2006 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Escape Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 155 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 30/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid

  • One of our favorites in the category, the Escape Hybrid is a very capable small SUV thanks to its powerful hybrid-electric drivetrain, spacious cabin and carlike handling.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful and efficient hybrid powertrain, large cargo capacity, comfortable interior, carlike handling, optional side curtain airbags.

  • Cons

    Four-cylinder engine feels unrefined at high rpm, so-so interior materials quality.

  • What's New for 2006

    Ford's first ever hybrid SUV continues into 2006 with package revisions and a newly available power moonroof.

Full 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid Review

What's New for 2006

Ford's first ever hybrid SUV continues into 2006 with package revisions and a newly available power moonroof.


Ford introduced the Escape in 2001 to capture buyers in the rapidly growing small SUV segment. It quickly became a best-seller thanks to a desirable combination of size, power and ruggedly handsome styling. First-year Escapes suffered numerous recalls, but recent models seem to have the bugs worked out. Mazda also sells a version of this vehicle. Called the Tribute, it shares the Escape's basic structure, platform and powertrains. A more luxurious version is also available from Mercury, dubbed the Mariner.

Appealing to a wide range of buyers, the Escape (and Tribute/Mariner) is intended for those who want the styling and all-wheel-drive capability of a traditional SUV combined with the size, price, practicality and driving characteristics of a midsize car. The Escape is more suited to on-road driving than off-roading, due to its light-duty AWD system and unibody construction, and isn't as rugged as some other compact SUVs like the Nissan Xterra and Jeep Liberty. Its main competitors include vehicles like the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Saturn Vue and Toyota RAV4.

Ford took a bold step for 2005 with the introduction of the very first hybrid-electric SUV. The hybrid drivetrain uses a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine in conjunction with electric motors to provide power while keeping emissions and fuel usage to a minimum. Under full acceleration, both power sources work together to provide maximum oomph, but under lighter load conditions, such as stop-and-go traffic, the Escape Hybrid alternates between the two, oftentimes running purely on battery power alone. A regenerative braking system converts energy normally lost as heat into electricity to recharge the car's batteries. Available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the Escape Hybrid boasts V6-like acceleration and gets up to 36 mpg. If you like the idea of driving a hybrid that doesn't force you to give up an ounce of day-to-day practicality, you would be wise to test-drive Ford's Escape Hybrid.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Escape Hybrid is available in one four-door body style with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Standard amenities include air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, cruise control and an in-dash CD changer. The new premium package includes monochromatic exterior paint, heated leather seats, reverse-sensing system, an 110V A/C outlet and a navigation system. A moonroof is also optional.

Powertrains and Performance

The Escape Hybrid power plant consists of a 2.3-liter gasoline engine and two electric motor/generators. Ford calls the transmission a CVT, but there's no rotating belt as is in a conventional CVT. Instead, the motors work in concert with the gas engine through a planetary gear set to provide seamless power and maximum efficiency. If you're the driver of an Escape Hybrid, all you have to do is move the shift lever to "D" and press the gas pedal. Fuel mileage is rated at 36 city and 31 highway on the 2WD model and 33/29 on the 4WD, making the Escape Hybrid the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard. The optional Safety Package includes front side-impact airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor. The Escape has done well in government crash testing, earning a perfect five stars for the driver in frontal impacts and four stars for the front passenger. In side-impact crash tests, it received five stars for both front- and rear-seat occupants. Less impressive is the Escape's "Acceptable" rating (the second-highest) in the frontal offset crash test conducted by the IIHS. When equipped with side airbags, the Escape merits a "Good" rating (the highest) from the IIHS for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Escape has never been known for its exciting interior, but most buyers will find the layout functional and user-friendly. The front seats can accommodate adults of all sizes, while the backseat is comfortable for kids and passable for adults. There is 28 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and you can fold them down to open up 65 cubic feet of capacity, a good figure for this class.

Driving Impressions

Fun to drive, the Ford Escape Hybrid offers impressive road manners for a compact SUV. It drives much like a tautly suspended sedan, with little body roll and responsive steering. The swift hybrid powertrain is nearly as quick as the V6 Escape and returns outstanding fuel mileage.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Real owner comments

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Bought this feh from auction. Mine has 180k Miles on it now, and I've seen some on auction with 220k miles. These auction are government Auctions where they drive highway miles and do the regular maintenance. I would say the vehicle is well designed. Though this vehicle has been quite reliable, I would recommend to buy a non hybrid Vehicle. If there is a need for a major repair, expect to pay more if you need to bring it to the Dealer.

Ford nailed it

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I love this Ford. I think it has the right size motor and electric combination unlike some hybrids. I get at least 33 mpg. The computer must take some many factors into account so the car knows when to go electric and when gas. Brilliant. I love when I'm coasting or driving along on battery or when the motor shuts off in traffic or at a light. All cars should be hybrid. It just makes sense to get the most out of a gallon. Regenerative braking also just a common sense solution to wasted heat energy in normal brakes.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Good ride. great value

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I bought my 06 all wheel drive escape in 2007, had 16K miles on it at the time of purchase. I have not been kind to this car as I drive it for business and am on the go all the time. I have kept service up to date. The car now has 101K miles on it. The ride is good, acceleration peppy for a hybrid. Only unexpected problem I have had, is to replace a power steering module which cost $824. The leather on the drivers seat has worn through in the arm which indicates the leather in the car is fairly cheap No other complaints.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Nice little suv hybrid

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Bought this from a used car dealer who had lowered the price to 2500 below kbb. I think he was having trouble selling this because people fear battery failure even though the battery is supposed to last for the driveable life of the vehicle. We started out having trouble getting more than about 24 mpg, but a lighter foot better use of the regenerative breaking (shifting to L when stopping and long light taps on the brake rather than quick short stops) have brought our mileage up to 29 which is about what the new EPA estimates say we should get. This will probably hold its value given rising gas prices. Good job Ford for making a superior vehicle.

4 of 12 people found this review helpful

If a do-over, would not

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

My 2006 Ford Hybrid with only 30,543 miles needs major repairs. First it was new tires, replacing those the car came with. So, at 30,000 miles I got 4 new tires. The car now has a bad rear end differential which can not be repaired but must be replaced to the tune of at least $2k, maybe more they say. No warranty, very low miles but 5 years old. I was told by the dealership that Ford and the dealership don't have the same level of customer service/loyalty because of the economy! We have probably purchased our last Fords. I may trade in but definitely not for another Ford!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Fantastic hybrid suv

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

The Ford Escape Hybrid SUV is an excellent alternative to the large, offensive SUV's driven by urban soccer moms. The gas mileage is terrific and extends time between fill ups on the highway. The vehicle is extremely dependable and very low maintenance compared to any other SUV on the road. The 4 wheel drive is competent and provides excellent winter traction and stability. The CVT transmission is similar to a golf cart on steroids and provides a seamless, smooth acceleration and "shifting". The cabin and ride are comfortable for long trips and space is plentiful for luggage and accessories. The best vehicle we have ever purchased.

Talk About The 2006 Escape Hybrid

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid Discussions See all Started By

When I bought a 2007 FEH in July 2006, the dealer told me that Ford provided a 3yr/36k mile Manufacturers Warranty & convinced me to buy an ESP for an extra $1948 to extend coverage to 60 mos / 6?...

TSB 08-24-5 states that some 2005-2008 Escape Hybrid and 2006-2008 Mariner Hybrid vehicles may exhibit a red triangle light and codes indicating a transaxle overtemp. This condition may result in redu...

2006 escape hybrid maintenance tips:...

Gas Mileage


  • 30
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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