Escape Affords a Great Driving Opportunity

Escape. This Ford’s name says its all.

When this seemingly-fuel-stingy SUV was delivered recently, we could not wait to test it.

After all, it does have 4WD & might be a great vehicle to explore the mountains.

Escape; get it?

Upon its arrival, we were immediately impressed with its 2-tone color, green & silver paint scheme. When we went around to the driver’s side there was an even more impressive signature planted on the door: Hybrid.

This mid-size Ford SUV (whose sister is a Mazda Tribute) is a pure pleasure to drive. On one of our outings, we discovered that we could run solely on battery power if we switched off the air conditioner. That was not normally to be the case since the Escape arrived in early summer. But it was quite interesting, eerie in fact, since there is no gas engine noise when the vehicle is running off electricity. It kind of reminds of driving a golf cart, except this ride has much more get-up-and go.

DETAILS: The MSRP on this fun Ford was $31,000 and change.

Much smaller than its SUV siblings, the Explorer and Expedition, the Escape does not shortchange its owner in comfort or cargo space because of it size. Ford became the

first U.S. manufacturer to offer a hybrid when it rolled out the Escape SUV in August 2004. The front-wheel drive version is rated 36 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.

SOME OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: The Escape is a great commuter vehicle since it can sit in traffic and not consume much fuel in its battery mode. And it’s also a great get-away vehicle for family outings, since it can seat a small family and cargo comfortably.

DRIVEABILITY: There was no problem seeing what was in the rear-view mirror since this SUV allows the driver a clear view of the road ahead and behind. Seats were

comfortable and easily adjustable – – two key elements when taking a road trip.

CARGO SPACE: Ample, but pack tightly so you can dig everything out easily when you reach your destination.

ENTERTAINMENT: Nice-sounding stereo system that wasn’t a major distraction when driving.

MPG: This is where the Escape falls a bit short. We were expecting better gas mileage from a Hybrid, but alas, this new “green” machine is still being developed, so we can’t fault Ford for this shortcoming yet. Once they get the new technology ingrained in the mindset of Detroit automakers, this should improve.

BOTTOM LINE: Excellent SUV for the money and a great ride for a growing family.

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