2008 Ford Escape Hybrid...Opinions?

Capt.Hilarious

Of all the names to choose...Capt.Hilarious?
#1
Hey all - I recently got the itch to buy a new car. I need something with a little more room for my big ass dog without getting hair all over my back seats. But also, I just like new cars...

So, I've been thinking about the new Escape Hybrid. I like the style of both the interior and exterior and the price is manageable. Plus, I would get approx. a $3000.00 tax credit AND ~34mpg in the city. Which is pretty hard to resist. I'm going tomorrow to check them out and test drive a few but I just wanted to know if anyone has experience with them yet or any other hybrid for that matter.

I'm not really worried about maintenance b/c almost all of the hybrid parts are covered under an 8 year warranty. But I don't want to have to drive like a grandpa in order to take advantage of the gas savings.

Of course, if I rule out the hybrid, I'll be picking up a CX-7. Sweet crossover.
 

Sinn Fein

Infidel and White Interloper
Wackbag Staff
#2
Well, it's about 5K less than a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. I don't know much else about them.
 

ginaf20697

Registered User
#3
Anything Ford makes except for trucks is a POS.
 

abudabit

New Wackbag
#4
Hasn't ford been rapidly increasing in reliability? Or was that GM?
 

Capt.Hilarious

Of all the names to choose...Capt.Hilarious?
#5
Yeah, I had that same sentiment as well until I started looking into these...they seem to be made well and not too cheaply.
 

Capt.Hilarious

Of all the names to choose...Capt.Hilarious?
#6
Hasn't ford been rapidly increasing in reliability? Or was that GM?
I think that after they went seriously downhill with the focuses and the first few model years of the escape, they changed direction and are coming back...I think.
 

VMS

Victim of high standards and low personal skills.
#7
College buddy of mine has one. He seems pretty happy with it, and hasn't had any obvious issues. Has had it for at least 2-3 years. We drove it down to Atlanta for a bowl game over New Year's, and I didn't notice any issues when it was my turn to drive.
 

ginaf20697

Registered User
#8
Don't you have to replace the electric battery at a certain point? I remember when the hybrids first came out they talked about it and said it pretty much killed any savings you made on gas.
 

abudabit

New Wackbag
#9
Depends on the battery type, charge schematics, and design. The slower you charge / discharge the batteries they longer they last. Newer hybrids are a lot more gentle on batteries than they used to be, I think nowadays they last a lot longer.
 

Bill

Registered User
#10
The 2008 Escape is a redesigned model. It just arrived in showrooms in April, so there is relatively little information on it. Here is one review from cars.com .

The previous version of the Escape Hybrid appears to have been pretty good. Twelve of them were tested in NYC as Taxi's. All of those 12 have gone over 175,000 miles and are still in service. The tests have gone so well that last week, the mayor imposed a regulation that in the future, all NYC Taxi's will have to be hybrid's.

The big question for you will be how much city (stop & go) driving do you do vs highway driving. The highway mileage of the hybrid systems used by Ford & Toyota don't do all that much for people who do mostly highway driving.

On the other hand, the hybrid systems, used by Honda & GM, get better highway mileage, but their city mileage isn't as good.

So, if you do mostly highway driving you need to figure out how much you will actually save in gas.

I've had a Civic hybrid since Feb 2003 and have no intention of going away from a hybrid when I buy my next car. I was considering going up to a hybrid SUV. But, last year, NY passed a law that allows hybrids that get over 45mpg highway into the HOV line on the Long Island Expressway with only one person in the car. There is no way that I am going to give up that perk in exchange for a larger vehicle.

Lastly, you might want to consider a new 2007 model if there are any available in the showroom. Even though it's a hybrid, you might be able to get a really good deal because the new model is out. The 2007 model is eligible for the same federal tax break that the 2008 model is. Some states also have state tax credits for hybrids. Unfortunately for you, Illinois is not one of them.
 

Joe Avezzano

Registered User
#11
You have to watch how they figure MPG. I read this thing in Consumer Reports where they tested the the mileage of these hybrids and found it to be not as good as advertised.
 
#12
Assuming the MPG is 20% less than they state, that is still pretty good for an SUV.
 

Joe Avezzano

Registered User
#14
Assuming the MPG is 20% less than they state, that is still pretty good for an SUV.
Good point. But depending on what you're used to driving/paying for, the gas savings would be destroyed by the depreciation and insurance costs for a new vehicle. You might be better off getting the classic VW Rabbit. New vehicles are just an awful investment.
 
#16
Just bought an '08 Escape Hybrid for my wife. We've had it 2 weeks so far, and we LOVE it! Very well built, seamless hybrid system functionality, and plenty of interior room. She drives 52 miles each way to work every day, a mix of city and highway driving, and she's averaged 34mpg on her first 3 tanks of gas. Much better than her '05 Dodge Ram 4x4 was getting (14mpg). We drove it last weekend, city stop-n-go only, and I averaged 38mpg!

My car is an '06 Mustang GT convertible. I used to be a 100% Toyota buyer, but these 2 Fords have really impressed me - their build quality has improved dramatically! Never thought I'd have a 100% Ford garage!
 

LiddyRules

I'm Gonna Be The Bestest Pilot in the Galaxy
#17
I posted in the wrong thread
 

Bill

Registered User
#18
she's averaged 34mpg on her first 3 tanks of gas.... We drove it last weekend, city stop-n-go only, and I averaged 38mpg!
It is fair to assume that, with that mileage, you bought the 2WD model?

Keep your ears open with regard to the Continuously Variable Transmission. Honda had some problems with their early CVT's and ended up developing a special transmission fluid specifically for CVT's. However, since the owners manual and the cap to the transmission fluid of the cars, manufactured prior to the development of this new fluid, specifically say that the car is supposed to use Honda's ATF-Z1 transmission fluid. I recently had my fluid changed and I had to convince my mechanic to use the CVT fluid. After convincing him over the phone, I gave him a copy of the Honda service bulletin regarding the CVT fluid when I dropped the car off. He ended up having to use that bulletin to convince the Honda parts guy to sell him the CVT fluid.

There is probably a Yahoo group for the Escape hybrid. If so, I would suggest joining it. I've learned a lot about my Civic Hybrid from the various Honda hybrid Yahoo groups (including the info about the problem that Honda had with CVT's and the fluid that they developed to fix the problem).
 

Mort

How Many Assholes We Got On This Ship, Anyhow?
#19
I used to work for a dealer, and had plenty of experience with the Escapes, hybrid and not. They are super reliable. There were a bunch of recalls on the early Escapes (2001 model year), but after they settled down, they've been a breeze for maintenance. Our most cynical service writer even had his daughter buy one.

As far as the hybrid, every account I've heard (mostly from city drivers) is that its getting as good or better mileage than the EPA says it does. By its nature, it will do better in the city then the highway because at low speeds after the engine is warmed up, it will operate in electric-only mode. If you're on the highway most of the time, look elsewhere.

As far as the driving experience goes, they actually have some balls. The CVT takes some getting used to, with not hearing shifts because they don't shift. But almost all hybrids have them, so its part of the deal. The problems with CVTs are mostly with more powerful engines and early designs. Ford tried them with the Five Hundred and the Freestyle, but I think they dropped it because nobody liked them. Plus, they didn't have any real benefit (fuel mileage, acceleration, cost) to outweigh the weirdness.
 

Capt.Hilarious

Of all the names to choose...Capt.Hilarious?
#20
Thanks for all of the really informative posts. I test drove a couple of the hybrids this weekend and I have to say I was really impressed. The interior did not feel cheap at all and I really like to the new '08 exterior.

The transition between the electric and gas engines was really seamless and there was a surprising amount of pick up for the 4 cylinder. The CVT was definitely strange at first but I am sure I would get used to it pretty quickly. It also handled extremely well and felt more like a large sedan rather than an SUV.

I've learned that I am pretty picky though when it comes to my cars. Small things bothered me like the moonroof opened really slowly and the AC didn't seem to blow as hard as I would like even though it was on high (and yes, the gas engine was on). Also, I made the mistake (or maybe the salesman did this on purpose) of driving one with the NAV system first. It's an ok navigation system but what really stands out is the real-time monitoring of the hybrid system. In the others I drove w/out the NAV system, the monitoring system displays where the trip calculator and is very basic.

Bottom line, I really liked it and I am still strongly considering picking one up.

One question - does anyone have one of the AWD versions and can speak to what kind of mileage it gets? My salesman said that the AWD only kicks in in wet conditions and that you only take a hit when it is in use.

Of course, I also drove some CX-7s and I can't get them out of my mind. So, I have to decide if I want to save on gas or spend more on gas since the CX-7 needs 93 octane and avgs 18-24 mpg.....ha.
 
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