By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.1
Hybrid cars, for the most part, emphasize fuel efficiency over capability. In the real world, however, Americans need their cars to do all manner of chores, which is why so many have switched to some form of CUV or SUV. Believing you shouldn't have to sacrifice one benefit for another, Ford has created the 2012 Escape Hybrid, a rugged, roomy CUV with a hybrid drivetrain that is as easy on the planet as it is on your monthly gasoline budget. Of course, there are other hybrid CUVs out there but almost all are high-priced luxury models, with the closest in price being the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. And, while it is obvious that the Escape Hybrid's highway fuel economy is not all that much better than the gasoline-powered Escape, the hybrid's 34 mpg city rating is nothing to scoff at. Besides, a hybrid isn't just about saving fuel; it's about promoting new technologies and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
If you can't afford to give up versatility or light off-road ability for the sake of going green, you now have a savior. The 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid can do all the things its gasoline-only counterpart can do while achieving the segment's best city fuel economy figures.
There are no major changes for the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid.
Driving Impressions From the driver's point of view, sitting behind the wheel of a 2012 Escape Hybrid is very much like driving a standard Escape, that is, until you encounter stop-and-go traffic....In slow-speed situations the Escape Hybrid's electric motor does almost all the work, meaning the vehicle is emitting zero pollutants as well as very little noise. The ghostly manner in which the Escape Hybrid glides about is a bit unnerving at first, giving the feeling the engine has stalled. But, once you adapt to the Escape Hybrid shutting its engine off at stops and then restarting it once underway, the vehicle begins to feel just like any other car. Of course, once the battery pack runs low or you begin to move at speeds above 44 mph, the gasoline engine comes online full time. Amazingly, even with the gasoline engine engaged, the Escape's fuel economy remains above the 30 mpg mark.
We're always glad for the ability to quickly and easily find the nearest caffeine station.
Active Park Assist
A feature usually found only on super-luxury cars, the Escape Hybrid's Active Park Assist uses sonar and the electric power steering unit to automatically guide the Escape into an open parallel parking spot. Voice prompts tell the driver when to shift gears and apply power.
Although the interior of the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid breaks no new ground stylistically, its overall execution is worth noting. Quality plastics have a nice look and feel, and the instruments are backlit in an easy-to-view Ice Blue illumination. Generous use of insulation throughout the cabin returns a surprisingly quiet ride, and clever features, such as the soy-based foam used to construct the seats, validate the Escape Hybrid's status as a cutting-edge green machine. Ford's clever placement of the battery pack under the floor means the Hybrid gives up nothing in the way of interior space, leaving the Escape's roomy rear seat and large cargo area intact. On models equipped with the available navigation unit, the hybrid drive system can be monitored showing when the vehicle is running on pure electric power as well as when the battery pack is being recharged.
The 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid doesn't look like the typical hybrid. There is no video game-style instrumentation or funky exterior shapes, just the same squared-off front end and boxy passenger compartment that define so many of Ford's trucks and SUVs. A bold egg-crate-style chrome grille sets off the front end, while thick black plastic runners protect the Escape Hybrid's sides and lower grille. The Escape Hybrid looks almost identical to the gasoline-powered Escape, with only a few "Hybrid" badges and unique 16-inch aluminum wheels to set it apart. The Limited trim adds bright machined aluminum wheels, lower chrome grille extension, chrome liftgate handle, chrome roof-rail inserts and driver's door keyless entry keypad.
Equipped similarly to the XLT gasoline-only model, the 2012 Escape Hybrid includes dual-zone climate control, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input jack, Ford SYNC communication and entertainment system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control and 16-inch aluminum wheels. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS), as well as AdvanceTrac traction control with Roll Stability Control. The Limited trim adds 16-inch bright machined aluminum wheels, chrome exterior and interior accents, a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, ambient lighting, leather seating, a power moonroof, the Reverse Sensing System, heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a driver's door keyless entry keypad.
Some of the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid's more desirable options include DVD navigation with 10GB hard drive music storage, rearview camera, MyKey, Active Park Assist, 4-wheel drive, integrated side step bars, remote start, rear-seat DVD entertainment system and roof-rack crossbars.
As a so-called "full hybrid" the Ford Escape Hybrid is capable of running on battery power alone, at speeds up to about 25 mph. According to Ford, the system delivers 0-to-60-mph acceleration equivalent to that of a 240-horsepower V6. Power is transmitted to the front- or optional four-wheel-drive (4WD) system via a "gearless" continuously-variable transmission. A new electric power steering system requires less effort from the driver to keep the vehicle headed straight on slanted roads or in steady side winds.
2.5-liter in-line 4 Gas/Electric Hybrid Propulsion System
177 net horsepower
155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
Electric motor: 94 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
136 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/31 (FWD), 30/27 (4WD)
By Nick on Monday, March 30, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great quality, great driver, good MPG"
Cons: "Front speaker started going out after 4 years"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Have had this car for a little over two years. Bought this after owning a string of minivans from Dodge and Chevy, and was my first ford. Although i did sacrifice on the space to go to a SUV I love this car. It gets good gas mileage 24-26 depending on the season, handles fairly well for an SUV and has a decent amount of power. It is very comfortable for long trips, i take it 4 hours one way every other weekend during the winter and it is a breeze in this vehicle. The only complaint is that the driver side front speaker has started to go out but the vehicle is now four years old and was pre-owned so I cant say for how it was used in the past. If I were to buy this vehicle again i would sacrifice the MPG to go for the 4 wheel drive model because I live in a snowy region but for a Front wheel drive it doesn't do bad. Highly recommend this vehicle."
By Nutcracker2 on Monday, March 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was a first time Escape customer last May 2014. I'm buying another one this May. What does that yell you?"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Northern Lights on Saturday, March 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 173,500overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good V6 engine, Sync system, cargo space."
Cons: "Way too many non-engine mechanical breakdowns."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I bought this 2009 Escape XLT new. It fit the exact profile I was looking for in a vehicle which would work for business purposes, yet would still work for my outdoors activities. I still like the design a lot. The newer models have removed the SUV look and have replaced it with a minivan/crossover look. I love the Ford SYNC system. It works great. This vehicle was one of Ford's first to be equipped with a USB port. I really wanted to like this vehicle. The problem is I have had way too many mechanical breakdowns. Here is a list of the major ones: 1)Transmission went out after a month of ownership. Yes it was covered by warranty, but it took six weeks to get repaired due to a lack of replacement parts (what does that say?). Then it needed reprogramming a month later. 2)One of the front disc brakes failed. Covered by warranty. 3)The electronic power steering failed. $1300. 4)The air conditioning condenser unit failed. $1000. Then it failed again a year later. 5)Something called a half axle support bearing failed. $400. 5)Electronic lift gate actuator failed. The one thing that has actually works great on the Escape has been the V6 engine. No issues there at all. Overall however this vehicle has just had too many mechanical breakdowns in a 5 year period. I'm also not happy with the number of recalls that Ford is still experiencing with many of their vehicles. Its too bad because I really loved a lot of things on this Escape. It fit me perfectly, but the mechanical issues are just too much and Ford has too many recalls. I'll go elsewhere."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Carol on Friday, March 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage and roomy"
Cons: "seat belts are crazy sometimes"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I really love this car! The only reason I am thinking of trading it in is that I want the 2015 Titanium. I am retired so it has plenty of room for everything that comes up. It wouldn't be good for a large family but it is so perfect for me."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By snooze on Thursday, March 12, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "I wish it was a little bigger"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Good mileage. Comfortable on road trips and locally. Reliable. All I could ask for in its price range. Would recommend this vehicle"
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By jp4me on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price,fun to drive"
Cons: "emergency brake release hard to reach"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a great suv. It still rides,looks & handles like it did when I bought it new. There were a couple of recall problems & dealer took care of them. Glad I bought the 6cyl. avg. 22.6 mpg with plenty of power."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful