AutoWeek's editors took the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid through the Woodward Dream Cruise, which is essentially a very, very pretty traffic jam. During the manifold crawling episodes, the gasoline engine wasn't even running, and thus no fuel was wasted, and no pollutants emitted. AW finds the SUV surprisingly nimble handling-wise, and sharp to look at with a sweet paint job and nothing obvious screaming: I AM A HYBRID!!! BOW DOWN TO ME FOR I SHALL SAVE YOUR DYING EARTH!!! There is a certain lack of excitement about the continuously variable transmission, which has an annoying tendency to operate at high rpms since it has no defined shift points, and no one is thrilled with the $30,250 sticker price, inflated by a few dear options like a "Hybrid energy audiophile and navigation system." I mean, you could just buy a Walkman and some maps and get the same thing, right? AutoWeek observed a combined 27.7 miles per gallon, about six mpg short of what the EPA claims.
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