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#18

in 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $18,750 - $20,716
Original MSRP: $32,320 - $34,830
MPG: 30 City / 27 Hwy
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2011 Ford Escape Hybrid Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid is a smooth-riding, powerful SUV that test drivers say doesn't even feel like a hybrid. Plus, with more than 30 mpg combined fuel economy, it’s the best in its class.

  • "While some hybrid models have developed a reputation for sluggish performance, the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid actually doesn't feel that different from its V6-powered cousins. The only tip-off that there isn't a six-cylinder engine under the hood is the labored sounds you hear during hard acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "Capable of seating five adults comfortably, the formerly herky-jerky motion of these SUV hybrids has been handled by a new electronically controlled continuously variable transmission which -- in addition to doing its job -- strives to give the car an artificial feel of driving a normal vehicle in order to alleviate consumer complaints." -- Automobile.com

Acceleration and Power

With a 153-horsepower gasoline engine and 94-horsepower electric motor, the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid pumps out more-than-adequate acceleration. Its 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine transitions smoothly between electric and gasoline power -- a big plus for a hybrid vehicle. A few reviewers say that the engine sounds a little course at high speeds.

According to the EPA, all-wheel drive models achieve 30/27 mpg city/highway, while front-wheel drive models achieve 34/31 mpg city/highway -- the best combined fuel economy of any SUV on the market. Note that the more affordable GMC Terrain and its Chevrolet Equinox platform-mate actually beat the Escape Hybrid's rating in highway driving with their 32 mpg ratings. Plus, they’ll save you about $5,000 and $7,000, respectively, as compared to the Escape’s starting price. However, their 22 mpg city ratings don’t even come close to the Escape Hybrid's.

Another fuel-efficient option that will save you even more money is the Hyundai Tucson. With a 23/31 mpg city/highway rating, it matches the Escape Hybrid on the highway but still can’t touch it in the city. However, that may not matter to you because the Tucson starts at a whopping $11,000 less than the Escape Hybrid.

  • "The Hybrid provides decent go, but it's not what you would call quick. The CVT does its best to keep the engine in the strongest part of its power band. Passing response is not strong, especially above 60 mph." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Capable of seating five adults comfortably, the formerly herky-jerky motion of these SUV hybrids has been handled by a new electronically controlled continuously variable transmission which -- in addition to doing its job -- strives to give the car an artificial feel of driving a normal vehicle in order to alleviate consumer complaints." -- Automobile.com
  • "Total system horsepower is 177, but in an impromptu drag race between a Hybrid and a V-6 Escape, the Hybrid took the V-6 off the line - and held a slight lead until about 40 mph. Since hybrids make the most sense in low-speed city traffic, that's the speed range that really matters." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the Ford Escape Hybrid handles pleasantly. However, the Escape Hybrid does weigh about 300 pounds more than the gas-only model, which some reviewers say negatively impacts handling and braking distances.

  • "The suspension produces a decent ride quality, but the extra 300 pounds of hybrid hardware makes the vehicle less nimble than the regular Escape. That extra weight also contributes to long stopping distances, though the brake pedal does have a solid feel to it. Some drivers may also find the brakes a bit touchy until they get used to them."--Edmunds
  • "Body lean in turns is well controlled. The steering feels overboosted and numb, especially at low speeds. A tidy turning radius helps in low-speed maneuvering. The Hybrid's braking is intermittently touchy at low speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A new electric power steering system requires less effort from the driver to keep the vehicle headed straight on slanted roads or in steady side winds." -- Kelley Blue Book

Next Steps: 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid

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