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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid

$3,659 — $11,527 USED
Sport Utility
5 Seats
28-33 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Gas mileage
  • Easy drivability
  • Hybrid drivetrain performance
  • Brake-pedal feel (for a hybrid)
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick

The Bad

  • Uncompetitive interior quality
  • Backseat has outdated folding design
  • Wind noise at higher speeds
  • Modest towing capability
2009 Ford Escape Hybrid exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid
  • More powerful hybrid powertrain for 2009
  • Can run on electric power alone
  • Newly standard stability system
  • Optional customizable ambient lighting
  • Optional navigation system with hybrid-drive readouts

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

by Mike Hanley -

Small SUVs are relatively efficient compared to their larger counterparts, but even in a model like that, topping off the tank can get pricey when gas is above $4 a gallon — as it is in many places around the country.

What's an SUV shopper to do? If you're not ready to downsize to a small vehicle, the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid remains one of the most efficient small SUVs available today, with an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 34/31 mpg city/highway for the front-wheel-drive model and fuel economy of 29/27 mpg for ones with all-wheel drive. I tested an all-wheel version of the new Limited trim level of the Escape Hybrid and found that the EPA's fuel economy estimates are easily within reach. Aside from some hybrid-specific drivetrain characteristics, the Escape Hybrid drives like a conventional small Sport Utility Vehicle. While Ford has improved the model for 2009, interior quality remains one of the Escape Hybrid's shortcomings.

 

Styling
Compared to some of its small SUV competitors, the hybrid version of the Ford Escape has maintained a relatively traditional SUV appearance with its upright grille and angular profile, and this should be appealing to those who like the rugged look of an SUV but the better gas mileage of a hybrid. Design cues include large front and rear fender flares, and, on the Limited trim, a chrome grille that flows into the front bumper.


As opposed to GM, which slathers its full-size SUV hybrids with stickers and badges, Ford has shown ...

by Mike Hanley -

Small SUVs are relatively efficient compared to their larger counterparts, but even in a model like that, topping off the tank can get pricey when gas is above $4 a gallon — as it is in many places around the country.

What's an SUV shopper to do? If you're not ready to downsize to a small vehicle, the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid remains one of the most efficient small SUVs available today, with an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 34/31 mpg city/highway for the front-wheel-drive model and fuel economy of 29/27 mpg for ones with all-wheel drive. I tested an all-wheel version of the new Limited trim level of the Escape Hybrid and found that the EPA's fuel economy estimates are easily within reach. Aside from some hybrid-specific drivetrain characteristics, the Escape Hybrid drives like a conventional small Sport Utility Vehicle. While Ford has improved the model for 2009, interior quality remains one of the Escape Hybrid's shortcomings.

 

Styling
Compared to some of its small SUV competitors, the hybrid version of the Ford Escape has maintained a relatively traditional SUV appearance with its upright grille and angular profile, and this should be appealing to those who like the rugged look of an SUV but the better gas mileage of a hybrid. Design cues include large front and rear fender flares, and, on the Limited trim, a chrome grille that flows into the front bumper.


As opposed to GM, which slathers its full-size SUV hybrids with stickers and badges, Ford has shown some restraint in distinguishing the Escape Hybrid from regular Escapes. Badges on the sides and liftgate clue people in that this is a hybrid, but otherwise it looks much like a regular Escape (see a side-by-side comparison with a 2009 Escape).

Going & Stopping
Starting with 2009 models, the Escape Hybrid uses a gas/electric powertrain that consists of a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. It's a refined system that smoothly blends power to propel the SUV. Total system output is 177 horsepower, and a continuously variable automatic transmission is standard.

The Escape Hybrid moves in near silence on electric power alone at low speeds and can even do so when going up a gradual incline. Operating the air conditioning in its regular mode will keep the gas engine on more frequently, but pressing the system's "Econ" button allows you to enjoy air conditioning as well as more electric-only operation than you'd otherwise get.

Whereas the 2008 hybrid version of the Ford Escape exhibited a slight shudder when its gas engine started, the 2009 Escape Hybrid's engine comes on more smoothly; the main ways to tell it's on are by looking at the tachometer or listening for its quiet drone. Ford says it tried to make this element of the powertrain smoother, and it succeeded.

The 
Ford Escape Hybrid delivers acceptable acceleration that gives it enough power to get up to highway speeds safely, but it isn't a power-oriented hybrid like the Lexus GS 450h, a midsize luxury sedan with a V-6 engine. The upside, of course, is better gas mileage. Once up to highway speeds, a fair amount of wind noise penetrates the cabin.


All-disc antilock brakes are standard, and the 2009 Escape Hybrid gets a new brake-pedal sensor. While the 2008 Escape Hybrid had a very soft brake pedal that felt like you were stepping on a sponge, the 2009 model has a fairly firm pedal. It doesn't offer the natural pedal feel of a good conventional hydraulic braking system, but it's good for a hybrid, and the system is able to stop the SUV quickly when necessary.

Ride & Handling
Like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the hybrid version of the Ford Escape has fairly stiff suspension tuning that makes for a firm ride. Body roll is present but not excessive, which is good for this class. The Escape Hybrid is maneuverable and handles the highway easily.

The electric power-steering system provides a high degree of assist, which means it doesn't take much effort to turn the wheel. The SUV steers precisely, with no play in the wheel.

The Inside
The new cabin styling that the Ford Escape Hybrid received for the 2008 model year was an improvement over the outgoing model's interior, but it still lagged behind the CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe in terms of materials quality and panel fit. The interior of the new Limited trim level has an improved appearance thanks to the use of piano-black trim on the dash and center console, but there's still too much hard plastic for a modern vehicle, and there's too much space between trim panels. However, some of the Escape Hybrid's other features may be enough for buyers to overlook these shortcomings.


Limited models come with customizable ambient lighting for the cupholders and other points in the cabin, giving drivers the ability to choose what color they'd like to use to highlight the interior, including blue, purple and orange. Ford's Sync entertainment and communication system is standard, and the Escape Hybrid can have an optional navigation system that has much-improved graphics and new capabilities, like displaying weather maps, gas prices and sports scores.

Automatic dual-zone air conditioning is standard, and its display is incorporated into a dash-top readout screen. I wasn't high on this design when it initially came out because you have to look in two places to operate the system — first for the temperature or fan speed control knobs and then to the screen higher up to see the result of your action. That hasn't changed, but I found myself not having to look for the knobs after using the system a while as I came to know where they were on the dash. A new owner might have a similar adjustment period. I did like the blue backlighting of the controls; it really enhances the appearance of the cabin at night.

Fabric seating surfaces made of recycled plastic and polyester fibers are standard; the Limited model has leather seats. The leather front seats offer good long drive comfort — I wasn't sore in the least after a nearly six-hour drive. They're also heated, but only have an "on" setting, unlike many models that offer more than one temperature. Headroom is good, even with the optional moonroof.

The 60/40-split rear bench seat isn't the picture of configurability. In order to fold the seats down to make a longer cargo floor, you first have to flip the bottom cushion forward, remove the head restraints, then fold the backrest down. It's two steps more than the best designs out there, where all you need to do is fold down the backrest. At least once you've taken the time to fold the seats the cargo floor is completely flat.

The backseat doesn't slide forward and back and its backrests don't recline (more shortcomings), but comfort and legroom are decent in the outboard seats. Like the first row, headroom is plentiful. The second row lacks a flip-down center armrest, but this deficiency contributes to surprisingly good middle-seat comfort. Thanks to the lack of a floor hump, legroom is also acceptable.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2009 Ford Escape its Top Safety Pick award for the SUV's overall scores of Good — the highest rating possible — in its frontal-offset, side-impact and rear crash tests. To be eligible for the designation, the model also has to offer an electronic stability system, and Ford's AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control is newly standard for 2009. Additional standard features include side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags.

Cargo & Towing
The Ford Escape Hybrid's cargo area is slightly smaller than the regular non-hybrid Ford Escape's, but the difference is minor. The hybrid has 27.8 cubic feet of cargo room; folding the backseat brings the total to 66.1 cubic feet. Unlike the regular Escape, which has a storage well under the cargo floor, there's no such area here because the space is taken by the hybrid's high-voltage battery pack.


Maximum towing capacity for this vehicle when properly equipped is 1,000 pounds. In comparison, the four-cylinder Escape can tow 1,500 pounds, and the V-6 model maxes out at 3,500 pounds.

Escape Hybrid in the Market
Priorities are key when considering the Ford Escape Hybrid; they could easily swing your decision one way or the other. For the Escape Hybrid to be worth your money, you really have to be buying it for its hybrid credentials: fuel savings (especially in the city) and low emissions. Why? When you start to factor in its other, less-desirable attributes — like archaic rear-seat folding and spotty interior quality — the hybrid opens the door to competitor vehicles from Honda, Toyota and Hyundai.


Still, the 
Ford Escape Hybrid's crash-test scores are better than before, and the Ford Escape Hybrid Limited offers an improved cabin appearance. With gas prices the way they are, a proven hybrid system will definitely be a powerful enough reason for shoppers to consider the Ford.

Send Mike an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
26 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Move more space for less gas

by Halsey S4 on March 27, 2018

This has been a beauty of a car to own and use. No major issues in 8 years, and it's still in great shape. This car will run another 10 years easily. Great on gas and lots of room. Clean, fun & ... Read full review

(5.0)

Hard to find Escape Hybrid

by light blue with stone leather interior from San Diego on March 12, 2018

Well built reliable SUV that is extremely fuel efficient. Excellent condition Must see to appreciate. One owner fully loaded, navigation, moon roof, leather seats Microsoft Sync voice control. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Head Restraint
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Ford

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2009 Escape Hybrid Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Escape Hybrid received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker