Pros Room of a SUV with mpg of a car
Cons Limited electronics options
Summary I disagree on a lot of points that the Cnet reviewers made. One thing to remember the Escape Hybrid IS AN ESCAPE. It won't stop as fast as the Prius-- it WEIGHS more and is longer and higher. You cannot compare a car to a SUV.
I drove Escapes middle brother, the Explorer for 4 years, so have a great comparison of this hybrid to another SUV. As far as handling, it is just as good, if not a little quicker on the turns since it's a little lighter. The brakes are spongy. Believe me they do stop (after being cut off twice on the freeway this weekend.) They just feel a lot softer than what I'm used to. The noise is actually less than the Explorer. I'm coming to find out that Hybrids in general are quieter cars. So, if you were not used to the noise level of a hybrid, you would find this an acceptible db.
Although I wanted the Navigation system, I wasn't able to get it -- these cars are in great demand. However, I have to say, Ford did a great job of keeping you informed without spending extra money. There is a battery state window that lets you know when the battery is charging vs. dischargin. Using this I learned the right pressure on the brakes to charge the battery the most. The tachometer has an 'EV' region below 0 that lets you know when the electric engine is running solo. Using this, I saw that I was able to get up to and maintain 30mph only on electric (better than Ford promises.) Lastly, the information center gives some great data. First, it tells you the average mpg up to that point. I saw this go from 23mpg when I picked up the car to 30.6mpg in three days -- already almost 10mpg better than the Explorer, and that was mostly highway driving. The info center also lets you know how many miles to empty, and automatically senses when you fill the tank. It also has an instant fuel economy in a bar graph, as well as tells you when the next oil change is due, and the status of many systems.
I don't need fancy graphics in my car when driving. I like, however, pertinent facts like when I may need to fill up for gas, and the savings I'm getting with the Hybrid.
Yes the hybrid costs more than its sibling, it is newer technology that is still not mainstreem. However, you get the satisfaction of saving money at the pump, saving a limited resource (gas products) and not polluting our air more than others do.
I appreciate the fact that Ford has created a bare bones SUV Hybrid for those of us who really need and want the space but don't want to pay $33,000+ for it.
Pros Good MPG, good in the snow, good interior fit and finish
Cons High ineterior noise
Summary I live in the snow belt area of Western Michigan. It is not unusual for 4 to 5 inch snowfall overnight. With that said, I feel that the Ford Escape handles very well in the snow, as good as anything I have driven in my 45 years of driving. By the way, the Escape is not a AWD. It is a on demand 4WD. The Escape, by default, is in front wheel drive until it senses a loss of traction. At that time it goes into 4X4 mode. Ford has a winner here.
Pros 4WD, Gas Mileage
Cons Transmission, Noise, Ride, Sound System
Summary I rather like this car. My mother got this in May 2006, and I have driven atleast half of the 25,000 miles so far. I find the gas mileage decent, 27 if you drive normally, and 24 if you are heavier on the gas. The 4wd system is one of the best I have ever driven, bypassing our old 98 Explorer Limited. I have never had any problems in snow or ice and feel completly safe in this car, assuming you drive reasonably for the weather. The brakes on the car are superior, very responsive and work well. The sound system is lacking in the car. We have the optional upgraded stereo and I find the sound worse than the standard one in my taurus. I dis like the gearless CVT. It revs upto like 6,000 rpms and can be loud, but the advantage to this is that you can use it control gas mileage, the higher the revs, the lower the mileage. All in all the car is a very good one, it is by no means perfect, but a very good 4WD hybrid.
Pros Great mileage, headroom, legroom, and handling.
Cons 4WD should not be all-time 4WD to increase mileage.
Summary This is my third new Ford vehicle I have purchased since 1989. I keep my cars serviced, and they've lasted me from between 7 to 10 years each. I love my new hybrid vehicle. I need the headroom, because I'm tall, so this is the only hybrid into which I can fit. I'd just like to see Ford put the hybrid engine into more of their cars, such as the Taurus and the Focus. They would get great mileage!
Pros Gas savings, comfort, navigation, versatility, quietness, overall size
Cons AC a little weak at first in 110+ Vegas heat, would like an adjustable lumbar option
Summary We are very selective about all purchases, especially cars. We've our 4WD hybrid over a year. We've saved over $130/mo. vs. commuting 50mi/day with our truck. In 8/05, we paid MSRP of $33k, no prem. charge. We got NAV-6CD pkg, safety pkg (a must have), leather, 110v, and a cargo cover.
My husband is 6'4", 280#, and has a bad back. He loves this car and drives it everyday.
I've driven most of the hybrids. Sure, the Highlander has more gadgets, is faster, and has a bit better fit and finish, but it does not get 34mpg. In 05, Highlander was going for $47k w/o nav or 4WD. Still, the Escape is a better value and I would buy it again. If you want a great hybrid sedan, buy a Prius. Mileagewise, there is no comparison.