2008 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV

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Ford Escape Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power Info is not yet available.
  • Fuel Economy 29/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid

  • Although it's not without its compromises, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid is worth a look if you want to do right by the planet but don't want to give up the day-to-day convenience of owning an SUV.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Surprisingly powerful hybrid drivetrain, gets 30 mpg in the real world, comfortable interior with roomy backseat.

  • Cons

    Noisy four-cylinder engine, mediocre handling for a small SUV, stiff brake pedal, no stability control.

  • What's New for 2008

    As with the regular gasoline version, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid gets an exterior makeover. Inside, the cabin has been updated to improve its appearance and functionality, and there's extra insulation to quiet the highway ride. Side and head curtain airbags are now standard, as are automatic climate control and an MP3 player input jack. The optional navigation system runs off a DVD instead of CDs this year and has a larger display with a touchscreen interface.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (41 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Not great in a cold

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Bought my used 08 FEH awd for my move back to Alaska. Very disappointed with the mileage I'm getting in a colder climate-averaging 21mpg all- around. Granted, that's ok for an SUV, but certainly doesn't live up to its billing. It very rarely goes into EV mode, and even when it does, the engine won't stay off sitting at a stoplight. This is in temperatures anytime below 20 F. Below 0 F, mpg drops into the mid teens and it sounds like a coffee grinder on steroids until it finally warms up. Almost a must to keep it in a heated garage. You have to be incredibly careful with the gas pedal to not kick it out of EV mode leaving a stoplight.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Bulletproof after 65,000

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Comfortable and quiet, except for the buzzy engine when you accelerate hard. 2 1/2 years old now and flawless. Averaging about 28 overall, about 26 highway and 32 around town. If you're coming from a high-powered vehicle, you may not be happy with the slight lag in acceleration when you need to accelerate hard, but that's the only flaw with the system. I have a light foot; it's supposed to learn how you drive, so maybe those with a heavy foot won't have a lag. 100% trouble free, normal maintenance only, which is not expensive. Rides much better with the Goodyear SR-A tires I put on. OE Continentals were hard as a rock. Great snow car. A very satisfied owner. Thanks Ford.




First hybrid owner

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

It was the price that got us in the door. Then it was the vehicle, and good salesmanship that kept us there. We drove our Escape Hybrid from Spearfish to Rapid City, and we knew that we had made the right decision. My wife says "It is quiet & relaxing like Grandmom's Studebaker".




First new car, and happy

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I purchased my Escape after having to finally get rid of an 11-year-old Crown Vic. I wanted something that we could take camping and that would be safe/comfortable to travel in but that would get good fuel economy in the city. I have not been disappointed with my choice! The car is easy to drive. Since it is a hybrid that depends on braking to recharge the battery, it tends to get better gas mileage with long, slow stops (at least that's what I've noticed). I thought that going from a V8 to the hybrid would be a shock, but this vehicle really has some get-up-n- go. The seats are easy to move and clean, and I've never had any engine trouble.




An suv that i am

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Took delivery of FEH in 6/24/08. The moment I drove it home I knew this was a keeper. It has plenty of power and yet it gets good mileage. I get about 6.7 lt/100 KM in a small town and 7.1 on the highway. It is quiet in electric drive (stealth mode). We bought an upscale model with most of the toys including the AWD. The ease of getting in/out is also a plus. The front leather seats are very comfortable. Interior lighting gives it a classy look at night. The ownership, to date, has been a pleasure. It is a bit disconcerting at first when the engine shuts down in traffic. I don't mind when the ECON switch (on) shuts down the AC in traffic (I can take a litle heat) I just thnk about the gas.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Traded my x5 - never

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I drove a BMW X5 4.4 for five years prior to trading for the Escape Hybrid. Gas prices were part of my decision, and I honestly wanted to be one of the voices clamoring for Detroit to get with the program and invest in alternative powertrains. I loved the build quality and engineering excellence of the BMW. I expected that switching to a more pedestrian Ford was going to be full of compromise. Certainly, the finishes are less luxurious (recycled plastic instead of leather dash, fewer adjustments in the seating, etc), but overall, I have been quite satisfied. If I had it to do all over again, I would do it all over again.



Full 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Review

What's New for 2008

As with the regular gasoline version, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid gets an exterior makeover. Inside, the cabin has been updated to improve its appearance and functionality, and there's extra insulation to quiet the highway ride. Side and head curtain airbags are now standard, as are automatic climate control and an MP3 player input jack. The optional navigation system runs off a DVD instead of CDs this year and has a larger display with a touchscreen interface.

Introduction

The Ford Escape Hybrid was the first hybrid SUV to enter the market, and for 2008, it's still the most fuel-efficient. New EPA testing procedures have lowered its mileage ratings this year, but the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid remains one of the few sport-utilities capable of returning 30 mpg in real-world driving. At the same time, it offers ample room and comfort for a family of four and a golden retriever. Bottom line, you don't give up much in the way of practicality when you choose to wear the "Hybrid" badge.

Like the regular Ford Escape, the Escape Hybrid gets a fresh look for 2008. New, square-jawed bodywork gives Ford's hybrid SUV a tougher appearance. Inside, Ford designers have made some important upgrades. The climate and stereo controls have a tidier layout this year, and the instrumentation has a more upscale and modern appearance -- replete with ice-blue lighting at night. In addition, there's now justification for spending extra to get the navigation system, as it runs off DVDs this year and has a larger touchscreen display. Ford also took measures to address its small SUV's noisy highway ride, redesigning the roof panel and fitting a laminated windshield, acoustic headliner and thicker carpeting.

Aside from its more serene cabin, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid offers an identical driving experience to last year's model. Its powertrain still consists of a 2.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, a pair of electric motors and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) that basically works like a regular automatic transmission. Although the cumulative horsepower rating of 155 doesn't sound very impressive, the Escape Hybrid is quicker than the regular four-cylinder Escape and feels almost as fast as the V6 model. The main difference between driving an Escape Hybrid and driving a regular Escape comes down to handling: The Hybrid feels top-heavy around turns due to its extra 300 pounds of curb weight.

Buyers who drive the Ford Escape Hybrid back to back with newer small SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 will likely be disappointed by the Ford's comparatively noisy power delivery and sluggish dynamics. And given that both of these competitors are capable of returning mileage in the high 20s, there's a good case to be made for buying a traditional gasoline-powered small SUV instead of a hybrid. However, if you compare the Escape Hybrid to the less refined Saturn Vue Green Line and the more expensive Toyota Highlander Hybrid, it becomes a much more attractive candidate. Add in the fact that buying a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid will still net you a nice tax credit, and it's certainly worth considering if you'd like to do something nice for the planet and save a little money on gas without giving up the SUV lifestyle.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A compact SUV, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid is available in one four-door body style with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a four-speaker CD stereo with an MP3 player input jack, cruise control and full power accessories.

On the options list for the Escape Hybrid you'll find a DVD-based navigation system (with a hybrid energy flow/fuel-consumption display) bundled with an upgraded seven-speaker audio system with an in-dash CD changer. Another popular add-on is the Premium Package, which offers leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 110-volt AC outlet, a cargo cover, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated outside mirrors, a roof rack and rear parking sensors. Several of these items can also be purchased la carte. Other options include a moonroof and running boards.

Powertrains and Performance

The Escape Hybrid power plant consists of a 2.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motor/generators. Net output is 155 hp. Ford calls the transmission a CVT, but there's no rotating belt as in a conventional CVT. Instead, the motors work in concert with the gas engine through a planetary gearset 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. On AWD Escape Hybrid models, a third electric motor steps in to drive the rear wheels when extra acceleration or traction is needed. It's not a true all-wheel-drive system, though, and buyers needing a serious snow vehicle will be better served by the regular gasoline-powered Escape. With the EPA's adjusted fuel economy ratings for 2008, the front-drive Escape Hybrid comes in at 34 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, while the AWD version is listed at 29/27.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are standard. Stability control is not available. Crash tests of the '08 model have not yet been performed as of this writing but we expect it to earn scores similar to the 2007 model. In NHTSA frontal-impact tests, the '07 Escape Hybrid earned four out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection. In side-impact crash tests, it received five stars for both front- and rear-seat occupants. In frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the '07 Escape received an "Acceptable" rating (the second-highest on a scale of four). In side-impact testing, it received a "Good" rating (the highest).

Interior Design and Special Features

The Escape has never been known for its exciting interior, but most buyers will find the 2008 model's cabin layout functional and user-friendly. The front seats can accommodate adults of all sizes, while the backseat is roomy enough for adults and children, even if its cushions are a bit flat. Note that the standard cloth upholstery is made out of 100-percent recyclable material for '08. There are 28 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 60/40-split rear seats, and you can fold them down to open up 65 cubic feet of capacity, a decent figure for this class. One annoyance particular to the Escape Hybrid is the fact that the air-conditioner only cools the cabin when the gasoline engine is running. Using the "max A/C" setting keeps the engine from shutting off in stop-and-go traffic, but prevents you from reaping the fuel savings of electric-only propulsion in these situations. (Other hybrids get around this problem by using an electric A/C compressor.)

Driving Impressions

Although the gasoline engine makes too much racket during hard acceleration, the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid feels nearly as quick as the V6 Escape, while returning outstanding fuel mileage. Ride quality is acceptable for this class, but handling is a bit of a letdown. With an extra 300 pounds of curb weight compared to a regular Escape, the Hybrid model exhibits considerable body roll around turns and generally feels less agile than most small SUVs. The Escape Hybrid's regenerative brakes provide solid stopping ability, but can be difficult to modulate due to the brake pedal's excessive stiffness at the top of its travel.

Talk About The 2008 Escape Hybrid

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 29
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs