.
The Escape hybrid is a “full” hybrid electric system, meaning the
system can switch automatically between pure electric power, pure
gasoline engine power or a combination of electric battery and gasoline
engine operating together. That means maximum performance and
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
Inclement weather or and off-road treks are always good ways test an
SUV. I didn’t do either in my week with the Escape. But a solid week of
mixed city and freeway driving also gives a good idea of a vehicle’s
versatility. In parking lots, vision is fine for what seems to be
all-too-tight conditions in modern-day malls. On the freeway, the
Escape handled itself with confidence. In the SUV segment, the Escape
is quiet on the open road.
Ford Escape Hybrid Interior
There’s ample comfort for front and rear-seat passengers and
everything is designed cleanly, if conservatively. The look is square,
not curved. Functionality rules over any semblance of plushness. Still,
the look is handsome considering the segment. Black plastic dominates
the console, and it’s attractive. It’s also likely prone to easy
Dials, knobs, door handles, the glovebox and cupholders are easy to
use, with the illuminated cupholders a clever idea not found in many
luxury vehicles. Leather seats are optional and the beige seats matched
against the black console works like a pair of saddle shoes.
Ford Escape Hybrid Exterior
Manufacturers are keen on trying different color shades. Green was
once the most popular color choice for cars, but it was long ago
replaced by white. The exterior paint color of my weekly test drive
Escape was Kiwi Green Metallic. It’s not a neutral color choice by any
definition. It’s an all-or-none color. I thought the color looked
classy; Plenty of friends disliked the color. The boxy body style has
remained unchanged since 2008.
Ford Escape Hybrid Performance
When braking or decelerating, the Escape’s hybrid system uses
regenerative braking, where the electric drive motor becomes a
generator, converting the vehicle’s momentum back to electricity for
storage in the batteries.
With 155 hp (116 kW), the Hybrid Escape has nearly the same
acceleration performance as the conventional 200 hp (150 kW) V6 Escape.
As a result, the hybrid’s acceleration in my experiences during the
past few years, remains the same as the non-hybrid — with one
exception. On step inclines or long, steady grades, the hybrid is
Illuminated (bright blue) cupholders.
Handsome coordination of blue and red back-lighting on instrument panel.
Crisp digital radio and rear view camera screen.
Black plastic on console. Looks clean, scratches easily.
Must release foot brake by hand. It’s not an easy reach.
2010 Ford Escape Hybrid LTD: Facts & Figures
Acceleration: 0-60 mph (8.9 seconds, gas engine); hybrid untested.
Airbags: Front, front side and side curtain airbags.
Antilock brakes: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Fuel economy (EPA estimates) 34 mpg (city), 31 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: Front driver/passenger (five stars); Side
crash frojt (five stars), rear seat (five stars); Rollover (three
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $32,260.00
Price As tested: $35,775.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5
years/unlimited miles; Corrosion, 6 years/100,000 miles; Roadside
Assistance, 5 years/60,000 miles.
Web site: www.fordvehicles.com.
What Others Say:
“The Escape is a hybrid SUV with solid moves at an affordable price for which no excuses need be made.” —- Car and Drive.
“The Escape Hybrid is also a very functional mini-SUV that’s enjoyable to drive and quite dependable.” —- CNN Money.
“The Escape Hybrid delivers a unique combination of hybrid fuel
efficiency, SUV utility and a sort of rugged and refined style that’s
appropriate for both downtowns and campgrounds.” —- Kelley Blue Book.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“It’s difficult to combine rugged versatility with an impressive
carbon footprint, and it’s hard to have a family vehicle with classy
styling. The Ford Escape isn’t perfect, but it’s a good choice for a
lot of user groups without much compromise.
James, a journalist since 1976, is co-author of Tour de France For
Dummies. He owns several websites, contributes to many print and online
publications and is also the editor of TheWeeklyDriver.com. A long-distance runner for nearly 30 years, Raia also rides his bike — to nearby coffeehouses. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.