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Ford Tweaks the 2008 Escape Hybrid; Better Fuel Economy Than 2007 Model

The 2008 Escape Hybrid.

Ford has refreshed the 2008 Escape Hybrid with a new look, interior and exterior; two hybrid-specific upgrade packages including a 110V outlet; 100% recycled seating surfaces; and a boost in fuel economy—including nearly a 14% improvement in city driving compared to the 2007 model.

For 2008, Escape Hybrid engineers made revisions to the software in the control system to improve transparency, which is the transition between gasoline and electric operation. The transition from electric-only to gasoline power to a combination of the two now is more seamless and virtually imperceptible to the driver. In addition, the four-wheel-disc regenerative brakes have been retuned to provide a better feel.

A new Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system allowed Ford engineers to tune the amount of steering assist independent of engine and vehicle speed, giving the Escape Hybrid a very easy steering effort at parking lot speeds, while retaining Escape’s hallmark crisp steering feel while driving. Thanks in part to the new EPAS system, Escape Hybrid models achieve the fuel economy improvement of up to 14% in the city cycle compared to the previous model.

The 2008 Escape Hybrid carries an EPA rating (using the new system) of 34 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 32 mpg combined. The 2007 Escape Hybrid had a rating (adjusted using the new system) of 31 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined.

The Escape’s hybrid powertrain system consists of:

  • A 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine that produces 133 hp at 6,000 rpm.

  • A 70 kW electric traction motor.

  • A generator-motor to recharge the batteries, start the engine and help regulate how the two propulsion channels blend together in the transaxle. The generator-motor also provides power boosts during heavy load situations, helping Escape Hybrid accelerate to speed.

  • A special electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission (eCVT) harnesses internal combustion and electric power sources to drive the front wheels in a FWD Escape or all four wheels with the optional Intelligent 4WD System.

  • A 330-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack located and sealed at the rear load floor stores electrical energy.

  • An electronic vehicle system controller to manage charging, drive assist and engine-starting functions. This device shuts the engine down during coasting and at stoplights to save fuel. It also converts the traction motor into a generator during braking to help recharge the batteries.

The combined output of both the gas and electric motors is 155 horsepower, and the powertrain provides 0-60 acceleration performance similar to the conventional Escape with a 200-horsepower V-6 engine.

Seating surfaces. Ford says that the 2008 Escape and Escape Hybrid are the first US automotive applications of 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces. The new fabric, supplied by Interface Fabrics, Inc., is produced from 100% post-industrial waste—defined as anything intended for retail use but which never makes it to the consumer. This can be anything from plastic intended for pop bottles to un-dyed polyester fibers.

This plastic and polyester is processed, spun into yarn, dyed and woven into seat fabric. Recycling waste otherwise intended for landfills has obvious environmental benefits. Interface Fabrics estimates that Ford’s use of post-industrial recycled materials, rather than virgin fibers, could conserve an estimated 600,000 gallons of water, 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents and more than 7 million kWh of electricity.



I liked the Escape before. Good to see it improved.

Mike L

Very nice improvements. Glad to see that Ford is just not saying we have a hybrid, leave us alone. Instead they are making is stronger and even more socially responsible across the board. Bravo.

Now - we have proved the hybrid model works very well in the Escape - so lets can the non-hybrid model - what do you think? Or - lets bump up production from current levels (11%) to say 33%+ and start to lean on the Ford namesake of manufacturing process and cost improvements!


I really like the 110v outlet, that is extremely useful and one heck of a selling point.

Stan Peterson

I'm surprised that there is that much tweaking to be done on a well established and presumeably perfected Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive drivetrain.

The hybrid Escape is a 3400 # vehicle too, with the streamlined shape of a brick.

Nonetheless, it is impressive that they obtained so much improvement. Good job, Ford...

Mike Z.

Actually Ford developed their hybrid system independently; however, Toyota had beat them to patent some of the technology--hence there need to license the technology.


This is the right move for Ford. Now if they could just turn the 110 volt receptacle around and use it for charging a larger battery pack, they would have the jumper (no pun!) they need to increase sales.


A small SUV that gets almost as good fuel economy as my Corolla. Not bad.


O.K.- now apply the lessons learned here to a streamlined passenger car/wagon. Anyone see a reason why Ford can't make a car/wagon to rival the Camry-Altima twins- or even the Prius?

It seems like it would be relatively cheap for Ford to drop this powertrain in a Fusion, or even better yet, a Mazda5! A 6 passenger 50mpg Ford product- it's really not that difficult!


You know, I commend Ford for continuing to improve upon many aspects of this hybrid vehicle. Yet, I have to question their judgment on one particular item - the lack of the same stability control (what they call RSC) that is available on the non-hybrid version of this vehicle.

Yes, I've read Ford's explanation of this, but it's not like that was insurmountable. Personally, I love this vehicle, but I would never invest $30k in a vehicle without stability control these days. I mean, it has become important enough for the government to make it mandatory in a few years.

How can a car so advanced otherwise not have this? The lack of foresight just baffles me. It's little decisions like this that makes me question their


Does anyone know if they've actually switched over to an electrically-driven A/C yet? It seemed like a huge waste to keep the engine running, when stopped, just to power the A/C.

Are these improvements equivalent to or the same as Toyota introduced, 2 or 3 years ago, with the Prius II?

Will Ford eventually incorporate most of Prius III upgrades on the 2009/10 Escape or will Ford come up with its own in-house Hybrid recipe?

Either way, a 40 to 50 mpg 2009/2010 Escape Hybrid could be a good seller.


40mpg Escape Hybrid? It's not gonna happen.


Good job, Ford.

Bob Bastard

Wow, not bad at all! I'm no fan of SUVs or even Ford for that matter, but they are really surprising me with the Escape. The recycled seats and 110V outlet are a nice touch, but what I really like is the fact that they decided to stick with a reasonably sized, Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder, instead of trying to jam some overpowered, god-awful V6 in it, which seems to be the trend with many of the hybrids that have been released lately. Now, they just need to work on reducing its weight a little and reducing the coefficient of drag a lot.

Richard C Burton

unfortunately in the Escape Hybrid that I drove in, the engine droned in an unacceptable manner to me-not at all sophisticated like the Honda Civic and Prius hybrids that I've driven...


Last time I've seen the ford escape transaxle, it was too large to fit in the tight space of a normal car - whereas the THSII transaxle family fit's nicely in compact and mid-size cars...

I believe the motors are, unlike with the coaxial arrangement with the prius, offset from the transmission shaft, and albeit of smaller diameter, the whole assembly is more clumsy..


for you toyota lovers, they licesned the Hybrid battery technology from an American Company. Like usual they take what we invent and out engineer us on it.

hampden wireless

Ford did not pay Toyota for the hybrid system. It was fully developed in house. Toyota and Ford cross licensed patents to keep out of legal troubles with each other. Toyota had the Hybrid patents Ford needed, Ford had some diesel patents (probability from its Euro divisions) Toyota needed. Nissan tried and could not develop a system they felt was comparable so they bought Toyota's system.

Ford has demo'd smaller batteries still based on NMhi with the same capacity. I wonder if they are in there.

I just hope they finally sell a hybrid Ford Fusion.


Re: Fusion hybrid: Many rumors (Autoblog, etc) that Fusion will be the next-hybridized Ford in 2008-9.


Hybrid Fusion? Cool! Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Ford: Nice work on the Escape. Keep it up!


During testing back in 2004, the Escape hybrid achieved an average of 38 mpg. Granted, the test run was in mostly city traffic and on cool days, but it showed the possible increases in fuel efficiency (if not immediately, then a few/several years/model upgrades down the road).


Hmm, just a few days ago everyone was praising GM's lame attempt at a hybrid and excusing its limitations as "baby steps". Now we have another american automaker that is losing just as many billions that did the right thing ( even if it was for an oversized vehicle). How many of you want to retract your praise of GM's timid, incompetent management?

Roger Pham

It is very encouraging to see Ford's improvement it hybrid performance. I hope that Ford can make some profit from it, and if so, extend this hybrid layout on many other models.

The venerable Ford Taurus design seems to be a good candidate, since it was once a best seller for many years, and has excellent aerodynamic shape. Just enlarge the engine bay a bit to fit this hybrid package, change the sheet metal slightly to distinguish it from the old Taurus model, and plaster the Hybrid badge all over it, while giving it a catchy name like Electra or Volta, or sumthin' to do with electricity. With a resultant higher fuel economy due to a more efficient body than that of the Escape, this revamped Taurus will be a surefire success. The secret in a successful hybrid model is maximum fuel economy. James Carville (Clinton's campaign manager) would have advised: "it's the fuel economy, stupid!" as a campaign slogan for hybrids!

The 155 hp is also suitable for the minivan Windstar also, having better aerodynamic than the Escape, for those wanting more interior space while still saving fuel.

This is decent.

34mpg in the city? Great for a heavy vehicle which has worse aerodynamics of a flying brick.

I know that there is a segment of the population which wants an suv.

If you can buy this SUV to replace your last car, it might have all of those features that you were hoping for, yet still be relatively environmentally friendly, especially compared to all of the other vehicles in it's class



If you take the '08 EPA numbers for the "new" '08 Escape hybrid and put them back into the '07 EPA numbers, and by that I mean adding 3mpg city and 1mpg hwy to the ratings, the '08 Escape hybrid would have been '07 EPA rated at 39mpg city/32mpg hwy. Remember there were quite a few people who got those '07 EPA numbers or better. So one could argue we already have a 40mpg Escape hybrid.

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