Ford Escape Embodies the True Spirit of Hybrid Technology

By dancurranjr On June 2nd, 2009

ford-escape-hybridThe color green used to be solely reserved for St. Patricks Day, jealousy and grass stains.

Now, however, it is the color of a movement. Green means energy-saving, environmentally friendly and getting back to nature. It seems that everybody and everything is “going green.”

Perhaps that is why the Ford company put a little green leaf on the hybrid label of its 2009 Escape.

The Escape definitely saves energy — specifically gas. The self-proclaimed “most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet” pairs a traditional gas engine with a Nickel-metal-hydride battery-powered electric engine. This merger means that the vehicle doesn’t use any fuel when stopped in traffic or up to 40 miles per gallon when in full electric mode. This allows the Ford SUV to get an amazing 34 mpg in stop-and-go traffic, while still offering V6-like acceleration.

Environmentally friendly? This technology, obviously, means that the Escape has much lower emissions. In fact, the hybrid SUV meets strict Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV II) and Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards. Want more environmentally pleasing features? The cloth seat fabric is made from postindustrial materials — polyester fibers that would have ended up in landfills otherwise. And the cushions use a bio-based polyurethane foam derived from the oils of soybeans. More than simply “green,” the durable, comfortable and stylish nature of the material also makes it a perfect fit for the Escape Hybrid.

What really makes the 2009 Ford Escape a hybrid to remember, however, is its 4WD capabilities. Need to get back to nature? No problem in the Escape. The vehicle handles steep dirt inclines, muddy stream beds and other rugged driving with relative ease. As with many conventional SUVs, the Escape comfortably seats five adults and offers plenty of cargo space to boot.

The technology doesn’t stop with the engine. Ford offers a SYNC communications and entertainment system, powered by Microsoft, that comes standard on the 2009 Escape Hybrid. This state-of-the-art, voice-activated system fully integrates many Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players. Additionally, the Escape offers an optional voice-activated navigation system that includes a detailed freeway exit, turn and ramp transition lane guidance; street name announcement, etc. The system comes with a 10MB drive for photo storage, burning CDs and managing music. Also, when the vehicle is stopped, DVD movies can be watched in the viewfinder.

Those who need additional incentive to check out the Ford Escape hybrid should take a look at the federal tax credit. For the FWD model, buyers may be eligible for up to $3,000 in tax credit (not deductions). For the 4WD model, typical tax credits come to $1,950.

One major drawback, for many, when discussing the practicality of a hybrid vehicle such as the Ford Escape, is finding local garages that can service that type of engine at a reasonable price. Doing some undercover work, I called a dozen random local garages fro the phonebook and asked those who answered the phone if they did any work on a Ford Escape hybrid engine. Out of the 12 I called, all 12 said they did not work on the hybrid electrical part of the engine. One mechanic admitted that he hadn’t “monkeyed around” with that sort of engine yet.

Which, of course can mean after the vehicle’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty is up, you will have to pay a little more cash out of your wallet.

Sort of fitting that the ultimate “green” vehicle can also cost you a little extra green at times. Of course, the question is — will the Ford Escape Hybrid save you more in the long haul?

SOURCE: The Daily Item

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