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Ford Escape Hybrid Test Drive: What Did You Think?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
If you've taken an Escape hybrid for a test drive, this is the place to let us know what you thought.

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  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    I did a test drive in a 2006 FEH this past week, and I noticed something interesting. With the key out of the ignition, I hit the brake. I heard something electronic cycle under the hood. It happened every time I touched the petals. I seems to me that Ford may have connected the brakes to some electrical components even when the ignition is off.
  • Yeah, well, so what? It's normal. The key being off doesn't shut down the whole car. It's electric and doesn't have the engine running so you notice it more. Nothing wrong 'tho.
  • The noise you heard was the ABS system re-pressurizing. After each trip the ABS controller releases the pressure in the hydraulic system (as a safety measure, I guess). As soon as you enter the car, you will hear the ABS pump running for a few seconds.
  • My wife and I took a test drive the other day in an Escape Hybrid. I was surprised to find so little information available on the standard "message center." What data is available there? I was told by two dealers that the only way to electronically track and display MPG performance is with the optional "Energy Audiophile and Nav system. Please tell me this isn't so!
  • waltawalta Posts: 13
    I know that if one has the Nav system, over 1/2 of the possible "static" displays (non-problem messages), are locked out from the Message Center, including the mileage related ones.

    While the Nav system can display this info instead of the Message Center, IMHO, it would surely have been nice if I could use the Message Center to monitor my mileage, while the Nav system displays, well, Navigation stuff.
  • I have an 06 FEH AWD without the Nav/Hyb Monitor and I can confirm that the message center has more functions including avg MPG, Miles to empty, etc., etc. Sit in a truck without the Nav and you can see the extended version of the message center. :D
  • bowman24bowman24 Posts: 2
    I drove a 2008 model last week. Wow what a vehicle. The ride was quiet and smooth and the climate system is much improved over the previous model. I was pleasantly surprised to find that dual zone automatic climate control was standard on the FEH. I also noticed that beyond the clutter of the new fuel economy sticker calculation method, Ford actually improved the fuel mileage. They list the new calculation method in big numbers, but the old method is still listed in small numbers under the big ones. 2007 model was rated at 36mpg city, but the 2008 is rated at 41mpg city. Fit and finish was also much improved for 2008 as the entire platform was revamped.

    I'd been considering a Highlander, but after my experience with the FEH, I'll be back at the dealer with my wife to finalize the deal next week. :)
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Again, it is not obvious to me why someone would be trying to decide between the HyHi and the FEH. They differ so widely in size, features, price, etc. ...... the govt even puts them in different categories.....small(FEH) vs. mid-size(HyHi) SUVs. If you need the extra seats and the size of the HiHy...then that is you only choice with a hybrid drive train - (other than the 400h).

    If you don't need the size, then you have the FEH and numerous other small SUVs to choose from...including non-hybrids (Subaru, etc.) that get rather decent FE.

    Looks like you have already started to appreciate the job Ford has done (not perfect) on the FEH. I have had mine for just over a year and it never ceases to impress me. Don't kid yourself into thinking Ford has performed any significant engineering changes to the hybrid drive to increase the EPA numbers....the drive train design and components are virtually the same as the 05/06/07 FEH models. enjoy :shades:
  • z28gurlz28gurl Posts: 5
    I have been driving an Escape Hybrid for 6 months now (company truck), i am a meter reader, and I drive it day in and day out.

    I love this vehicle, and want to purchase one.
    Its very easy to handle, it has excellent pick up if one needs to pass, its amazing on fuel ( fill it up every 2.5 days, but remember this "truck" is running for 8 hours straight per day, every day) however, this does change when you use your air or heat, the gas motor does not kick off.
    It gives you wonderful sence of helping the environment while stuck in construction or bad traffic issues.

    There are a few cons I have for this truck.
    REVERSE, is useless up the slightest incline!!!!! I wouldnt want to attempt to haul a trailer with this SUV and if ever you get yourself in a tight situation ( camp roads that you arent familiar with) and have little or no other option but to back up a hill, you better just get out and call a tow truck, your not going to get out, trust me.
    Fortunately the wheel base is short enough that you can amazingly turn it around in some pretty tight spots.

    Back to the pros of the escape hybrid, it does do well in reasonable mud conditions, substantial snow fall doesnt affect its ability to manoever and remain where its supposed to be on the road, it also off roads decently ( as long as you dont have to reverse) and is a very comfortable ride.
    I am not a ford fan, but I give the Escape Hybrid 2 thumbs up.
  • z28gurlz28gurl Posts: 5
    the handling of the escape while running on electric is definately something you have to get used to. I find the steering a bit touchy, as well as the brakes.

    And if your someone like me that likes to know whats happening with your vehicle while your driving, the gauges can be a bit distracting ( looking down at the "assist" and "charge" guages)
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Your observations about reverse are explainable. To save on complexity of the eCVT (transmission) the vehicle is designed to be powered entirely by the battery/electric motor when in reverse - no added torque is available from the ICE when backing up.

    The ("handling") steering and the brakes are independent of whether the vehicle is being powered by the battery/electric motor, the ICE, or a combination of both. A computer decides which brake system and how much to use based on pedal input and vehicle speed, etc. After a few months of driving the FEH you can learn how the computer decides what brake to use and push the pedal and shift gears between "L" and "D" accordingly. :D
  • I have tried every dealership via visit, phone, email and cannot locate one that has a Hybrid Escape on the lot to test drive.It really seems stupid in view of the fact that Texas is now sponsoring a program to get old cars off the road in which one can get up to $3500 for turning in an old vehicle and buying a hybrid.
  • curtocurto Posts: 1
    I have an 06' escape hybird AWD and have never gotten better than 26 MPG (hot summer local crusing)(I'm lucky if I get 21 winter MPG, NW WA) claims are 31 MPG and now Ford is claiming 41 MPG,,, ? Have their been improvments and changes to the prehistoric system (compared to the Preious) that I have? :mad:
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    I love the Escape Hybrid, but if you are buying one just to save on gas...consider this vs a 2008 Focus, you'll save about $200 a year in fuel econ savings but the Escape Hybrid costs $8k to $10k more for about the same passenger room.

    You can buy a lot of gas for $8,000...about 7 years worth for the Focus.

    Mark
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Your example is definitely not the norm. Databases (on other forums) of 100s of FEH drivers all averaged together show 29-30mpg for all AWD drivers (even higher for the FWD). The FEH powertrain system is still very close to what is being sold in the Toyota Prius) The Prius has a few advancements (elect A/C compressor) but is designed for other purposes, thus it weighs a lot less, holds a lot less cargo, and is not built to withstand off-road driving. If a Prius suits your needs and FE is your top priority - you should own a Prius. If a Ford Focus suits your needs - you should own a Focus....it is not in the same category as a Escape.

    Don't compare the FEH to Government (not-Ford) estimates.....compare it to the other vehicle you would be driving instead. [None of them get EPA estimates and all of them show drop in FE in cold weather] Everything else being the same, the FEH uses a lot less fuel and creates a lot less pollution than the alternatives.

    Many forums post tips for how to drive the FEH to get 30mpg....lots of examples of folks who get more than 35 mpg. :D
  • You probably have figured out by now that production of the Escape Hybrids in the last 3 months of 2007 was pretty well curtained due to battery shortages. If Texas in fact has that kind of incentive for hybrids, the dealers will not have any to test drive anyway! With that kind of deal, they could charge $2000 above the MSRP, and they'd sell everyone they get before it ever gets to the lot!

    Go to CA and see if you can find a Tribute Hybrid, their production is ramping up, and their still pretty unknown. Or hound Mercury dealers and see if you can find a Mariner hybrid, but be prepared to pay ~$5000 in electo-glitz to get it.
  • patmck152patmck152 Posts: 2
    Hello,
    Just joined the forum and I need some advice. I currently drive a 2001 Escape V6 FWD with every option except 4WD and it's a great vehicle. I've taken it, fully loaded with all my gear, to Big Bend Nat'l Park(offroad) and many other camping trips in Texas and it has always performed great, even offroad.
    I've had my heart set on purchasing a 2009 FEHybrid sometime this summer. I've read that a new 6 speed engine, getting a bit more gas mileage, and stability control will be added in 2009 model.
    Most everything I've read so far about the FEH is positive--that is until today, when I read z28gurl's post on here (post # 10 from June 25, 2007).
    z28gurl's post stated:
    "REVERSE, is useless up the slightest incline!!!!! I wouldnt want to attempt to haul a trailer with this SUV and if ever you get yourself in a tight situation ( camp roads that you arent familiar with) and have little or no other option but to back up a hill, you better just get out and call a tow truck, your not going to get out, trust me.
    Fortunately the wheel base is short enough that you can amazingly turn it around in some pretty tight spots."
    This statement is making me think again about buying a FEH. If this is true that reverse drive is useless up an incline, then I would have been up the creek last year at Big Bend cause I had to backup MANY, MANY times at the places I camped--and with a full load of camping gear! My Escape V6 did fine, but if the Hybrid won't backup right, I can't use it.
    Even though most of my driving will be in town, I'll still do a lot of camping in tight spaces where REVERSE DRIVE IS A MUST.
    So can anyone please help me out on this issue--what's the scoop on this Hybrid not being able to backup properly??
    Thanks,
    Patmck
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    "So can anyone please help me out on this issue--what's the scoop on this Hybrid not being able to backup properly?? "

    The 2009 does not use a 6 speed transmission. It has the same planetary gearset as the current model.

    The reverse power is provided only by the electric motors, which have about 40 HP. There is no capability to directly harness the energy of the gasoline engine to move the vehicle backwards. So if you are trying to back a trailer up an incline, the FEH would be rather under powered.

    If you are considering towing, the FEH is not the best choice in any case.
  • patmck152patmck152 Posts: 2
    Thanks for your reply stevedebi.
    Honestly, until I read z28gurl's post, it never crossed my mind to even think of a 'backup problem' with the FEH! I'm still in shock about this discovery as I now can't buy an Escape Hybrid like I'd planned to do this summer. I'd be outraged to be stuck in the middle of nowhere because I couldn't back up an incline! I'm amazed that Ford would even sell a vehicle that can't drive in reverse properly. And I'm not talking about towing anything behind me--just a normal backup going uphill!
    None of the so-called expert reviews that I've read on various sites mention this major design flaw(or omission) and the consequences it would have for a driver under certain driving conditions.
    Since posting my question I've read some other posts by Escape Hybrid owners who have had the same backup problems(http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f26/reverse-steep-driveways-6441/).
    Do you think Ford will correct this problem in the future or is this problem something that will always be a part of the FEH??
    Thanks
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    The design trade-off the engineers made to simplify the eCVT and provide electric-only reverse has not been seen as a "problem" or a "major design flaw" by an overwhelming majority of those who own the FEH/MMH/MTH. The Toyota Highlander has as similar issue with the traction control software that limits power to the electric-only rear wheels when they slip in the driveway in snow/ice conditions. [ check out the reports of the HiHy's getting stuck ]

    I have never had a problem having enough power to move the FEH backwards up steep hills. I have not tried it backward over rocks or curbs - on hills.

    If towing or offroading is a top priority - stick with the V6 and the 19 mpg. :D
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    "Do you think Ford will correct this problem in the future or is this problem something that will always be a part of the FEH?? "

    I hope you noticed that while the ICE cannot power the wheels directly, it can provide electric energy to the motors that reverse the FEH. So the situation is not as bad as my first post may have indicated.

    As to the technical question, I'm not sure if it could be changed. However, I imagine not so long as they continue with the current "planetary gearset" design. If the ICE could have spun the wheels in reverse I'm sure they would have implemented it that way. Electric motors are easy to reverse - just reverse the current - but it may have been difficult or impossible to directly power the wheels in reverse.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Providing a means for the ICE to power reverse is not "difficult" or "impossible" - it just adds weight and complexity (read: less FE) to the most critical component in the vehicle. :(

    Good trade off in my opinion. Future designs may address this - but not with this eCVT concept.
  • I currently drive a 2005 Ford Escape. I'm seriously thinking about purchasing a new (2010?) Hybrid.

    Of you who already own them, do you have any advice or words of caution about anything I should be aware of? (I'm not a mechanic, so this gets a bit overwhelming rather quickly.)

    Thanks in advance.
  • ashli1ashli1 Posts: 1
    I am also considering a Ford Escape Hybrid. Any opinions/tips would be appreciated
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    edited October 2010
    "I am also considering a Ford Escape Hybrid. Any opinions/tips would be appreciated "

    I enjoy driving my 2008, but I would only recommend buying a new one if you like the technology and want to have fun trying to get the most MPG out of the vehicle. If you are looking for a small SUV, the 4 cylinder Escape will cost you significantly less (around $5,000). It won't get the same MPG in town or on the road, but you would have to drive the FEH for many years before even breaking even just on the MSRP difference - and that is assuming you put effort into trying to improve MPG. If you drive the FEH hard, it won't get nearly as good gas mileage.

    There is also the fact the Ford won't put any incentives on the hybrids, but there are generally incentives on the conventional engined models.

    They seem to have gone up in price quite a bit since I bought mine. My MSRP was 31K, and a similar 2011 model would be about 35K.

    If I were shopping right now, I would look at the Mazda 5. It isn't an SUV, but it is very economical, has good parking characteristics, and can carry way more people and cargo than an Escape. Assuming you don't need the AWD.

    Mine is a 2008 FEH AWD with the "luxury" package, as it was called back then. I get just under 30 MPG most tanks.
  • bow45bow45 Posts: 21
    edited October 2010
    Please check out the High Voltage Battery issues.

    "Ford Escape Hybrid Battery Pack Questions"
    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.f16fe2e/50
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    "Please check out the High Voltage Battery issues. "

    I keep pretty close tabs on the FEH, and I don't know of any specific battery issues, except that the pre-2010 models have a tendency to have problems with the blend door actuator. The latest models do not use the external door.

    Battery pack fans are covered under the federal extended hybrid warranty, since they are inside the battery pack.
  • I intend to purchase a uses Ford Escape Hybrid in the next two weeks, and based on my price range, it seems likely that I will be purchasing either a 2008 or 2009 model. I would like to know if there are any appreciable differences between the models of those two years. Also, are there particular model choices that I should be informed about?

    Many thanks...
  • We have an 09 FEH with 25K miles. The 09's have a 2.5L vs 2.3L engine in the 08s and can go up to 40 mph on electric, which is a little faster than the 08s. Only problem has been the battery blend door which was replaced a month or so ago. Mileage has been in the mid 30's, except in the summer when it go to the low 30's due to AC. I believe the 08 did not have an ECON switch with the AC so that the ICE remained on if AC was selected. The 09's ICE would shut off if the ECON was selected. My two cents is go with the 09.
  • bow45bow45 Posts: 21
    I own a 2008 Escape Hybrid AWD. Mine has the ECON switch. It shuts off and on the AC automatically.
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