By on June 2, 2008

eh3.jpgThe Ford Escape was the world's first hybrid SUV. Contrary to popular belief, The Blue Oval's gas – electric trucklette does NOT use Toyota's Synergy Drive. FoMoCo's hybrid cute ute shares some patents with ToMoCo, and that's it. And there's another idea floating around: Ford is artificially restricting supplies to limit their loss-per-vehicle. True dat. Until and unless Ford can find a way to reduce its costs, the automaker has capped production of "the most fuel-efficient SUV on Earth" at 25k special order units per year (so much for Bill Ford's 250k hybrid pledge). Tales of three month waits are not unknown. The question is, what, if anything, are we missing?

Last year, Ford updated the Escape's sheetmetal. Forgoing any remaining off-road pretense, the 2009 Escape features lip and rear-wheel spoilers for improved aerodynamics. Coupled with purpose built, low resistance Michelins, these tweaks increase mileage by 1 mpg across the range, city and highway. Visually they aren't terrible, but I miss the "aw shucks" fuzzies from the first gen Escape. Also, 1959 called and it would like its chrome back. All in all, the new Escape resembles a Jeep Liberty after the Atkins diet.

escape-hybrid-dashboard.jpgInside, it's a makeover to remember. Ford has been engaged in a death match with Chrysler, competing to give customers the worst interiors money can buy. Judging by the new Escape, Chrysler's won. Er, lost. Slab after slab of faux piano key material replaces the nauseating plastic previously dominating the Escape's cabin. It's a major step in the European direction. Blue collar ute purists will question the need for leather in such a vehicle, but we can't fault the 60/40 tip-forward second row seats, which put the "U" in SUV.

Sure, junky parts bin drek like the stalks and switches still stink-up the joint. But the horrid "brick" radio head unit– complete with 70's-style toothpick display– is gone. The Escape's new [optional] nav unit, with Sync and Sirius Travel Link, is a genuine game changer. The screen's bright, legible and large, with no-brainer touch-screen functionality. You get the now-usual "what's it doing" hybrid display, Syncitude (full phone and iPod integration, voice recognition plus a 10 gig drive) and real-time data from Sirius: weather for one, up-to-date traffic info, sports scores, my favorite movie listings and more. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infinity and Cadillac should all hang their heads in shame. Ford is now selling the best navigation system in the business. Bar none.

eh4.jpgThe Escape Hybrid still comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Ford's engineers have eliminated the transmission's endlessly annoying, never-shifting whine; it finally works, feels and sounds like a standard autobox. Ford's hybrid team has also created a brake simulation module to convince Escape drivers there are normal, non-regenerative stoppers underfoot. Job done. Perhaps most importantly, the Escape's noise, vibration and harshness levels have been reduced significantly. The cut ute's ride quality still doesn't match the transplants' highly evolved CUVs, but neither does the Escape's comfort level rival that of the Ford Focus. 

The Escape Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient model, but it's also the heaviest, by 300 lbs. An additional rear sway bar helps handling, but the gas – electric cute ute's as top heavy as an Anabolic Video actress, and a lot less nimble. It is, however, no longer slower than slow motion. For '09, the gas engine part of the Escape's drivetrain grows from a 2.3-liter to a 2.5-liter four, boosting net horsepower from 155 to 177. The zero to 60mph sprint now takes less than 10 seconds. If you've got patience and persistence, you can just about evoke the gods of understeer. To keep them at bay on slick surfaces, electronic stability control finally makes it Escape debut.

09escape_04_hr.jpgEvery chance it gets, the Escape seamlessly shuts the gas engine down and runs off batteries. Like all Hybrids, mileage depends upon how you drive. If you're ready for the possibility of the person behind you exiting their vehicle, running up and bashing your skull in with a mallet (I love LA), very gentle throttle inputs will keep the gas motor at bay up to 40 mph. Even the Lexus LS600hL can only pull off that trick up to 30 mph. When no other cars are present you can hypermile your gas – electric Ford to 60 mpg around town.

Speaking of ToMoCo, a basic Escape Hybrid stickers at $28k. Our full-on tester would set you back $36,500 (ultimate ICE with satellite radio costs $2890). That's a lot of green. At that price, the Escape Hybrid overlaps with the seven-seat Toyota Highlander Hybrid ($33,700) AND it's not a million miles away from the Lexus RX400h ($43k). Factor in depreciation…

eh7.jpgThe Ford Escape Hybrid may be the politician's PC whip of choice, but it's still overpriced for the mainstream. If The Blue Oval Boyz aren't making money at this price, limiting supply makes a lot of sense. But you know what would make even more sense? Taking the hit.

(Ford provided the test vehicle, insurance and gas for this review) 

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56 Comments on “2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Review...”


  • avatar
    Robstar

    This is something I’d seriously consider for the “suv wanting wife”. I wonder how reliability is?
    She is a _very_ slow driver with less than 10,000 miles of driving experience (90% city driving, and asks me to drive if it’s highway….) and rarely gets over 40mph.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I park next to one and was really impressed with the interior, compared to the non-hybrid 2003 I rented a few weeks before.

    I always questioned the wisdom of small, non-off-road SUVs, and making it a hybrid doesn’t change anything to it. It’s still a brick on wheels. That hybrid system would be much better in a lower-slung wagon.

  • avatar
    jomatt

    First time seeing a Yiddish word for s**t used in a car blog. “Drek”

    Epes iz kalyeh gevoren mit dem oyto.

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    I really like my 2002 V6 Escape. A friend of mine, knowing this and looking for a way to save gas and money, shopped the Escape Hybrid. It only got about 2 mpg more than mine – but her commute was almost entirely rural highway.

    This vehicle makes a lot more sense for the townies, I suppose, but I bought mine because it had AWD. What is the point of a non-AWD hybridized SUV?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Jomatt,

    Sure. But the escape is much better than it used to be inside.

    Tsi farshtait ir?

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    At my previous job, land use planner for Ada County (Boise, ID), we had Escape Hybrids for vehicles. They did very well in most conditions and returned great numbers. They had a few minor TSBs but they are very reliable vehicles, especially as fleet. Even NYC has approved them for taxi use.

    The CVT was smooth and I actually enjoyed listening to it work the engine on inclines and such when the cruise control was on. Just seemed more efficient than a traditional geared transmission. While cruising on the highway, it seemed the electric motor would act as a boost when needed, otherwise it performed as well as my Mazda3 (with the same basic 2.3l MZR engine).

    The AWD gave excellent traction in the snow and most roads. However, they could get stuck easily on an incline in gravel…and the gas motor wouldn’t always kick on unless you turned the AC to max, then you had the power to climb a little.

    Now, I’ve driven some V6 Escapes through pretty good trails before and only the traction control was it’s weak point (you don’t want it) but it can go where 99% of SUV owners want to go. Same manner as an Explorer would be used(which does benefit from having a traditional 4WD system).

    BUT $38k is way too much for a Ford Escape! With all that said, I would consider an Escape for the next family vehicle. The previous V6 model performed very well, and I think the revised 2.5l I4 will perform well too. I would probably get the non-hybrid I4 over the hybrid model for cost reasons (upfront and down the line). I drove an original RAV4 not too long ago, it moved along just fine with it’s 120HP, I think a 177HP Escape will do well too (in Boise or in the mountains).

  • avatar
    volvo

    Although the review is about the hybrid Escape I was considring a 2009 4WD non-hybrid Escape.

    Not bad price, not bad ground clearance (8.1 in), more power, 6 speed auto and inproved interior. However from the specifications I can find the 4WD non hybrid escape has, get this, rear wheel drum brakes and no ESC.

    Also it appears that the 4WD version has a lower ground clearance than the FWD model!

    Where do you find a source for drum brakes? Left over parts from 1988 Ford escort stock?

    The triumph of form over function at the D3 will continue to endanger their survival.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I understand the brakes, and would prefer 4-wheel discs. One thing I’ve noticed about Ford brakes is how long they last (maybe it’s just the driver). My Mazda3 has 41k miles and the pads have plenty of life, my dad’s Explorer 4WD just had the original pads replaced at 72k miles. A friend with an 05 Mustang GT has gotten alot of mileage on his pads as well.

    But why do you need ESC? It’s just another electronic nanny that dumbs down the driver’s capability because they rely too much on such items. You have electronic AWD and ABS, that is really more than enough for the Escape. It has a greater center of gravity but is stable in emergency situations.

    Ford added some aero bits to improve mileage, I think this sacrificed the ground clearance, but also the rear diff might hang a bit (just a speculation).

  • avatar
    dwford

    From a purely monetary perspective, the Escape Hybrid does not make financial sense. With the base price difference plus the rebates, a 4 cylinder Escape – now with 6 spd auto – is a solid $6k less. Most people will never save enough gas to cover that gap.

    Speaking of gaps, a 3 month wait would be a dream. I have an 09 Hybrid on order for a customer – submitted 2 months ago. He will be lucky to see it before the fall. Figure a 6 month wait….

  • avatar
    trk2

    There’s nothing wrong with having rear drums on this vehicle. The 2008 Forester, Imprezza, Tuscon, Tacoma, and Corolla all have rear drum. It’s not that rare.

  • avatar
    netrun

    Friend of mine just bought one of these in non-hybrid trim for his mom. It really does look and feel miles better than the original. Ford has finally taken a page from the “Slow, but steady improvement” book the imports have been reading from for years.

    The hybrid sticker price is shocking. But they shouldn’t have any trouble finding 25k buyers, even at that price level. And for a company that’s leveraged everything not nailed down, selling more of these at a loss would be suicidal. I don’t know that GM would have the discipline to limit the sales like Ford has. Scary that.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I remember buying my first SUV in years, right after Katrina. A four-cylinder, 5-speed Ford Escape for my BIL. He replaced the interior with a full leather one for $175. I think his best for mileage has been 27 mpg which isn’t bad given what it is.

    If this vehicle can indeed stay electri up to 40 mph then it is a fantastic buy. Is the 60 mpg in the write-up based on the town driving or is it hypothetical given the powertrain’s ability. It would be real interesting to see how hypermiling can effect the city fuel economy of the Escape hybrid.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Did you actually get close to 60mpg driving it around the city? That’s really amazing.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    When I had my older Escape, I tried and tried and tried and tried some more to really hate that interior…but I couldn’t. I thought they could’ve done a better job with the instrument cluster (starting with getting rid of that ‘raided the Playskool parts bin’ look), but it didn’t make me violently ill either. I was rather comfortable in it, to be honest, and with my job, I spent many hours on the road in it.

    The price gripe is interesting. Make a car affordable, and people argue that it’s too much of a stripper penalty-box on wheels. Give it the same features that you get in other countries, and now it’s too much. It makes me wonder if people are really willing to shell out money for a smaller car that is well-appointed, or if we’re falling back into the rule that that small cars should have small prices.

    Of course, since it is a hybrid, I don’t think depreciation will be an issue with it (or any other hybrid for that matter). It’s not like gas is going to drop anytime soon.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    dolo54:

    No, not even close. In horrendous, West Side traffic, I got around 34 mpg.

    You get 60 mpg when running in full electric mode.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    But why do you need ESC? It’s just another electronic nanny that dumbs down the driver’s capability because they rely too much on such items. You have electronic AWD and ABS, that is really more than enough for the Escape. It has a greater center of gravity but is stable in emergency situations.

    As someone who had a friend flip her Escape shiny-side down, I’d say ESC ought to be mandatory, especially in anything top-heavy like this. As much as people deride “eletronic nannies”, one day, something unforseen will happen (snowy weather, black ice, etc) and your vaunted driving skills will be for naught. AWD does very nothing in an uncontrolled skid, and ABS only helps a little.

    ESC is all software: it weighs nothing and, in a mass-market vehicle that isn’t going to be running hot laps on the Nordschleife, it’s a good thing to have. On a family car, I’d expect it to be standard.

  • avatar
    volvo

    To follow up comments on my post.

    Many of my vehicles have had rear drums so I could live with them. But do they really save any significant money for the manufacturer? As an aside my 1972 MBZ and 1985 Volvo had rear discs so it is not cutting edge technology.

    Regarding the question of why someone would want ESC.

    For me why not? Every iteration I have seen has a switch where a driver can turn it off on those days where they believe their reflexes and experience are better than the computer.

    I don’t believe it adds significantly to the cost of the vehicle (about 1% were I have seen it priced as an option).

    Regardless of a persons driving experience and skill they may be forced into a rapid evasive manuever by another vehicle or large animal. In a vehicle with a relatively high center of gravity at speed ESC may make the difference between evasion and carnage. As I get older (and more experienced) nanny doesn’t seem so bad.

  • avatar
    shaker

    34 MPG in “horrendous” traffic is excellent, especially for a vehicle of this weight.
    How much cargo space is sacrificed for the battery pack?

  • avatar
    NN

    I am guessing that Ford will also limit the amount of hybrid Fusions produced. Sad, because if Ford just produced and sold as many as they could, then they wouldn’t be that far behind Toyota when it comes to the public’s perception of hybrid technology–and in leveraging their costs and eventually becoming profitable with these. That’s also a few million dollars worth of advertising costs saved, since they wouldn’t have to spend so much money greenwashing like GM does.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I’m not saying that AWD or ABS will give you the same benefits, but if you know how to work with those systems, and the vehicle (as well as understanding what a road condition may be like) then it’s not really neccessary.

    I’ve lived in the Rocky mtn region for quite some time, and have never needed or desired ESC. Every vehicle we’ve had (from variations of Mercedes’ system to Ford’s ASC on the Explorer) it can become a hindrance when trying to get out of a street with a foot or more of snow (living in Park City, and the cabin in Sun Valley).

    It can kill momentum when trying to get out of a shopping center parking lot when the roads are iced, especially the GM system that I’ve had in multiple rental vehicles. It can damned near get you stuck in a muddy (and snow covered) Montana county road when you’re meeting a client about his wind generation farm.

    And most of those issues are because ESC is often combined with a traction control device.
    I guess that’s why they give you a defeat button.

    Hey, if it makes the driver next to me keep his vehicle on it’s intended side (and lane) then that is great.

    Finally, it won’t defy the laws of physics.

    @Volvo: I agree that when my 82 Volvo 244 has disc brakes (and same size rotors as my 06 Mazda 3), then what savings is there by having a drum setup. A disc setup is no more complicated or much more expensive than a drum setup.

  • avatar
    WildBill

    TEXN3 said: I understand the brakes, and would prefer 4-wheel discs. One thing I’ve noticed about Ford brakes is how long they last (maybe it’s just the driver).

    You’ll all think I’m lying but I have an ’89 Ford Club Wagon van, 130,000 + miles with the original rear drum brakes and only on the 2nd set of front disc pads! I bought it brand new in late ’89 so I know what service it’s gotten. I keep asking the guys who service it if the brakes are OK so it gets a professional look. It does have a fair amount of road miles, but to go 20 yrs. on the same brakes seems somewhat miraculous(?).

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I’ve heard there may be a slight fuel economy benefit to using rear drums, since discs are designed to drag the calipers on the rotors a bit. Not a huge difference, to be sure, but every bit helps.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Is ‘hypermiling’ a defeatist logic? I mean, I thought that the whole point of owning a hybrid was to provide a normal driving experience coupled with a substantial increase in fuel mileage over the non-hybrid versions.

    If performance is at such a low consideration in a hybrid that one drives it at an exceedingly slow pace, wouldn’t it be a lot more cost effective to just buy a substantially slower (but substantially cheaper) smaller engined ICE version that gets nearly as good gas mileage?

  • avatar

    Stability control is standard on all 2009 Escapes. The Hybrid used to have rear discs, but those went away for 2009.

    The 2006 and 2008 Escapes are both about average in reliability in TrueDelta’s latest results. Small sample sizes in both cases, though. In general, Fords are holding up well these days.

    Owners have posted their fuel economy here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/fuel_economy.php?stage=pt&bd=Ford&mc=82

  • avatar
    Ach

    ^^^And in fact stability control (called AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control in Ford lingo) was standard on all 2008 Escapes except the Hybrid, for which it was unavailable.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think I recall reading that drums are less susceptible to debris damage (when mounted in the rear) and warping, and that in non-performance vehicles there’s not a lot of need for rear discs.

    Warped rotors suck. If stopping distances aren’t compromised, I’d trade discs for drums any day.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The Hybrid used to have rear discs, but those went away for 2009.

    I was under the impression that the Hybrid was the only ’09 Escape with rear disc brakes…

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Drum brakes in the rear are fine. the fronts do most of the work. A great deal of effort goes into limiting the braking in the rear to prevent lockup etc. rear drums have more than you will ever get to use with ABS. The only down side is if they get hot, which is hard to do on the rears. The rear drums also outlast the front discs 2or 3 to 1. Plus with rear disc you also get a mini mechanical set of drum brakes for the parking brake.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Just hopped on Ford.com and all 2008 models have 4-wheel disc brakes and AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control). XLS, XLT, Limited, and Hybrid…2WD and 4WD, I4 and V6.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Well said– JUNIPER

    Rear disc have been over hyped for years.

  • avatar
    dmosbach

    TEXN3 :
    But why do you need ESC? It’s just another electronic nanny that dumbs down the driver’s capability because they rely too much on such items

    Ummm – is that a serious question?

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I have an 05 with 4 wheel disc brakes. I also have the V6 engine, and while i’ve gotten 24 mpg o trips, most the time i average around 18.5 to 19 mpg combined. But i admit to having a heavy foot. My friend averages about 32 mpg combined in his 06 Escape Hybrid. I was able to deal them down to $24K on a loaded Limited while my friend paid $31K for his Hybrid. I would NEVER recoup that price difference in gas savings. I love my Escape, it’s the perfect size for passengers and cargo (can carry 12 bags of mulch without even putting the seats down) easy to park, does great on the beach, and i’ve driven 81K trouble-free miles so far, but sadly, with gas going up i’ll probably sell it later this year.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    I’ve driven the new Escape in January in Halifax, NS. I DESPISE the new interior. It is a clusterf**k of superfluous buttons, all identical. Hate them. My friend’s old Escape has a much better “user interface”. Also, it handled like s**t on skates in Nova Scotia winter, even with 4WD.

    Nevertheless, I would love to see the hybrid power plant from this Escape in other Ford vehicles, like Taurux X or Flex.

    I’ll pass on Escape.

  • avatar
    jayparry

    Infinity? Is it supposed to be a joke or just a typo?

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    I disagree with those of you who think that rear drums are okay. Even in small, light cars, the extra stopping ability of discs can make a critical difference in an emergency. Brakes are still the first defense against bad things happening when driving, and I won’t give up even a tiny bit of that insurance. Defensive driving can only help you so much.

    There are other, better places to save money, in my opinion.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I drive mostly highway miles (about 50 a day), and I ran the figures and the added cost of the hybrid would not make up for the fuel savings costs. Seems to be the case with a lot of hybrids.

    Also, about disc brakes, in the 80′s I had a sports car with f/r disc brakes (which wasn’t common back then). I could still lock them up and lose control. I wish I had had ABS back then, as for the first car that I owned that did, I quickly found out that it helped keep the rear end where it should be under hard braking.

    Today I have a Jeep TJ Wrangler. It has rear drums, however it does have ABS. I could have ordered it with f/r discs instead with no ABS, but I selected the ABS. Yes I am aware that ABS isn’t everything, but like I said, it helps to keep the rear end where it should be. It’s especially great on a short wheel base Jeep.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Never mind…

  • avatar
    jomatt

    Jonny,

    billik vi borsht

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    I think the million dollar question for hybrid vehicles like the Escape is this: When compared, dollar-for-dollar with the non-hybrid, at what point does the hybrid make sense?

    People act like the hybrid technology conveys by itself some kind of environmental halo over the vechicle but all it really does is help you save gas (and therefore money.) If you can save the same amount of gas some other way, then the hybrid technology doesn’t really add any value.

    So my question would be this: What is the price and MPG comparison between the CVT-equipped hybrid and the 4 cyl, FWD, 5 speed (do they still offer a 5 speed) version? Because if you can get 90% of the savings as long as you were willing to put up with a slower vehicle and shift your own gears, and do it for $10k less, wouldn’t that actually be more “environmentally friendly” than the hybrid?

    And for that matter, wouldn’t the lower weight of the non hybrid (with no batteries or other hybrid tech) actually help “restore” some of the power you lose by going to the 4 cyl?

    It just seems to me we could save a lot of gas in this country if we were just willing to give up 8 second 0-60 times. My old Mazda B2000 pickup probably tood 5 minutes to get up to 60, but it also returned 35mpg on a regular basis.

  • avatar
    simonptn

    Now doesn’t it make more sense to lose money making cars that people want rather than losing money paying people to buy cars that they only want because you are paying them?

    You can capitalize on a loss-leader. A loss-loser is just that.

    I bet they wish it was 2010 and they could quietly forget about the F150 launch.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I concur Martin. As a potential Escape buyer, I would much rather get the new XLT I4(2.5l) ATX (6speed) AWD model (AWD is no longer available with MTX)

    $22 grand with a decent amount of creature comforts, 177hp/170 lb-ft torque, and 22/26 mpg ratings versus spend over $28grand for the Hybrid AWD model with slightly better fuel savings, same creature comforts, more weight, and possibly more maintenance issues in the future. The I4 non-hybrid model will perform quite well in 95% of driving.

    The mpg ratings are not far off from the current vehicle, Mazda3 with basically the same drivetrain (smaller 2.3l version and FWD).

  • avatar
    alpha94

    I still can’t believe the difference in car prices between US and Canada. A Hybrid here loaded like that is more like $42k and after you pay the 10% finance or 11% lease rate it’s more like 55-58k.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    I concur Martin. As a potential Escape buyer, I would much rather get the new XLT I4(2.5l) ATX (6speed) AWD model (AWD is no longer available with MTX)

    $22 grand with a decent amount of creature comforts, 177hp/170 lb-ft torque, and 22/26 mpg ratings versus spend over $28grand for the Hybrid AWD model with slightly better fuel savings, same creature comforts, more weight, and possibly more maintenance issues in the future. The I4 non-hybrid model will perform quite well in 95% of driving.

    Which also makes me wonder what would happen if Toyota introduced a non-hybrid version of the Prius. use the same skinny tires and slippery design but replace the drivetrain with a 1.5 or 2l I4 of conventional design and a 5 or 6 speed manual tranny. Sure, it wouldn’t be as quick as a hybrid Prius but without all the batteries and hybrid stuff it would be quick enough for 95% of the people out there, and would still likely return 35-40 mpg.

    I know lots of people love high-tech, but to me it’s just more stuff to break. The KISS principle is as valid in car design as it is in other parts of life.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Martin, I doubt very much whether it would be quick enough for most people given that this site is still full of people claiming the existing, quicker, engine isn’t quick enough.

    The problem is that despite what you hear from blowhard anti-hybrid FUDders, the battery does in fact help with highway driving as well as city driving. Namely, even with a bigger gas engine like you describe, people wouldn’t tolerate the amount of time it would take to get up to cruising speed, even though even the current gas engine can obviously maintain a highway cruise.

    The Prius was the most reliable vehicle one or more of the last few years.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Martin, I would like to see more vehicles like that. I always thought the Honda Civic HF or HX was a brilliant idea…take a regular model and tweak it for a different type of performance.

    But Toyota sells a similiar vehicle to what you are describing, the Corolla (and even Yaris). I’d rather have the hatch design than a sedan.

    M1EK, people here on TTAC are alot more open to realistic performance and vehicles than on Autoblog or LLN. I’ve always been one to prefer a more simple drivetrain that doesn’t cost as much to purchase or operate.

  • avatar
    hybridplus

    The one thing I think people tend to forget is that with the hybrid escape you also get a $3000 tax credit (as long as yo pay $3000 or more in taxes). So that would take the extra cost of hybrid down to only $3000 more. Also – the resale is much higher (look at 2005-7 hybrid escapes vs non hybrids – the hybrids are actually about $3k – 5k more) so you would gain a lot in gas savings and not pay anymore in actuality.

  • avatar
    rtz

    That dash looks like the Nerf company had a go at it. Like it’s setup in case one doesn’t wear their seat belt and gets slammed into it. Looks like the foam padding is about 4″ thick.

    “the world’s first hybrid SUV”

    But their too chicken to have the first plug in.

    Remember those sweet RAV4 EV’s that still sell for big bucks on eBay? How about an electric Escape? Several different range models to choose from.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_RAV4_EV

    How about a lowered city sports model? Ever seen a Saleen Explorer?

    http://www.fast-autos.net/vehicles/Saleen/2000/Explorer_XP8/

    How about a stripped down model that reduces it’s base price to less then the cost of a Prius?

    How about a high performance model that is quicker then most vehicles on the road?

  • avatar
    Gary Gattis

    Hi Jonny

    Great article and I have linked it on a few sites I post on.

    Where did you come up with the ’09 FWD FEH could get up to 60mpg in town? With my ’05 FWD FEH, I have hit 70.3mpg in a 20 mile round trip when my pack had about 20,000 miles on it. Today, I have about 48,000 miles and I can’t get that number anymore.

    A new FWD FEH in the past could not make it to 40mph from a stop, but this ’09 sounds like it’s possible. Because the ’09 has so many improvements, I ordered a new ’09 FWD Limited FEH W/Nav. here in South Florida. What I’m trying to confirm with the ’09 FEH/MMH is that the A/C to D/C converter was updated to the new Variable Voltage Converter (VVC). Toyota changed to the Buck Boost Converter in the Prius in 2004 and other Hybrids later. Both these converters provide a much more efficient way of reducing conversion losses and increasing voltage. As another benefit, there is not as much heat created in the motors or HV battery. This will allow the 330V HV battery to last longer in EV than the present system. I’m hoping to break through the 80mpg 20 mile round trip if this system has been updated with the new VVC.

    The Ford Hybrid Fusion/Milan is also getting the new VVC, but Ford is trying to cut cost with a smaller new 275V HV battery. Hopefully, you will give us a review of a test drive around December of this year.

    GaryG

  • avatar

    People act like the hybrid technology conveys by itself some kind of environmental halo over the vechicle but all it really does is help you save gas (and therefore money.)
    You’re confusing saving gas with polluting less. “Fair-weather” environmentalists and lazy journalists strangely expect the less polluting car model to pay for itself. But many people are willing to put their money into a new car with lower CO2 and smog emissions. It’s nice that I can pollute less by choosing the smaller engine (and save money), but I can pollute even less by spending $$$ on a hybrid, and soon I hope $$$$ on a battery-electric vehicle.

  • avatar
    Meatwaggon

    People aren’t doing the cost savings calculation right. It’s a fairly safe assumption that gas prices will rise (and probably significantly too). In 1988 gas was less than $1/gallon. In 2008 it’s ~$4.5/gallon, yet we have jokers up there calculating “100,000 miles at $4/gallon”, and concluding it’s not worth it. A more accurate cost assessment for a hybrid will have to take increasing gas prices into consideration, something like $0.25 a year increase in cost/gallon (or more). Based on how much you drive and how much gas is going to increase, a hybrid like the Escape could easily recoup the extra cost within 7-8 years, at which point you starting making money on gas saved.

  • avatar
    mykecusa

    I agree with Meatwaggon. I read that projections are in area of $6 a gallon in Summer 2009 and $10 a gallon i Summer 2010.

    The IRS just added the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid to the tax credit list. That is $3000 tax credit for the 2009 FWD Escape Hybrid. $3000 sure brings that price difference of the hybrid Vs the gas verson down to a couple thousand. If I get the EPA mileage, payback might be less than 5 years … more like 3 years.

  • avatar
    awabrams

    hey there. 400 miles on an ’09 FWD; getting 32 mph in mostly in town driving. old school here, do not believe in goosing it for a few thousand miles.

    basically it’s too top heavy and not very nimble, but i’m not in a big hurry, either.

    i hug trees in public, so am not ashamed to say that low emissions played a role in the decision to buy–OTOH, did not care to run with the prius pack…plus it makes a good statement to my clients as my business is green building.

    but mykecusa–DUDE! did i hear you correctly about the tax cred? KA-CHING!

    -AA

  • avatar
    who_the

    Ford just posted the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid to its main fordvehicles.com Web page. “Standard power 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes” can be found under the specs for the “Chassis.”

    If it’s not a typo, does this indicate Ford has indeed switched back to disc brakes for the Hybrid? I had seen other specs that had shown drum brakes for the Hybrid (as discussed in this thread).

    Had anyone actually *seen* a 2009 Escape Hybrid with drum brakes? If Ford made a last-minute change to discs all-around, that would be interesting. Perhaps it’s at the urging of fleet operators interesting in reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

    And might this explain the delay in launching/delivering the 2009′s?

    Yay Ford!

  • avatar
    Gary Gattis

    The Gas Escape always had front Disc brakes and rear drum brakes. The Hybrid models got both rear and front disc brakes. The ’09 FEH/MMH was changed back to drum brakes and I know because I own a ’05 FEH and a new ’09 FEH.

  • avatar
    mrbungholio

    Just got ours after a 6 month wait. What an absolutely horrible thing to do to consumers who WANT to buy your product. Had almost as long a wait for our 2008 Escape Hybrid. But, like the 2008….what a vehicle! Absolutely spectacular. If Ford could mass-produce these I think they’d be having far less problems than they’re having.


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