Safety-wise, the Escape Hybrid has front, as well as optional side and canopy air bags, and achieves four- and five-star crash test ratings. It's covered by a three-year/36,000-mile general warranty augmented with eight years or 100,000 miles of coverage for the hybrid parts. Ford includes three years of roadside assistance, even if you run out of gas. The Escape Hybrid's Web site has loads of pages on the ins and outs of hybrid technology as well as a link to arrange a test-drive, but it lacks an interactive maintenance application such as those found on Honda and Toyota's Web sites. Ford runs a toll-free hotline for problems, and a technician was immediately available on the line and correctly answered our query.
|0 to 60mph acceleration||30mph to 50mph lane-pass test||Braking distance||Noise||Fuel economy|
To gauge how well the car performs in real-world situations, we put it through a battery of instrumented tests that simulate actual road maneuvers. With an Escort GT2 Vehicle Performance Computer monitoring the action, we start from a level stopped position, calibrate the device before each run, repeat each test at least three times, and average the results.
0 to 60mph
From a dead stop, we smoothly press on the accelerator to the floor as we lift off of the brake pedal to accelerate as quickly as possible. While moving, we take note as to whether the car veers right or left or loses traction.
30mph to 50mph lane pass
To simulate the car's ability to accelerate at speed, we time how long it takes to go from 30mph to 50mph.
From a steady speed of at least 65mph, we firmly press on the brake pedal to slow the car down to a complete halt while noting if the car veers either way, the level of ABS shutter, and if there is any fading. The computer starts recording the braking distance at 60mph.
Starting with a full tank of 87 octane or greater fuel, we drive on a variety of roads for at least 350 miles and compute the vehicle's gas mileage based on what's consumed and the odometer reading. While duplicating the driving route and conditions is impossible, we strive for a real-world mix of city (frequent stop and go), suburban (midrange speeds with occasional stops), and rural driving (steady highway speeds).
Driving at a steady speed of 60mph, we set a RadioShack sound-level meter on the passenger seat. We record an average the measurement over a 15-second period.