The 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid is outfitted with the same 2.3 liter, four cylinder as the previous model year. Together with the 70-kw electric traction motor you’re going to get combined horsepower of about 155. The batteries are sealed nickel-metal hydride. Working in tandem, the gasoline and electrical systems return performance equivalent to a V6. Four-wheel drive is optional and is computer-controlled.
Software improvements are responsible for greatly enhanced power distribution. With a continuously variable transmission and electric power steering, the mechanics of the Escape Hybrid line continue to evolve in the right direction. The SUV meets all the requirements for Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle and Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle ratings and stands out for its ability to run in full electric power at speeds of up to 25 mph. This maximizes in-town efficiency and produces fuel economy 80 percent greater than that of the gasoline Escape. Other refinements to come out of the reworked software include noticeably improved transparency for the transition from electric to gas mode and back.
On the exterior, the Escape Hybrid has bulked up this year. Some reviewers are calling it “chunky,” but really it’s just a more solid look, closer to that of the popular Explorer and Expedition models but in a smaller “crossover” package.
For the interior, the major modification is the addition of a readout strip under the windshield that includes information like temperature and functions for the radio. In keeping with the green philosophy of the hybrid genre, the seats are covered in recycled materials. Look for an MP3 jack in the audio system. Gone is the old green dash lighting, replaced with cool blue. The console between the driver and passenger seats has been enlarged and will easily accommodate a laptop. (Occupants are protected by Ford’s Safety Canopy airbag array.)
Expect an MSRP of $25,265 for the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid. The vehicle seats five and uses a 60/40 split fold seat to the rear. The battery pack sits beneath the rear load floor and does not compromise the vehicle’s 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. Put the seat down and you get 65 cubic feet. Up top, the roof rack can handle 100 lbs.