The Escape is surprisingly roomy inside. I had a Chevy TrailBlazer that was totalled. I wanted to replace it with something with better fuel economy, but didn't want to give up too much size. The Escape is much shorter, but is on a nice wide wheel base that makes it feel bigger. It is very smooth when it transitions between the motor and engine. I still get about 350 miles per tank of gas, but my gas tank is now half the size.
Having a Prius, we decided to get another hybrid. Needing a hauler, the Escape was a good choice for us. Timing was right since fuel costs are rising fast. This car gets 28-32 real MPG which we're happy with. Major downside is road noise which seems to be the norm for this type vehicle. It has disc brakes on the back which was a pleasant surprise since the normal Escape has drums.
Overall, as a SUV and a Hybrid vehicle, one can't ask for more. The Escape Hybrid is a smaller size SUV, but for my purposes of having the ability to carry things when needed, and yet, have the MPG that is equivalent to a mid to full size car, the 2009 Escape Hybrid goes above and beyond my needs and expectations. The version I have is the AWD Limited edition, which therefore comes with all the bells and whistles. Overall, I am estimating an overall MPG mileage of around 31. More specifically, the city driving is around 32-33 MPG, and the hwy/freeway driving is is giving me about 28-29 MPG. I know that the MPG rating is higher for the non-AWD Hybrid version. It has the ability to run in pure electric mode up to 41 or so MPH, when acceleration is light and conditions allow, and also depending on how much of the vehicle's resources one exerts (e.g. AC, radio, etc.). The drive of the vehicle is fairly smooth, and the suspension seems good for this type of class vehicle. Acceleration is a bit dismal, but it is expected as this is a Hybrid vehicle. Nonetheless, it has a bit of a pick up if you are really in need. There is good viability all throughout the cabin, and no noticeable blind spots. The braking on the vehicle is good and tight, and apparently an improvement over the prior years. Overall, Ford did a good job on this long lasting Hybrid SUV model.