As Fuel Prices Rise, 2008 Escape Hybrid Is a Winner
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Ford Escape hybrid SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: 26.8 mpg. That was our average during a mix of city/highway test-driving in the restyled 2008 Escape hybrid. Not bad at all, we say, for the roomy SUV that comfortably and securely can carry five passengers. The ride is smooth but steadfast in the unified welded steel body of the Escape.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 2.3-liter V-4 cylinder engine offers 133 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 124 pounds-feet of torque at 4250 rpm. Mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission, the Escape is equipped with a 330-volt nickel-metal hydride battery. The SUV can run on a blend of gasoline and electric motor, just plain old petroleum or only on electric. The Escape hybrid's especially efficient with fuel savings in stop-and-go-traffic or under a speed of 25 mph. That's when the electric motor works its magic. Recharging the battery during brakes or stops is a generator motor. Suspension is handled by independent MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar in the front; the rear gets lateral links and a trailing arm design. An electric power-assist steering system guides the SUV quite assuringly into a tight parking spot.
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