Hybrid SUV Review - 2006 ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid SUV Review - 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hybrid SUV Review - 2006

There are four SUV hybrids available today; the Lexus RX 400h, Toyota Highlander, Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner.

Prices range from around $25,000 up to the mid $40's. The Ford Escape Hybrid comes in at the lowest price, and may have a $1000 rebate available. The Lexus RX 400h is a luxury vehicle and you will have to pay for that luxury. The Mercury Mariner is the luxury version of the Escape and you will pay a few thousand more for it, putting it in the low 30's which is comparable to the most popular SUV hybrid, the Highlander.

Power-wise, the Highlander and RX 400h have 168 hp @ 5600 rpm with a V6, while the Escape and Mariner come in at 155 hp @ 6000 rpm with only 4 cylinders. That extra hp gives you extra torque (212 ft-lbs @4400 rpm vs 12 ft-lbs 4250 rpm). All four SUVs are full hybrids with nickel-metal hydride batteries with regenerative braking. Power is supplied by both the electric and the gas motor. At low speeds and when stopped, the electric motor takes over. But when accelerating quickly or in high speed situations, the gas motor gives most of the oomph, although it will be supplemented by the electric motor.

The Ford Escape has the best mpg rating from the EPA with 36/31 City/Highway. The Mariner gets 33/29, and the RX 400h and Highlander get 33/28 each. But the Highlander and RX 400h have larger fuel tank sizes (17.2 gal) vs the Escape and Mariner (15 gal) which translates into being able to travel further between fill-ups.

The Escape, Mariner and RX 400h each have 5 seats, with 2 bucket seats in front. The Highlander comes with a third row giving it 7 seats, with the front two being captains chairs. The rear seats are all split folding benches. They each have plenty of cupholders and front power outlets (becoming a necessity with all the rechargeable items these days). The Lexus RX 400h also has power outlets in the rear and the cargo area. And while all four have air conditioning, only the RX 400h has automatic dual climate control. Also, both the Highlander and the RX 400h have interior air filtration.

All four come with 4-wheel ABS, but the Lexus has (standard) traction and stability control. They all have de-powered air bags. Side and head air bags are optional on the Escape and Mariner, while they come standard on the RX 400h and Highlander.

The Escape and the Mariner both have (optional) rear parking sensors. They all have an audio system, but as you would expect, the luxury vehicles get the better standard equipment as well as more speakers. Also, the RX 400h comes standard with the DVD navigation system. Optional CD nav systems are available for the Escape and Mariner.

The RX 400h and Highlander have a slight advantage in turning radius. The Lexus 400h is also longer than the others (by about a foot), while the Escape and Mariner have the better ground clearance (8.4 vs 6.9 inches). You should feel like there's plenty of room in the interior for all of them. But the RX 400h has the most cargo space (by over 10 cu ft), while the Highlander pays for it's third row seating with the least cargo space. The Lexus weighs in at over 4900 lbs, while the Highlander comes in over 4000 lbs. The Mariner and Escape are above 3700 and 3600 lbs, respectively.

The Lexus 400h may come in at a premium price, but you'll get all the extras standard as well. These extras include an overhead console, universal remote transmitter, extra outlets, cargo nets, a 40-20-40 bench (instead of the normal 40-60), leather seats that are heated, traction and stability control, extra safety features, memorized seatings, etc...

The Toyota Highlander hybrid is the most popular hybrid SUV on the road today. It handles great and has the extra seating (although it pays for that with less storage area). It has a big engine with great mileage.

The Ford Escape hybrid and the Mercury Mariner hybrid are the same car with different options. The Mariner being the luxury model for the Escape. Both get great mileage and handle great. They both suffer(in sales) from the Ford reputation, but not as standalones.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments posted on Hybrid Car Review will be moderated. Please avoid dropping links just for the sake of links. The comment will be deleted shortly after. Keep comments on topic and non-abusive. Thanks!

Automotive Parts

E-Bay Motors


  © Link to Privacy Policy

Back to TOP