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2005 Ford Escape SUV Hybrid
Neal White
Motor News Media Corporation
Chippewa Valley Newspapers

LOS ANGELES -- The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid will not begin arriving in dealer showrooms until later this summer, but it can be ordered now from local Ford dealers.

If interested in owning a fully-functional, five-passenger SUV with the equivalent power of a V-6 engine that gets 40 mpg in city driving, be prepared to stand in line. Once the Escape Hybrid begins rolling off the assembly line in July, a lot of people are going to want one.

This is the real deal.

During a recent test drive through Los Angeles city streets, through the winding hills of Topanga Canyon and even off roading in the mountains, the Escape Hybrid lived up to its billing as a "no compromise" SUV that consistently achieved a fuel economy rating around 40 mpg. There is a gauge on the dash that shows the fuel economy.

The 2.3-liter I-4 gasoline engine is an Atkinson-cycle variant of the conventional Escape's Duratec engine. It is similar to the four-stroke cycle -- intake, compression, power, exhaust -- except the intake valve closes well after the piston begins moving upward to compress the air-fuel mixture.

The two key benefits of the Atkinson cycle engine are the reduced "pumping loss" associated with all gas engines. Additionally, because a fraction of the air-fuel mixture is released from the cylinder back into the induction system without being burned, the effective displacement of the engine is reduced.

In addition to its gasoline engine, the Escape Hybrid has a 70-kilowatt (the equivalent of 94 horsepower) permanent-magnet traction motor. The hybrid storage battery consists of 250 D-sized cells in a sealed enclosure.

In comparison, mild hybrids are distinguished by relatively small battery capacity and lack an electric-only drive mode.

When quick acceleration is needed, or additional power on hills, both powerplants on the Escape Hybrid work in unison to provide maximum horsepower and torque.

It can even tow up to a 1,000 pound trailer. In fact, when it comes to quick acceleration conditions, the Escape Hybrid is actually more responsive than the V-6 Escape.

Inside, it is nearly identical to the gasoline-powered Escape. The only difference is the analog gauge on the dash to inform the driver when the vehicle is using regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The 2005 Escape Hybrid is a remarkable vehicle that offers consumers the ability to carry both passengers and cargo, on or off road -- and do it while saving a ton of money on gas. And yes, at lower emissions.

Full Preview Here

 

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I overheard on WWJ today that the Base Escape Hybrid has a $3300 price premium over a normal base escape. It will take awhile to make that money back. If gas prices continued to rise, then the time to recoup the added expense would be shortened (duh).

It is good to see work being done on Hybrids. Hopefully with all this development and engineering time spent the next generation will not only be better, but cost less. The key to me is getting the price between a Gas and a Gas/Electric Hybrid rather close to one another. The performance seems to be there for the most part. If the price was only say $1000 more for the powertrain, then savings would quickly be realized after about two years of normal driving.
 

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I'm lazy and don't want to figure it out but is this $3300 over an 'equivalent' V6 Escape or is it $3300 over the base 4 cyl Escape? Because hybrid econ with V6 power or only $3300 over a 4 banger is good but $3300 over the V6 might be a bit much to swallow
 

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Sorry, the $3300 is over the price of the V6. (I was just going by how the guy on the radio put it).

The V6 averages around 20mpg (figures I found online) where the Hybrid is getting anywhere from 35 to 40mpg (an increase of 75%). Lets do some math...

12,000miles/year at 20mpg = 600 gallons of gas.
600 gallons of gas @ $1.90/Gallon = $1140 Annual Fuel Cost.

12,000miles/year at 35mpg = 345 gallons of gas (rounded up from 342).
345 gallons of gas @ $1.90/Gallon = $655 Amnual Fuel Cost.

That is a savings of $485.00. You would have to drive the vehilce for roughly 6.8 years to break even on the gas savings. Again if you drive more than 12k per year you will see that break even point sooner. And if the gas costs go up from the example $1.90 then again, the break even point would occur sooner.
 

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ok, so 6.8 yrs to break even isn't horrible. I still think diesel would be better but so long as your able to break even before the 10yr battery warranty expires then I believe the vehicle is a good choice.
 

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does the V6 require premium fuel vs regular? If so the cost savings will be more since you will be gaining more milage per gallon and paying less for regular vs premium.
 

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the Escape Hybrid lived up to its billing as a "no compromise" SUV
It can even tow up to a 1,000 pound trailer.

no compromise, eh? well how about a 2,500 lb. compromise? it's not for everyone, and to be honest, if you're not going to tow any more than 1,000 lbs., i don't understand why you need an SUV.


hey, whatever, if you want an SUV, this may be the one to get. better than Focus fuel economy in an SUV, albeit a small one. Ford is up and coming once again. this could be a smash hit. good show.
 

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Originally posted by s2gordon@Jun 15 2004, 01:08 PM
does the V6 require premium fuel vs regular? If so the cost savings will be more since you will be gaining more milage per gallon and paying less for regular vs premium.
Reguler.
 

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Does anyone know the amount of the federal tax credit for hybrids? I was under the assumption that is was about $1500 this year. Also, I believe it is a CREDIT and not a DEDUCTION. Can anyone confirm?
 

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Originally posted by Smaart Aas Saabr@Jun 15 2004, 06:20 PM
My 1988 Saab 900 Owner's Manual says I can tow a 1,500 kilo trailer or caravan (with brakes).

1500*2.2= about 3,300 pounds!

Not a SUV tho
That's very impressive. AFAIK, the highest tow rating ever in a FWD GM car (excluding the older large Eldo/Toro) is 3000 lbs, on the previous gen LeSabre/88/Bonneville with a towing package. Now most everything is maxed out at 1000 lbs. The Malibu isn't recommended for towing at all. The only GM car to go over 1000 lbs is the Vibe (well, sort of GM) at 1500, but I don't think I'd try it with mine. An extra 1500 lbs. for the 1.8L to move around sounds like an exercise in patience that I don't have. I'll keep the hitch on the old Intrigue and pull my camper with that.
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ@Jun 15 2004, 07:34 PM
The Malibu isn't recommended for towing at all. The only GM car to go over 1000 lbs is the Vibe (well, sort of GM) at 1500, but I don't think I'd try it with mine.
any idea why the tiny 1.8L in the vibe is rated for 1500 lbs, while the malibu isn't recommended at all? seems a little odd to me! the vibe isn't particularly torquey. i agree though... i'd stop well short of 1500 lbs with the vibe.
 

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Originally posted by paul8488+Jun 15 2004, 07:52 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (paul8488 @ Jun 15 2004, 07:52 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-MelvinJ@Jun 15 2004, 07:34 PM
The Malibu isn't recommended for towing at all.  The only GM car to go over 1000 lbs is the Vibe (well, sort of GM) at 1500, but I don't think I'd try it with mine.
any idea why the tiny 1.8L in the vibe is rated for 1500 lbs, while the malibu isn't recommended at all? seems a little odd to me! the vibe isn't particularly torquey. i agree though... i'd stop well short of 1500 lbs with the vibe. [/b][/quote]
It's not only about moving the trailer but it also safely stopping and control the trailer. Also about rear axle weight ratings being that a 10% tounge load of a 1000lb trailer = 100 lbs verses 2000lb trailer =200lbs, this weight is behind the axle taking more weight off of the front end ^o-o\

So weight and brakes aalso play a factor in towing capacities.
 

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Originally posted by doh+Jun 15 2004, 08:11 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (doh @ Jun 15 2004, 08:11 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by [email protected] 15 2004, 07:52 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-MelvinJ
@Jun 15 2004, 07:34 PM
The Malibu isn't recommended for towing at all.  The only GM car to go over 1000 lbs is the Vibe (well, sort of GM) at 1500, but I don't think I'd try it with mine.

any idea why the tiny 1.8L in the vibe is rated for 1500 lbs, while the malibu isn't recommended at all? seems a little odd to me! the vibe isn't particularly torquey. i agree though... i'd stop well short of 1500 lbs with the vibe.
It's not only about moving the trailer but it also safely stopping and control the trailer. Also about rear axle weight ratings being that a 10% tounge load of a 1000lb trailer = 100 lbs verses 2000lb trailer =200lbs, this weight is behind the axle taking more weight off of the front end ^o-o\

So weight and brakes aalso play a factor in towing capacities. [/b][/quote]
I think it's simply a matter of how much they want to test these vehicles for. GM mostly sells these cars in North America, and when people want to tow here, they buy a light truck, so why go to great lengths to certify them for towing a heavier load. Just slap a 1000 lb. limit on most everything and be done with it.

Toyota sells Corollas worldwide where folks don't always have access to a truck, so they test everything out to make sure that it will handle it. That doesn't mean it won't be a struggle for them to pull the load, but I guess things will hold together.

Even though my '98 Intrigue is only rated for 1000 lbs., I tow our 1500 lb. camper with it and it does just fine. It squats only a bit, and the 3800 has no trouble whatsoever. Braking is very good too.
 

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That would explain why the Uplander has the same tow rating as the Venture, despite the differences.
 
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