The Ford Hybrid SUV models
include the Ford
Escape Hybrid SUV, which was named 2005 North
American Truck of the Year and the Ford
Explorer Hybrid SUV, which may never hit showrooms.
Because hybrids are such
an emerging and dynamic marketplace, it is no wonder that
many concept cars, trucks and SUV's never do hit the showroom
floors. The Ford Explorer Hybrid SUV is one such vehicle.
Though the Ford Explorer Hybrid SUV may not be in your own
front driveway at any time soon, if ever at all, there has been
much technological gain and public relations gain from developing
this vehicle. The Ford FutureTruck 2004 Competition challenges
many top universities to reengineer a conventional, mid-size
Ford Explorer into a lower-emissions vehicle with at least 25-percent
higher fuel economy, without sacrificing the performance and
other features. The technological gains were exemplified by
the University of Wisconsin team using mass reduction techniques
and hybridizing the power-train.
The other Ford Hybrid SUV worth mentioning is the Ford Escape
Hybrid. The small Escape Hybrid is an economical alternative
to other larger hybrid SUV's offered by other manufacturers
and sports an Atkinson cycle Duratec 2.3L 4-cylinder gasoline
engine, idle shut-off, regenerative braking and a 500-plus mile
range before refueling.
Ford has also developed the Mercury
Mariner Hybrid SUV, which is a slightly upscale
model of the Ford Escape Hybrid. The Mariner Hybrid SUV
has been endorsed by the Sierra Club and is currently being
promoted to the club's 300,000 members. The Mariner Hybrid
SUV is the second of five hybrid models that Ford intends
to bring to market within the next couple of years. The
third hybrid model, Ford says is a "future midsize
sedan" but is staying tight-lipped about the specifics.
No matter what, the current Ford Hybrid SUV models have
been brought forth with many accolades and endorsements.
It stands to reason that future Ford Hybrid SUV's will fare
as well or better and we all benefit from having many, varied
and greener models from which to choose.
There are several other Ford
hybrids rolling out within the next several years,
including the Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV, that are worth checking
out as well.