2005 Ford Escape Hybrid AWD 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I also have a V6 AWD Escape ('03) so I obviously like the general design, and I'm in a good position to compare the two models, as their only differences are the hybid propulsion & CVT trans. Touted as "no compromises, V6-like performance," it's true! The hybrid handles smoothly and is relaxing to drive in both city and freeway. It has as much or more power than my V6. Got 30 mpg average on a 600 mile road trip from Seattle to Sisters, Oregon, via the Santiam Pass (V6 would get 23mpg). Get 29 mpg in mixed driving near Seattle, and we live 800 feet up in a hilly area. MPG is reduced with driving in hills and with night driving (during the latter, gas engine is on more due to headlights draw.
(1) Change the combo floor heat/widnshield defrost setting to not use the A/C (gas engine never shuts off when this setting is selected). User could always turn on "full windshield defrost", with A/C, if the first setting wasn't adequate. (2) add back 4x4 lock setting, though new ('05) electric AWD is great.