Third, Hardware: <br>2005 Ford Escape Hybrid3. HARDWARE: ESCAPEIt’s a bit like rowing a canoe with a chubby boy eating chocolate candies in the back. Given its tested miles per gallon (25) and a price tag of close to $30,000, the Ford Escape Hybrid is a decent ride, but should do a better job of handling the daily chore of stoplights, corners, and traffic.
The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid is a painless car to drive. But when compared to its direct hybrid competition, it’s the mind-numbing Novocain variety of painless. This SUV, thanks to its weight and stance, was at an instant disadvantage. As such, it is a great straight-ahead cruiser that betters the Prius when it comes to freeway driving. But get the Escape Hybrid on a winding road and you experience far too much body roll and understeer –- hints that perhaps that weight makes the ride worse than it would be in a regular Escape, or other small suvs. Located under the floor of the cargo area, the heavy battery pack seems to have an adverse impact on performance –- especially going up or downhill, and taking corners. It’s a bit like rowing a canoe with a chubby boy eating chocolate candies in the back.
Stopping a canoe like that is a challenge, and if that boy can’t swim –- look out. The Escape Hybrid has no such problem, with four-wheel antilock disc brakes. As with the other hybrids, the Ford Escape Hybrid has regenerative braking baked right in, to capture energy expended when the vehicle is coming to a stop. Keeping the car on the road are a MacPherson strut front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and an independent rear suspension. Ford claims that the suspension was dialed in specifically for the hybrid –- and if so –- Ford should know that tree huggers like to drive with their hair on fire too. The independent rear suspension surely also limits the possible tow rating for the Escape Hybrid, though the amount of air intake needed to keep electric motors from meltdown and accomplish serious (more than the Escape Hybrid's rated 1,500 lbs.) towing might have something to do with it as well.
What the Ford Escape Hybrid has going for it is a choice of drives –- front-wheel or four-wheel. And while Ford people tout the off-road capability of this vehicle, it would seem to be mocking Mother Nature to carve up a canyon with a green SUV. Other than off-road application, the Escape Hybrid’s four-wheel-drive system is especially handy in rain or snow.
Given its test average of 25 mpg and a price tag of close to $30,000, the Ford Escape Hybrid is a decent ride, but should do a better job of handling the daily chore of stoplights, corners, and stop-'n-start driving when compared what is available on the market –- hybrid or otherwise.
“Hardware” sounds like a hammer and nails, and in a way it means much the same thing: the hardware on your car should make it fun to put the hammer down, the ride should never feel as though you’re driving on nails. With these three vehicles as the subjects, a thorough testing on winding roads, freeways, and in city traffic made the pecking order clear. The 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid is more fun to drive than most cars on the road, hybrid or otherwise. The 2005 Toyota Prius makes for a nice ride –- nicer still when you notice that the gas gauge rarely ever moves. And the Ford Escape Hybrid, while the first SUV to adopt hybrid technology, just can’t shake the chubby, grubby boy swinging on its tail.