:D New toy this website. I have recently acquired an 08 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV and after 4 months and 4000 miles I can safely say that a combined 32 mpg is sustainable in Oklahoma City driving. I have been updating my mileage at the GreenHybrid website. I am looking forward to the Federal Tax Credit of $3000 since I paid sticker ($29,100). After that I will have an FEH comparable in price to the luxury 6 cylinder version and with the same performance. All combined I am extremely happy with this vehicle and wonder why the FEH does not get more rave reviews with the Green community.
We've had our 08 FEH 4WD since September and are quite satisfied overall with the mileage. Overall average is around 28-29mpg, mostly in-town with a little highway driving. Just returned from an 800 mile trip and achieved 30.9mpg during strictly highway driving, some in the moutains of western North Carolina, Tennesee and Kentucky.
I have noticed lower readings in the cold weather when the ICE is running longer to warm up and I also have noticed that mileage varies much more than with a normal car depending on driving conditions and driving habits.
For best results you have to get to know your vehicle, get a feel for how and when the ICE kicks on and off. Accelerate gently. I have found that you need to use a light touch on the accelerator to keep it in EV mode. Anticipate braking as much as possible to use regen braking more, mechanical braking less (again, you have to develop a feel for this). Use the cruise control as much as possible, even in urban 40mph zones, even for what seem like short distances. This seems to have a bigger impact than you would think. In warm weather, use ECON mode of AC as much as possible. This allows the ICE to cycle on and off as it was designed for. Interior may warm up a bit when sitting in traffic but rarely gets uncomfortable.
It takes a little while to learn how to manage a FEH. I have an 08 AWD FEH and I enjoy learning how to drive it. We live in California and just returned from xmas vacation in Idaho. I learned a few things on the way.
Cold weather lowers the MPG significantly. My experience on the highway was a reduction of about 5 mpg when the outside temp is below 0F. Also the when I drove at 75, the milage decreased about 3-4 mpg over driving at 70. Driving around town in California, I get around 33 - 34 mpg. I use the electric motor as much as possible (drives my wife nuts). In Idaho, I got around 23 mpg. This is accounted for by warming up the car so I could get the ice off the windshield. Also the gas engine runs all the time so the heater can warm up.
Your gas mileage will improve dramatically as you learn how to manage your hybrid. Good luck.
For cold weather mpg improvement:
-FIA Winter Grille Covers--cover your upper grille opening and provide a quicker normal operating engine temperature--one can also block part of or all of the lower grille opening for optium results
-engine block heater
Get a Scanguage II unit to provide a ton of vehicle operating information. Do a goggle search or scanguage.com