Not guilt-free, actually, but guilt-reduced. The Ford Escape Hybrid is a hybrid SUV that runs on electricity at low speeds. It apparently does 36 mpg in the city, and up to 48 mpg on the highway. I know nothing about miles-per-gallon, but apparently that’s admirable for an SUV (the conventional Escape apparently does 18/23). Here’s a review:
Not only is Escape the first hybrid SUV, it’s also the first hybrid 4WD. I took the Escape Hybrid 4WD up a steep off-road track, and was quite impressed. The Intelligent 4WD System kept the SUV stable, with very little wheelspin as it found traction. Going downhill was a bit more unusualâ€” the only sounds coming from the vehicle were the gravel crunching under the wheels and the fans cooling the batteries. The gas engine was unneeded so it had shut offâ€”of course that meant engine braking on the steep downhill was not a possibility.
Apparently it’s priced about CAN $5000 above the conventional model, but you can get a provincial tax credit of CAN $1000 and save much of the rest in reduced fuel bills. For financial and environmental reasons, I’ve never bought a new car. If and when I do, it will ideally be an electric car but will at least be a hybrid. It certainly will not be an SUV.
If you must buy a new car, and if it must be an SUV, why not buy one that’s more responsible than the average behemoth?