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2005 Escape Hybrid

While gas mileage could still be improved, this small SUV handles well and offers a comfortable ride

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Strong Points: Handling; Comfort; Mileage

Weak Points: Hybrid operation

Mfr.'s Suggested Retail Price: $30,175

Ford touts this as the first full-hybrid SUV, meaning it can run fully on battery power, like the state-of- the-art Toyota Prius, with a Partial Zero Emissions EPA rating. Fortunately, the hybrid technology has been grafted onto what was already a good vehicle.

The basic Escape performs nicely. As a small SUV, it handles decently and offers comfort. The news is the hybrid drivetrain. Mileage is good but not what we expected. This happens because the Escape is fairly heavy, forcing it to switch to the more powerful gasoline engine in situations where the Prius would run on its electric motor. This should improve with advancing technology. Overall, it's not a bad first effort. The Escape Hybrid brings an SUV with improved mileage and emissions -- a trend that must continue.


Engine: 2.3L I4

Horsepower: 133 @ 5,700 rpm

Acceleration: 0-60 mph 9.8 sec.

Braking: 60-0 mph 129 ft.

EPA city/highway: 36/31 mpg


Bumper-to-bumper: 3/36,000

Powertrain: 3/36,000

Rust-through: 5/Unlimited

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