Despite positive reviews of its fuel-efficient powertrain, the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid lands no better than midpack in terms of its Total Car Score among Compact SUVs and Crossovers.
Critics dislike the Escape's boxy, old-school SUV styling, sloppy ride and handling, high price of entry, and unrefined character, but they give it credit for offering useful interior space and available high-tech features, in addition to earning the best fuel economy in the class.
Crash-test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are less than impressive, though the Ford does better in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing.
The Escape Hybrid is nearing the end of its product cycle. After a short model run next year a redesigned Escape will debut with more advanced structural and suspension technology.
The 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid is offered in base and Limited trim levels, and each is available with front- or all-wheel drive.
Standard equipment on the base model includes dual-zone climate control, Ford's Sync audio technology and cruise control. The Limited trim includes a sunroof, rear parking assist, a rearview camera, leather upholstery and heated seats. The Limited can be equipped with Ford's automatic parallel-parking system as an option.
The powertrain for both versions consists of a 153-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine aided by a 95-horsepower electric motor. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic.
EPA fuel economy ratings are 34 mpg city/31 highway with FWD and 30/27 with AWD.
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