2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD Review

Expert Reviews Ford hybrid


Having owned multiple sporty compact cars, I was quite apprehensive about the Escape’s handling performance. Here I was once again pleasantly surprised. The suspension is nice and firm and doesn’t wallow in the turns, and the large tires have decent levels of grip before announcing that you’ve approached the limits of traction. The steering is light and accurate, but the high level of power assist does create a somewhat vague, disconnected feeling, especially when just cruising on the highway.

Given that the Escape Hybrid is so fuel-efficient and uses such a fancy, computer controlled drivetrain, some might wonder if it’s still off-road worthy. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to test this and probably won’t, especially since I opted for the 2WD model to gain a few extra MPG. 95% of Escape Hybrid owners will likely also never leave the asphalt jungle, so this is probably not a major consideration for most potential buyers. However, based on a few brief excursions on some local fire roads, the big tires and firm suspension inspire a decent level of confidence, and the availability of 4WD is an additional plus for those living in the snow belt.

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the say, and being the owner of a car makes you a bit more biased than normal. But even before I bought it I thought the Escape was a nice looking compact SUV. More rugged than some of the mini-utes (Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4), but not so rugged that it seems out of place just cruising around the suburbs (Jeep Wrangler). I also like the two-tone body style, with bright, white paint for the top two-thirds of the car, and dark, rugged plastic for the lower body panels and bumpers.

For 2008, all Escapes have redesigned exteriors and interiors, although I’m honestly still conflicted on whether I like the new design. The new exterior is more rugged, with a bold chrome front grill and more chiseled, muscular-looking body panels. This makes for a more striking visual impact at first, but for me the cleaner, smoother lines of the 2006 model is more pleasing to the eye.


Like many of the other hybrids on the market, the Escape Hybrid still comes at a cost premium. The basic hybrid model, which is the version I bought and doesn’t come with fancy leather seats or other expensive options, still comes in at around $26,000 MSRP. Add in tax, destination charge, DMV fees, and you’re looking at over $30,000. For a compact SUV, that’s a lot of dough. You could easily get a regular version of the Escape with a V6 engine and similar options for several thousand less. Although there is still currently a tax rebate for hybrid cars, it is set to expire soon.

Which leaves the fuel costs. Will the increased fuel efficiency pay for the price difference? Assuming you drive 15,000 miles a year for 10 years, a regular Escape (V6, 2WD, 22 MPG) will cost you $20,500 in gas, assuming gas prices average $3.00 a gallon for the next 10 years. For the same amount of miles, the 32 miles per gallon Escape Hybrid will cost you only $14,100, over $6000 less. The MSRP difference between the two cars is approx. $3000, depending on options. So, over time the hybrid will make-up for the initial price difference and if gas prices climb even more the savings only increase.


With all the hype surrounding hybrid cars, the Ford Escape Hybrid might seem ordinary at first glance. It looks and drives like a regular Escape, and unless someone notices the hybrid badges on the side and back of the car, no one will know that you’re behind the wheel of a sophisticated piece of technology that improves gas mileage by 50%. Yet, when you’re cruising around town, start to brake for a traffic light, and notice that the motor effortlessly shuts itself off, I guarantee that you’ll have a grin on your face.

Who Should Buy It

The Escape Hybrid is for anyone who needs the space and flexibility of a small SUV, yet doesn’t want to pay for the extra gas costs over a compact car. Ford has been actively marketing the Escape to outdoor enthusiasts and others with an active lifestyle, and the hybrid model should appeal to the segment of the market that is more environmentally minded.














3 .5


Ford Escape Hybrid Photo Gallery

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Review

Ford Motor Co.Official website for Ford cars, hybrids, trucks, and SUVs – www.ford.com

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