Fun Facts About the Ford Escape

by Rob Wagner

The Ford Escape compact sport utility vehicle comes with three power options: the standard Duratec 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; the Duratec 3-liter V-6 flex-fuel version, which uses 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline; or the Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter engine with an electric motor for the hybrid version. The 2011 hybrid Ford Escape was the most fuel-efficient SUV sold in North America and featured eco-friendly features to keep fuel costs and emissions low.

Fuel Economy

SUV buyers wanting the best bang for the buck may want to opt for the front-wheel drive hybrid version of the Ford Escape. It earned 34 mpg in city driving and 31 on the highway for a combined mpg of 32. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (www.fueleconomy.gov), it cost the average driver of a 2011 hybrid Escape $2.85 to drive 25 miles using 0.78 gallons of fuel based on fuel costing $3.65 per gallon and spending 45 percent of driving time on the highway and 55 percent in the city. In 2011, it cost the hybrid Escape owner $49.60 to fill up the 15.1-gallon tank to achieve a maximum distance of 435 miles. The annual fuel cost of driving a hybrid Ford Escape in 2011 was $1,714. Cost to drive the four-wheel drive version of the hybrid was slightly higher in 2011, costing $3.15 to drive 25 miles using 0.86 gallons of fuel. The range of the four-wheel drive model was 394 miles on a full tank. In 2006, Ford offered the Ford Escape with flex-fuel capability. Flex-Fuel uses 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline to power its engine.

Hybrid Firsts

The Ford Motor Company was the first automaker to offer a sport utility vehicle as a hybrid. Ford engineers designed the hybrid Escape to travel up to 44 mph while using only the electric motor to power the vehicle. The hybrid Escape used no gasoline in 2011 while stopped in traffic. The electric motor is a nickel-plated hydride battery, identified as NiMH, and sealed and placed under the floor of the rear cargo area. The seats in the standard 2011 Escape XLT and in the hybrid version featured recycled polyester fibers and polyurethane foam made from plant seed oils.

Escape Tidbits

The 2004 hybrid Ford Escape set a driving record in Manhattan by driving 37 consecutive hours and 576 miles on one of tank of gasoline. San Francisco used 2005 model year hybrid Escapes for its taxi fleet, becoming the first city in the United States to use the Escape hybrids as taxis. New York City in 2011 had 1,400 hybrid Escape taxis in service.

Regenerative Braking

A new concept among hybrid vehicles is regenerative braking. Conventional gasoline-powered vehicles have brakes that generate energy when stopping the vehicle, but that energy is lost. The 2011 hybrid Ford Escape featured regenerative braking that captured the energy as the brakes stop the vehicle and sends the energy to the battery pack for storage and later use. Applying the brakes recharges the battery pack.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images