Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Escape Hybrid

We got to try out both the 2008 and 2009 Ford Escape hybrid models in the AutoblogGreen garage, and found both to be respectable rides for families who need the room. Kelley Blue Book thinks so, too, and named the 2009 model one of its "2009 Best New Family Vehicles." The Escape hybrid is rated at 32 mpg for the FWD model, 28 mpg for the 4WD.

KBB included four hybrid models and one diesel car (the Jetta TDI) from five automakers in its list of ten family-friendly vehicles. Toyota and Chevy each had three models selected. The complete list is:



[Source: KBB, Ford]

PRESS RELEASE:

FORD ESCAPE HYBRID RECOGNIZED AS BEST NEW FAMILY VEHICLE BY KELLEY BLUE BOOK

* Editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com today named the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid one of its "2009 Best New Family Vehicles."
* Kbb.com editors praised the 2009 Escape Hybrid's improved – more powerful and more efficient – gas-electric powertrain and its fuel economy rating of 34 mpg in the city.
* In addition to five-passenger seating and plenty of cargo storage, the 2009 Escape Hybrid offers families a host of safe, smart and green technologies.

Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 17, 2009 – Editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com today named the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid one of its "2009 Best New Family Vehicles."

"After undergoing a major overhaul for the 2008 model year, the Ford Escape Hybrid is improved again for 2009 with a more powerful and more efficient gas-electric powertrain," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. "Its fuel economy rating of 34 miles per gallon in the city is even better than that of the Toyota Camry Hybrid."

According to Nerad, the kbb.com editors considered factors such as resale value, capability and kid-friendliness when choosing this year's list of the top 10 best cars for families, but extra emphasis was placed on fuel economy.

"Gas prices have dropped sharply from their record highs, but the sluggish economy is now dictating smart spending with a focus on overall value," he said. "Given the current state of the economy, parents want to get even greater value for their money while buying a new vehicle that also will accommodate their family's lifestyle and needs."

Not only is the Ford Escape Hybrid the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet, it also offers families the perfect combination of value and versatility, says Ford Hybrid Marketing Manager David Finnegan.

"The Escape Hybrid offers the convenience and flexibility that many families need in an ultra fuel-efficient vehicle," he said. "You can fit five passengers plus a lot of cargo, such as sporting and camping equipment. It's a fully functional SUV that happens to be a hybrid as well."

Safety – an important consideration for families – comes standard on the Escape Hybrid.

All vehicles are equipped with AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control®; Safety Canopy™ side air curtain technology which offers protection for the first and second seating rows; Personal Safety System®, which includes new dual-stage front air bags for the driver and front-seat passenger, side air bags and a front passenger sensor system; tire pressure monitoring system; and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for rear seating positions.

"Entertainment and connectivity also are important factors for families to consider," said Finnegan.

Along with SYNC, the Escape Hybrid offers features such as SIRIUS® Satellite Radio and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS® Travel Link™.

In addition to being kid-friendly, the Escape Hybrid is environmentally friendly, meeting strict Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV II) and Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards.
The 2009 model features new comfort-designed seats with soy-based foam that substitutes for petroleum-based products to conserve limited resources and reduce CO2 emissions.
Eco-friendly seat fabrics made from post-industrial 100 percent recycled materials also are offered on the Escape.

"Customers can be environmentally responsible and still have a vehicle that provides the utility of an SUV and is fun to drive," said Finnegan.

Earning a spot on kbb.com's exclusive list of "2009 Best New Family Vehicles" is not the only accolade the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid has received. Ward's Automotive Group named Ford's redesigned Escape Hybrid engine to its "2009 10 Best Engines" list. The vehicle also was recognized as "Best Crossover/SUV Value Under $28,000" by Intellichoice.com, a leading source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis.

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Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's wholly owned brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, has provided vehicle buyers and sellers with the new and used vehicle information they need to accomplish their goals with confidence. The company's top-rated Web site, www.kbb.com, provides the most up-to-date pricing and values, including the New Car Blue Book® Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. The company also reports vehicle pricing and values via products and services, including software products and the famous Blue Book® Official Guide. According to the C.A. Walker Research Solutions, Inc. – 2008 Spring Automotive Web Site Usefulness Study, kbb.com is the most useful automotive information Web site among new and used vehicle shoppers, and half of online shoppers visit kbb.com. Kbb.com is a leading provider of new car prices, car reviews and news, used car blue book values, auto classifieds and car dealer locations. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than kbb.com.

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