There is no telltale vehicle performance sage to indicate the Escape Hybrid is a hybrid. That’s because the world’s first hybrid SUV doesn’t act differently, no acceleration lags or vehicle lurches when the SUV is using the electric motor. The driver can confirm electric motor usage via a gauge that shows when the vehicle is operating in its most economical mode. The engine also shuts off at stop and idle. Escape Hybrid automatically switches between electric power, gasoline engine power, or a combination of the two. The 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine can get added acceleration boost from a 70-kilowatt, equivalent to 94 horsepower, electric motor. (The electric motor can drive the vehicle solo up to 25 mph.) A 28-kilowatt, equivalent to 38 horsepower, generator motor can handle duties like recharging the batteries and starting the engine. Compared to the V6 gasoline engine-only powered Ford Escape, the Escape Hybrid increases the city mpg efficiency by about 75 percent.

Escape Hybrid looks like the non-hybrid Ford Escape. There are, however, distinct features – like unique exterior road and leaf insignia badges, standard 16-inch wheels, and an air vent in the driver’s side rear quarter window. The hybrid SUV stores a 330-volt nickel metal hydride battery pack (think of it as the electric powertrain’s gas tank) below the rear load floor. For occupants, this is really a no compromise package. For instance, there’s 27 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row 60-40 split fold seat, so the vehicle has an adequate rear stow zone. Push the gas pump icon on the radio unit and see the ongoing mileage tally or the composite mpg for the prior 15 minutes. Passengers will appreciate the ample head and legroom. The front wheel drive vehicle offers optional four-wheel drive. Mile per gallon number estimates are 36 city and 31 highway. MSRP of the Ford Escape Hybrid is $26,380.