Part 1: The Hybrid
Last week, I had the chance to visit Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. I test drove a variety of vehicles while I was there, including the Ford Escape Hybrid. I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical of the SUV at first—after all, if you’re going to go the extra mile to drive a hybrid, why wouldn’t you buy a smaller car? But overall, I was impressed with the new Escape model.
According to Ford, the hybrid delivers 34 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway—an improvement over last year’s model and an achievement that makes the Escape the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market. One Ford employee told me that he had heard of people getting up to 42 MPG, though that is obviously not the norm.
The 2009 model also features a new engine processor that makes the transition between gas and electric mode almost seamless. Additionally, the braking system, which had previously been criticized, is now much smoother. I can attest that this isn’t just corporate speak—during my test drive, I had an extremely pleasant ride.
So if you’re looking for a hybrid SUV, the Escape might just be the way to go. Personally, however, I’d like to wait for the Escape Plug-in Hybrid to come to market—even though the release date is completely up in the air (and probably not anytime soon).
For more reviews of my Ford visit, check back here later in the week.