Comfort and Quality » 7
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
“Fussy rear-seat-folding process”
“Leather front seats offer good long drive comfort”
“Escape’s interior imparts a low-buck atmosphere with lots of hard plastic trim”
The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid represents a step up in terms of quality from the outgoing version, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show this is still very much a flawed SUV.
One area where the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid earns some serious brownie points is in overall passenger space. The five-seat Ford Escape Hybrid can accommodate four adults comfortably, which is about as much as you can expect from a vehicle with a rear bench seat. Edmunds reviewers love the Escape Hybrid’s “comfortable and roomy interior,” while Cars.com raves that the leather front seats on the Limited trim “offer good long drive comfort.” Space for both occupants up front is generous, with ConsumerGuide predicting that “most adults should find more than adequate headroom.” The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid also offers legroom that ConsumerGuide says is “good for most adults, though taller riders would benefit from longer seat tracks.” Unlike some mid-size SUVs, the Escape Hybrid boasts a decent amount of usable space for rear passengers. Cars.com reviewers claim that “comfort and legroom are decent in the outboard seats” while, “like the first row, headroom is plentiful.” Edmunds reviewers chip in by vouching that the back bench “is roomy enough for adults and children, even if its cushions are a bit flat.”
The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid offers an incredible amount of storage space for a hybrid, though compared to mid-size SUVs it’s not exactly class-topping. Unfortunately, unleashing the Escape Hybrid’s full potential can be an arduous task, as Edmunds notes that the Escape Hybrid suffers from a “fussy rear-seat-folding process.” ConsumerGuide reviewers agree, claiming that the rear seats “require multiple, inconvenient steps” in order to fold. Once they’re down, however, you will find “65 cubic feet of capacity, a decent figure for this class,” according to Edmunds. The Ford Escape Hybrid is blessed with a respectable amount of passenger-area storage as well, and ConsumerGuide reports that “cabin small-item storage includes several bins, cubbies, and map pockets in all four doors.”
Like all hybrids, the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid comes with a significant price premium over comparable gas-only models. Some consumers might be disappointed to learn, then, that the bump in price doesn’t necessarily equate to an increase in overall quality. In fact, Cars.com says “interior quality remains one of the Escape Hybrid’s shortcomings,” and while the Limited trim is nicer than the base model, even that version has “too much hard plastic for a modern car.” ConsumerGuide agrees that the interior is “disappointing overall,” as it “imparts a low-buck atmosphere with lots of hard plastic trim and odd panel textures.” On the positive side, the materials boost the Escape Hybrid’s green credentials, as Edmunds points out that “the standard cloth upholstery is made out of 100 percent recycled material.”
Ford’s engineers make a concerted effort to reduce NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) levels in the new Ford Escape Hybrid, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show they meet with mixed success. Kelley Blue Book thinks that the improvement is noticeable, quoting a Ford source that claims a “12-percent reduction in highway noise,” but ConsumerGuide finds that “wind and road noise are present.” Edmunds adds that the Escape Hybrid’s gasoline engine is “noisy under hard acceleration,” although when leaving a stoplight the Escape Hybrid is nearly silent, since it runs on its electric engines.
The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid is in desperate need of a materials upgrade, but at least the ride is quieter than before.