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Roadshow Video Reviews
2009 Ford Escape Hybrid LimitedWhat makes this *vehicle* America's most successful hybrid?
^B00:00:00 >> You know, it seems like we've had Ford Escape Hybrids as long as we've had hybrids. Over 100,000 of these and its Mercury sibling have been sold. Not Prius numbers, but top five. What gives this boxy little feel-good SUV its staying power? Let's find out. ^M00:00:16 [ Car driving ] ^M00:00:22 Now, I've got to tell you, this isn't a real cheap car, but it feels like it sometimes in the interior. That said, the technology, it's solid. This is the Ford Microsoft Sync System, and on this vehicle, it's part of an optional navigation line item. But I've got to say, even though the screen is fairly small, the touchscreen calibration is very good. It's easy to get around. >> Street address. >> Destination street address. >> You've got the outstanding Sync System to enter via voice, which normally I hate. But on this car, it's a joy. Once you do get your destination up and running, you're going to see, again, a small but well-rendered map. None of the various information icons here are coarse or grainy. Good work on a small piece of real estate. Now, as part of that navigation unit, you also get audio file sound, which gives you more speakers, an eight-inch sub, 300 plus watts of power. And I've got to say, it does a pretty darn good job with compressed digital sources like satellite radio or MP3s, which can shred really easily. I must say their DSP settings, especially the one for driver, is very good. It does a great job of arraying the soundstage in a very natural, but pleasing, way. If you don't pop for the good head unit, you get stuck with an AM/FM six CD in-dash, four speaker sound system, great for tin ears, not much else. But because Sync is standard, you still have the aux, the USB, the great voice recognition, and the Bluetooth streaming for playing stereo tunes off of your Bluetooth streaming phone. ^M00:01:47 [ Music ] ^M00:01:50 By the way, the seats are covered in cloth made from post-industrial waste that was heading for a landfill, and the cushion underneath that is made from soybeans and the like. The electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission isn't as hopelessly spooly as some, and the hybrid powertrain generally has good response. It doesn't feel powerful per say, but it doesn't feel wimpy, either. MPG is a tidy 34 city, 31 highway. Nice numbers. On a scale of ten, it scores nine point five and eight point oh on nitrous oxide and CO2 respectively, and an Escape hybrid should qualify for a $1,500.00 federal tax credit when you buy a new one. I must say, I was annoyed by the ride, which felt a little too connected to the road. Every little imperfection seems to be telegraphed up through the vehicle and into my seat bottom. Now, up here in the engine room, we've got a 2.5-liter inline four, 150-some odd horsepower, 136 foot-pounds of torque. But you've got to add 94 horsepower from the electric motor on top of that. Also, that engine's what you call an "Atkinson cycle," which means the power stroke is longer than the intake stroke. Parked this thing last night, and I went to go ditch my laptop bag in the smuggler's box you normally find on these crossovers, but not in this case. I forgot, there's a battery back here, a great big thing, nickel-metal hydride, 330 volts. And of course, it seems to add quite a bit of weight, because the ride on this car feels, perhaps, excessively planted. ^M00:03:19 [ Music ] ^M00:03:20 Okay, let's price our Escape Limited Hybrid, about $32,700.00 base for this guy, nicely appointed, including Sync. But you got to add $2,400.00 for that nav system with the audio file sound package. I would do it, for sure. Another $1,750.00 will get you all-wheel drive, but as I mentioned, you're gonna shave quite a bit off the MPG. ^M00:03:39 [ Music ]