2006 Ford Escape Hybrid

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape is America’s best-selling compact sport-utility. And it’s a good choice. The Escape offers comfortable seating for four and plenty of space for stuff. Folding down the rear seats reveals a moderately sized cargo area with a flat floor. Its smooth ride and agile handling make for enjoyable driving, and its compact dimensions make it easy to maneuver and park when you get there.

Propulsion comes in several forms including a 200-horsepower V6. It’s quick and enjoyable and communicates very well with the automatic. The Escape is also available with a gas/electric hybrid system. The Escape Hybrid is one of the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class (see separate review) and driving one is easy and enjoyable, very little different from a regular Escape.

But the standard four-cylinder engine may be all you need. It was updated, beginning with 2005 models, and it offers decent power and works well with the automatic.

Four-wheel drive is also available, offering good wintry weather capability.

The Escape lineup has been broadened for 2006, but is otherwise unchanged. It was significantly revised for 2005, which brought a new face, a brightened interior, a new 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a revised suspension. The Ford Escape became even more popular last year with a hybrid version that won the 2005 North American Truck of the Year award.

The first thing you should know about the Escape Hybrid is that, for the most part, it drives just like a regular Escape. It demands little, if any, additional effort or knowledge from the driver. That’s impressive, considering its complexity. In short, the Ford Escape Hybrid is a superb vehicle, smooth, responsive, comfortable and convenient.

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Hybrid vehicles are powered by the combination of a gasoline engine with an electric motor. By combining a four-cylinder gasoline engine with the boost from the electric power pack, the Ford Escape Hybrid provides acceleration much like a V6-powered Escape, but the Hybrid is estimated by the EPA to deliver twice the fuel economy in city driving and nearly double on the highway. Plus, its emissions are much lower.

Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that hybrid vehicles such as the Escape never have to be plugged into any sort of electrical outlet. The vehicle’s specially designed battery pack is automatically recharged by the gasoline engine and by regenerative braking, technology that takes the otherwise wasted energy generated by braking and sends it to the battery pack.

There is a price premium that must be paid for equipping a car with hybrid technology, but there also are federal tax benefits, and sometimes state and local tax benefits, available to help offset that price. This is in addition to the fuel savings. In reality, it takes awhile to recoup the price difference, about $3,500 more than the retail price of an Escape XLT with the V6 engine. During that time owners can be comforted in knowing they’re doing more than their part to reduce air pollution and consumption of fossil fuels. … Hide Full Review

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