in 2012 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $18,993 - $22,295
Original MSRP: $30,570 - $34,830
MPG: 34 City / 31 Hwy
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2012 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 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid is a smooth-riding SUV, but it isn’t as powerful as gasoline-only SUVs. It does, however, have the highest fuel economy ratings in the class.

  • "Four-cylinder Escape models have better than expected acceleration, even with AWD. ... The transmission is the highlight of this powertrain, providing smooth upshifts and snappy downshifts when needed, regardless of which engine you choose." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While pleasant to drive, the 2012 Ford Escape lacks the mechanical polish and sophistication of newer models from Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Subaru and Toyota." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

With a 155-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine and 94-horsepower electric motor, reviewers say the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid has good acceleration, but is unrefined because of the loud noises it makes. This powertrain is only available with an electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Most shoppers interested in the Escape Hybrid probably won’t mind that it is underpowered compared with gas-only alternatives because it has good fuel economy ratings. According to the EPA, all-wheel drive models achieve 30/27 mpg city/highway, while front-wheel drive models achieve 34/31 mpg. These are some of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class.

If you need to save money, however, consider the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It’s significantly less expensive than the Escape Hybrid, and has excellent fuel economy ratings.

  • "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
  • "The V6 engine is smoother and quieter than the conventional or hybrid 4-cylinder. The 4-cylinder is especially loud and crude sounding. All Escape engines trail rival 4- and 6-cylinder engines for overall refinement. Wind and road noise are present but are not in significant quantity to be overly bothersome." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the Ford Escape Hybrid handles pleasantly. However, the Escape Hybrid does weigh more than the gas-only model, which some reviewers say negatively impacts handling and braking distances. The Escape Hybrid’s brakes are its worst feature because the mechanics are outdated. The Escape Hybrid has drum brakes, while competitors have four-wheel disc brakes.

  • "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
  • "Pleasant, given the age of Escape's basic design. Bumps are heard more than they're felt. Some float is noticeable at highway speeds, but it's not bothersome. There's little difference in comfort among the various models." -- Consumer Guide
  • "But it's the Escape's brakes that have it trailing the competition. Where most of them have four-wheel disc brakes, the Escape uses drum brakes in the rear that simply don't have the power or resistance to fade." -- Edmunds

Next Steps: 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid

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