The revamped Escape hybrid gives Ford a much-needed victory. Perfect? No. Revitalizing? Definitely.
Plucky, over-achieving if under-funded, better than it ought to be but not quite as good as it might have been, the Escape Hybrid runs on gas, electricity and no small amount of charisma. Considering how up against it Ford is these days, it's hard to see this SUV as anything short of a triumph. The irony is that this is just the sort of vehicle that can ultimately save Ford.
2008 Ford Escape Hybrid AWD
Base price: $25,740
Price, as tested: $32,000 (est.)
Powertrain: 2.3-liter, inline four-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle engine; continuously variable transmission; 70-kW permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric motor; 330-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery; all-wheel drive.
Horsepower: 155 hp at 6,000 rpm (net)
Curb weight: 3,794 pounds
0-60 mph: under 10 seconds
Wheelbase: 103.1 inches
Overall length: 174.7 inches
EPA fuel economy: 29 miles per gallon city; 27 mpg highway
Final thoughts: Ford puts on its rally cap
My own thoughts: Except for the '57 Ranchero and a coupla other models from way back, I wouldn't have a Ford up my ass if I had room for a boxcar, except for this one.
Those of you who are considering one of these, and you know who you are, go read.