Overview: 2011 Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid was the first such SUV sold in America back in 2005. It was the pioneer in a new land, bringing high mileage for the first time in the segment. Since then the Escape has been redesigned inside and out in 2008. The 2011 model comes with a number of new features in will likely be one of the last years before its replacement arrives sometime in 2012.

Getting a phenomenal 34 mpg city and 31 highway, the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid now offers a wide array of standard and available upgrades like HD Radio technology, offering free access to digital radio broadcasts across the country. Also available is, and the Ford‘s exclusive SYNC with Traffic, Directions & Information – helping reduce distractions while accessing important route and traffic information.

Music lovers will enjoy the addition of HD Radio technology, which enables more listening options and digital sound quality. No additional equipment or cost is involved: To use HD Radio, listeners simply tune in their favorite station. If the station is broadcasting with HD Radio technology, the system automatically picks up the signal and will transition to digital audio once decoded.

SYNC with Traffic, Directions & Information leverages industry-leading voice-recognition software, integrated GPS technology and a customer’s Bluetooth-capable mobile phone. SYNC’s new applications provide simple hands-free access to personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions, and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports, and weather.

Escape features Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors consisting of an outside rearview mirror designed with a secondary convex spotter in the top outer corner, which is aimed exclusively at the driver’s blind spot. When traffic enters the driver’s blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it is visible in the secondary convex mirror, helping provide the driver a broader peripheral view.

An available Rear View Camera System uses an exterior camera embedded in the rear of the vehicle that sends images to a video display in the rearview mirror or the navigation system screen, if equipped, to help enhance visibility directly behind the vehicle when it is in reverse. Ford is leveraging the affordability of high-quality video cameras to widely offer the technology.

To help encourage safe teen driving, Escape also comes standard with the Ford-exclusive MyKey system. Parents simply program the vehicle key through the message center to incorporate features such as limited top speed of 80 mph, a traction control system mode that limits tire spin  and cannot be deactivated, audio system volume limited to 44 percent of maximum volume, and a speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph.

The class-exclusive Active Park Assist system uses sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle, working in conjunction with Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), to guide the vehicle into a parking space. EPAS can also control steering characteristics that enhance drive quality. An example found on Escape is Pull-Drift Compensation, a software-based technology designed to help drivers offset vehicle pulling or drifting that can occur in steady crosswinds or on uneven roads..

“If you’re on the expressway and the road is crowned to the left or right for better water drainage, for example, you may need to make a slight steering compensation for that crowning,” said Brian Kosztowny, Ford Vehicle Dynamics development engineer. “With Pull-Drift Compensation, the EPAS system gradually will dial in steering assist for easier steering in these conditions without the driver feeling it in his or her fingers or needing to make an extra effort. The electric motor does more, so you don’t have to.”

All Escape models come with an Anti-lock Brake System and Ford’s exclusive AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control).

Under the hood, the Hybrid models use a 2.5-liter I-4 designed to run on the Atkinson combustion cycle. An advanced engine processor enables nearly imperceptible transitions between gas and electric vehicle mode, and hybrid models also feature a power train damping system to reduce vibrations and feedback to the driver and other vehicle occupants.

The Escape Hybrid Limited is packaged for environmentally conscious buyers who still want a full complement of accessories and equipment. Along with its gas counterpart, the Escape Hybrid Limited features 16-inch bright machined aluminum wheels and exterior chrome accents, a standard six-speaker audio system, chrome and ebony interior touches and a luxury and convenience package that includes ambient lighting, heated front leather seating surfaces, a power moon roof, reverse sensing system, rearview camera and universal garage door opener.

While the Escape Hybrid may have been around in its current form for some four years, Ford has continued to upgrade its top selling compact SUV with its latest features and technology. The Ford Escape Hybrid is built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri.

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