I don't yet have the hybrid but I do have a 2003 Escape that we bought new. I just drove the new hybrid today and am utterly impressed by it. Just for this conversation here let me put this mileage situation into some kind of perspective. A regular V6 will get about 19-20 in combined driving and you'll maybe get 300 miles on a tank before it gets close to empty. I doubt if I ever have gotten over 25 mpg. I have always liked the car very much but the fuel mileage has been dissappointing. It is not that much better than my 2005 F-150 which I just got 20.14 mpg on a recent 400 mile trip. And that vehicle weighs about 5,300 pounds.

If the hybrid can get 30-35 mpg that would be fine with me, as that would be about a 50% improvement.

I've always found that getting the best mileage is through careful driving habits; the most important is driving as though you have egg between your foot and the gas pedal.

My $0.02.