2009 Ford EscapeEnlarge Photo
When some automakers innovate "family friendly," we see cup holders and DVD players. Good thing Ford is thinking about the greater meaning of what families need in today's vehicles with the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid. For some time, I've felt that families have been penalized for needing to carry more stuff or people. And we're certainly penalized for wanting better crash ratings and LATCH systems to secure car seats. I have some pretty high standards for the vehicle that carries my children, and so I've had to sometimes sacrifice gas mileage or pay more than I really wanted.
By starting with the familiar Escape model, Ford makes the transition to alternative fuels easy. The 2009 Ford Escape is a well-known SUV that offers comfy seating for five and tons of cargo space, plus towing and horsepower to boot. So, when you compare the Escape SUV with its own hybrid counterpart, the only difference is the MPG. Oh, well, and the $6,055 difference in MSRP. (I compared the FWD V6 Limited with the FWD V6 CVT Hybrid Limited.)