Add full-time all-wheel-drive capabilities to Ford’s fuel-miserly 2012 Escape Hybrid Base to get the Escape Hybrid 4WD. This 5-passenger compact crossover cruises in front-wheel drive, while a dedicated electric motor is utilized to send some added torque to the rear wheels when conditions warrant. It also, apparently, allows Ford to get away with slapping a four-wheel-drive (4WD) label on its smallest crossover.
Not only traction-heavy, this base Escape Hybrid 4WD trim again flaunts 66.1 cubic feet of total cargo area, along with 16-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, premium cloth upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and, of course, full power accessories. Additionally, cruise control comes standard, as do dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a tilting leather-wrapped steering wheel mounting cruise and audio controls. Tech-wise, Ford’s touted Sync infotainment system and Bluetooth hands-free technology combine with a single-CD player with 6 speakers, satellite radio, an auxiliary iPhone interface and a USB port for easy listening and voice-activated communications.
Options, meanwhile, remain a power sunroof, upgraded premium audio with 9 speakers, remote engine start, rear-seat DVD entertainment, a hard-drive-based navigation system and upgraded 16-inch wheels.
A 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) gas/hybrid engine, combined with a duo of electric motors, gives the 2012 Escape Hybrid Base 4WD its go. These components are once again managed by the standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) to put out 177 total hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. Engine auto start/stop technology, meanwhile, helps keep mileage at an estimated 30 mpg city/27 highway, while brake regeneration assists the I4 in maintaining enough of a charge in the electric motors to accelerate this cute-ute up to 25 mph on electric power alone. The electrically driven AWD system, finally, puts the extra electric motor to work diverting added torque from front wheels to all four when surfaces start to get sloppy.
Again for this year, notable standard safety features include front-disc/rear-drum 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), as well as traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, and front and rear head airbags. Additional standard safety equipment includes Ford’s handy MyKey programmable speed and audio levels, front fog/driving lights, a post-collision safety system bolstered by SYNC post-crash alerts and a passive antitheft alarm.