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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Review

Posted on February 18, 2009
Filed Under Ford Escape, Test Drive | Leave a Comment

ford-escape-hybridFew things are as unmasculine as a powder blue cute ‘ute.

There’s a high school girl who lives near me that drives a green cute ‘ute that she seems to like. I imagine she chose green because she felt the powder blue one was too girly.

Tack on a hybrid badge to one and you’re getting downright offensive to most men.

But a funny thing happens when you’re forced to reassess your preconceptions — or in my case, drive the least masculine-looking car short of Barbie-branded Power Wheels. You find out you’re either a fussy knucklehead or an outright genius.

I’m a knucklehead.

Ford, despite still making a few dogs, has a winner in the 2009 Escape Hybrid. I just hope the company is around long enough to make more.

For starters, nothing about the Escape Hybrid screams hybrid, which in my book is a good thing.

There’s no green leaf painted on the door.

It doesn’t look like a Prius.

It doesn’t come standard with “An Inconvenient Truth.”

And it doesn’t make Jetson’s car-type noises when it drives. You know, all the things I thought were standard on all hybrids.

A small badge on the back of the tailgate is the only indication that the vehicle is Al Gore-friendly. Score one for the hybrid.

The Escape Hybrid also won over another point when I found out the car wasn’t just a normal Escape with a rechargeable Duracell in the trunk.

Engineers at Ford really thought this thing through. The hybrid drive system, which is really the main event for this car, fit seamlessly into the powertrain. Acceleration is prompt when the four-cylinder engine and the electric motor work together, and the electric motor by itself handles things nicely.

Score another one for the hybrid.

Admittedly, I found myself coaxing the electric motor to kick in and turn off the gasoline motor frequently just to satisfy my hyper-miling desires.

The electric motor will only power the Escape solo when you’re driving under 40 mph and it’s not too cold outside, something I learned from the handy manual that Ford proclaimed in big bold letters “Not a final version.” And although I wasn’t able to achieve the 33 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway that Ford touts, I averaged a palatable 29 mpg — still nearly 10 mpg better than its four-cylinder brethren.

This highlights the fact that although the Escape Hybrid shares the same assembly line as its gas-running cousins, this really isn’t the same car. The hybrid feels more durable, more solidly put together, and more sure on its feet. I don’t know why, it just does.

And strangely enough, after a few days in the Escape, I found that the car started driving me.

No jackrabbit acceleration, speed was kept to a reasonable pace and I started braking earlier and more smoothly.

The Escape Hybrid is the anti-Corvette.

When matched with Ford’s SYNC system, a $2,400 necessity in this car, the Escape actively engages you in safer, fuel-smart driving. Score again for the hybrid.

Granted, all of this comes at a heftier price. The Escape Hybrid starts at $29,000, and my test version tipped the scales at nearly $34,000. Even at that price though, I can still say that the Escape Hybrid is a bargain.

Which made me start thinking something that I’ve never thought in a review car before:

I’m digging this girly car so much, I want one for myself.

Source: Aurora Sentinal

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