Flash Drive: 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Limited AWD
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Added for 2009, the Hybrid Limited is really the flagship of Ford's Escape line. It combines fuel efficiency with luxury amenities such as leather seats, 16-inch aluminum wheels, chrome exterior accents, chrome and ebony interior trim, ambient lighting, heated front seats and a power moonroof. Even though it's equipped with a larger, more powerful engine than its predecessor, the 2009 Escape Hybrid still achieves nearly 29 mpg city with all-wheel drive (34 with front-wheel drive). The accelerator pedal is a little abrupt, making maneuvering at low speed a little tricky. In addition, regenerative braking causes the brake pedal to feel inconsistent and unpredictable, particularly at low speeds, so the driver must adapt here as well. The reward for doing so is a 50 percent improvement in city mpg. But is it worth it? – Mike Meredith
The Ford Escape Hybrid is absolutely brilliant. It does everything right. The exterior is more stylish than a Tonka Truck, while the interior is classy and sturdy. Even the in-car stereo manages to be better than almost any other I've tried, and little touches — like the ultracool adjustable neon colors for the interior lighting – combine to make this Ford bring a constant smile to your face. The only minor downside may be that the continuously variable transmission commonly found in hybrids doesn't work quite so well in a somewhat heavy vehicle like the Escape. An easy 22 mpg, or better, makes even that worthwhile. One tiny flaw can't overcome the overwhelming feeling that this car is built "just right." The Escape Hybrid is better than any Toyota hybrid I've driven — and I own a Camry Hybrid. – Paul Hagger
The Ford Escape Hybrid provides us with a view into the future of American cars; that is, how to combine American's love of roomy vehicles with fuel-efficient hybrid engines. The Escape Hybrid really excels in city driving, where the gas engine stops running under certain conditions. The hybrid engine can operate alone up to 9 mph before the gas engine engages smoothly. I achieved 32 mpg in mixed driving. The Escape Hybrid also provides good power for highway passing. Inside, the navigation system displays an informative energy flow chart so you can optimize your driving behavior. When equipped with the Sync system, you can keep your eyes on the road and let the accurate voice-recognition system adjust the climate control, make a phone call or change the stereo settings. Fit and finish are fine, though the dash seemed a little chunky with a lot of plastic. But you can still receive a great deal on this hybrid, and unlike most hybrid Toyotas, you can still receive a tax-rebate check from the IRS until March 2010 for the Escape Hybrid. – Joe Chulick