2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I took another look at the Escape Hybrid because it is supposed to be improved in many ways, ride/handling in particular. Those factors, and the relatively cheap feel of the interior for the price, is why I didn't get one before. My impressions after a couple of weeks with my new 2008 are positive. It's much quieter. The handling, while still somewhat truck-like, is better sorted than the prior model. It's reasonably roomy and practical and gets great mileage. I was skeptical at first, but it really is a Have Your Cake and Eat It Too sort of vehicle.
Size is just right, IMO. Audiophile sound is good, seats good, ride/handling improved, and they kept the weight down. Definitely has SUV feel, if that's what you want. Hybrid drivetrain is well done and makes more sense than V-6 & high price of Highlander. Near carbon neutral & made in Kansas City!
Need better folding rear seat to be competitive. Where's the steering-wheel audio/climate control? A capable roof rack is important to many of us; this one is weak. Numerous touch items (door handles, glovebox etc) are too cheap-o. Quality is improved but still too cheap vs competitors.