2005 Ford Escape Hybrid AWD 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I desperately needed a new car last year. I'm fortunate in that I can afford anything non "exotic." NOTHING on the market appealed to me visually. When I heard that Ford and Lexus were making hybrid SUVs I was interested. Last summer, I first test drove a Lexus 330 as it was the most similar thing they had to the delayed 400H -- lovely to look at but ergonomically it was VERY uncomfortable. The Escape is much more functional, and WAAAAY too basic on the interior, but was more comfortable, so I bought it. The CVT is fun; sort of a crossbreed. The brakes were hard to get used to; the stopping distance is further. The interior is CHEAP! Not even clothing hooks for dry-cleaning pick-ups.
The novelty of having a "first in breed." WONDERFUL acceleration. The silence of the electric engine when in slow traffic. GPS navigation; would have preferred a more sophisticated system though. The other monitors: fuel economy, power source. Could use an outside thermometer.
I think Ford would have realized that anyone willing to shell out an extra 3K would be willing to spend more for better quality interiors. The center console needs to be extended -- VERY uncomfortable. Rear head-rests BLOCK visibility dangerously. Seat warmers. Improve A/C!