The compact SUV market is teeming with great competition but in the small hybrid category, the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid is a good option. What’s good is that there are a lot of good things in this package.
A glance at the numbers – 66.4 cubic feet of cargo space and an EPA fuel economy rating of 32 mpg – may not prove the Escape Hybrid to be impressive but its combination makes it a versatile and efficient urban vehicle. It also comes with technological features such as the Ford’s Sync voice-activated infotainment system and an automated parallel-parking feature.
On the other hand, the Escape Hybrid has its share of disadvantages. The lines are a little old and the hardware for the hybrid system adds a load that interferes with the braking and handling.
Engine & Performance
There are two trims available for the Hybrid – the base and the Limited.
As a hybrid, fuel economy is one strong suit of the Escape Hybrid. And as a plus, it drives nicely beating the previous reputation of hybrids to be sluggish. It pumps out higher-than-adequate acceleration with its 153-horsepower gasoline engine and 94-horsepower electric motor.
EPA rates the Escape Hybrid at 30/27 mpg city/highway on all-wheel drives and 34/31 mpg on front-wheel drives. These are the best combined fuel economy in the SUV market today.
While many find the handling of the Escape Hybrid very pleasant, the braking continues to be a problem. They find the stopping distance to be a bit long.
The exterior design of the 2011 Escape Hybrid is quite outdated. It hasn’t changed since the 2008 redesign.
However, an impressive feature is the capless self-sealing fuel-filler system. It makes filling up easier and reduces evaporative emissions.
Other features worth mentioning are the chrome exterior accents, sunroof, rear parking assists, and rearview camera.
The Escape Hybrid’s interior may also look dated but is still pleasing to the eye with its soft-touch materials. The Limited models look more state-of-the-art thanks to the chrome accents with changeable ambient lighting to suit the user’s taste.
Like its gas-only sister, the Escape Hybrid seats five and there are not very many issues on comfort and spaciousness. The complaints fall on the lack of a telescoping steering wheel.
The Escape Hybrid comes with additional features such as its dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, and a compass and outside temperature monitor.
Safety & Reliability
The Ford Escape Hybrid offers standard antilock brakes plus front-seat side airbags, stability control, and full-length head curtain airbags with rollover sensor. It also has the MyKey feature for parents who want to set speed limits for their teen children.
The Escape Hybrid boasts a score of perfect five stars in front and side crash testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave a ranking of “Good” on the Escape Hybrid’s frontal offset and side crash protection.
Most Ford vehicles comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty including five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance, this is also available for the Escape Hybrid.
The GMC Terrain is a fuel-efficient and comparable alternative (MSRP $24,500; 22 city/ 32 hwy). The Terrain also has a versatile rear seat and a more modern interior. Another cheaper alternative is the Hyundai Tucson (MSRP $18,895; 22 city/ 30 hwy). It is nearly a match on fuel-efficiency in addition to its high-tech features.
Pros & Cons
If there is something the consumer can expect from the Ford Escape Hybrid, it is the best in fuel economy when it comes to SUV’s while having good handling like a non-hybrid. The shifting from gas to electric is also smooth.
The negative side is that the rear seats aren’t as versatile as rivals and it has a very expensive sticker price. The braking is also quite messy.
72 out of 100
What others say:
“The Escape Hybrid blends the virtues of the conventional Escape with fuel saving technologies.”Consumer Reports
“A gas/electric Hybrid model also returns in Base and Limited trims. It teams a 155-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor. It requires no plug-in charging and uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic.”Consumer Guide
“While the bigger, heavier 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid doesn't deliver all the fuel economy of smaller hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid, it does offer greater utility and capability, especially when outfitted with four-wheel drive.” KBB
|Vehicle Type: Hybrid SUV||Base Price: $30,570.00|
|Fuel Tank Capacity: 15 gallons||Miles Per Gallon: 34 city / 31 hwy|
|Length: 174.7 in. (444 cm)||Width: 71.1 in. (181 cm)|
|Height: 67.7 in. (172 cm)||Curb Weight: 3669 lbs (1664 kg)|
|Wheel Base: 103.1 in. (262cm)||Ground Clearance: 8.3 in. (21 cm)|
|Luggage Capacity: 66.4 cu ft||Maximum Seating: 5|
|Engine: 2.5L Atkinson-cycle I4; permanent-magnet electric motor||Compression Ratio: 12.3:1|
|Horsepower: 155 hp(gas); 94 hp(electric)||Max RPM: 6000 rpm(gas); 5000 rpm(electric)|
|Torque: 136 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm||Transmission: Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT)|
|0-60 mph: NA||1/4 Mile: NA|
|Option:Hybrid Limited||MSRP: $33,080; MPG: 30 city / 27 hwy|