2008 Ford Escape Hybrid

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2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid was new.

The Escape Hybrid is an environmentally conscious car with a comfortable interior and tough exterior, but it can't match the driving dynamics or overall quality of top-class SUVs. It ranks in the middle of its class, a few spots behind the gasoline-powered Escape.

7.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.1
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.2
Safety: 8.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Less cabin noise than previous models
  • Reviewers appreciate the more "muscular" exterior
  • Comfortable seating
  • Best-in-class fuel economy
  • No roll stability control available
  • Mediocre interior quality
  • Air conditioning stops when the gas engine stops and switches to electric power
  • Added weight of hybrid powertrain impairs handling

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Overview

Like the Escape gas model, the hybrid version earns praise for providing a more comfortable ride and mature appearance with its redesign. The Detroit News notes that the redesign was bold and a good move for Ford. "This makeover makes sense," its reviewer states. "Still a top-selling compact SUV in a crowded market, the Escape may now be more appealing to people downsizing their vehicles but not their expectations." Although many reviewers aren't overly impressed with the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid's driving dynamics, many write that the Hybrid's salvation is its environmentally conscious nature. Escape Hybrid buyers can get a maximum $3,000 federal tax credit.

With gas prices reaching record highs in 2008, that best-in-class fuel economy is making Escape Hybrids fly off of dealer lots.  As of mid-2008, the Escape Hybrid was the best-selling SUV in America. Still, it gets just a middle-of-the-pack ranking when compared to other Hybrid SUVs.

The Escape Hybrid comes in one trim with either front- or four-wheel drive. A gasoline-powered version is reviewed separately.

  • "If you feel strongly about driving 'green,' want to thumb your nose at the oil companies and are willing to sacrifice a little in handling and ride, an Escape hybrid is worth a look." -- Newsday
  • "Plucky, over-achieving if underfunded, better than it ought to be but not quite as good as it might have been, the Escape Hybrid runs on gas, electricity and no small amount of charisma." -- Los Angeles Times
  • The Escape Hybrid gets some notable functional tweaks this year, and the tweaks make its gas-electric drivetrain run more efficiently." -- The Car Connection
  • "When Ford introduced the 2005 Escape Hybrid it broke new ground. Unfortunately, the automaker didn't continue that tradition with the 2008 update, which comes across not as hot stuff, but as barely warmed-up leftovers. Still, there's no denying that for a small S.U.V. the fuel economy is great, which is actually the point." -- New York Times
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