With an estimated fuel economy of 32 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving, the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid (Base MSRP: $30,570 to $34,830) is the most fuel efficient SUV available. Despite being an older design, reviewers like the Escape's passenger comfort and practicality, as well as its optional all-wheel drive (though it reduces fuel efficiency). Its higher price relative to the gas-only Ford Escape is one of its primary drawbacks according to experts.
After receiving minor updates for the 2011 model year, including the shuffling of some trim packages, the inclusion of Ford's programmable MyKey on all trim levels and the availability of the Active Park Assist self-parking feature, the Escape Hybrid carries over to 2012 largely unchanged. See our full report on the essentially identical 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid for reviewer feedback and links to a variety of expert sources.
The Escape Hybrid achieves 34 mpg city/31 mpg highway/32 mpg combined with standard front-wheel drive. The numbers drop to 30 mpg city/27 mpg highway/29 mpg combined with the available all-wheel drive system.
As of the 2011 model year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Ford Escape (the hybrid is not explicitly singled out) the highest rating of Good in frontal-offset, side-impact and rear-impact crash-protection tests. The Escape Hybrid falls short of getting the IIHS' Top Safety Pick designation, as it receives the lower rating of Marginal for roof strength. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid 3 stars out of 5 for overall safety, as well as for front-crash tests, side-crash tests and rollover-resistance tests. Front-seat side airbags, front airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, electronic stability control and antilock brakes are all standard safety equipment on the Escape Hybrid. While neither safety organization has posted ratings for the 2012 Escape/Escape Hybrid as of this writing, since it carries over essentially unchanged, it's likely the ratings will remain the same as they were for the 2011 model.
ConsumerReports.org has driven the Ford Escape Hybrid and ranks it against most other available hybrid and nonhybrid SUVs. ConsumerReports.org also provides useful information on reliability, owner satisfaction and driving impressions.
Review: SUVs, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
The editors of Edmunds.com like the Ford Escape Hybrid primarily for its unbeatable fuel economy in the SUV realm. The availability of some unique technological features make the Escape Hybrid interesting as well, according to the editors. Edmunds' full review of the 2012 Ford Escape has not yet been posted, but impressions should remain largely the same because the vehicle is essentially a full carryover.
Review: 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid, Editors of Edmunds.com
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2009-2011 Ford Escape the highest rating of Good for front-, side-, and rear-impact protection, but the lower rating of Marginal for roof-strength tests. The 2012 model is not included, but it's likely to be the same, since it's a carryover from 2011.
Review: Ford Escape, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid an overall rating of 3 stars out of 5, with front-crash, side-crash, rear-crash and rollover-resistance tests all receiving that same score. The 2012 model, which is now available, has not yet been listed, but it's identical to the tested 2011 model.
Review: 2011 Ford Escape HEV SUV, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
No SUV does better than the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid in terms of fuel economy. The EPA estimates that it will achieve 32 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 29 mpg combined when equipped with the optional all-wheel drive configuration. That's the best fuel economy of any SUV.
Review: 2011 Hybrid Vehicles, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy
The 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid is essentially identical to those from the previous few model years. See our full report on the 2009 Escape Hybrid for a more detailed analysis of the model and links to many reviews and other third-party sources.
Review: 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, Editors of ConsumerSearch, Dec. 2008