Don’t Blame It On All The SUVs …

I was stopped at a red light this week, behind the wheel of a kiwi green 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid … the most fuel-efficient SUV currently for sale in the United States. The Saab 9-5 idling at the light in front of me was sporting a holier-then-thou anti-SUV bumper sticker. I can’t recall the exact phrasing of the bumper sticker, but it was strongly worded.

With the Escape Hybrid’s gasoline engine at rest, it was perfectly silent inside the cabin. I pondered the absurdity of the situation for a few moments.

When the light turned green, I crept through the intersection under electric propulsion, as I focused on the fact … we can’t blame this mess on all the SUVs … for not all SUVs were created equally.

There’s a far cry between the most fuel efficient SUVs, like the Escape Hybrid, and the unapologetically gas guzzling behemoths. (I won’t name names … you know who they are.)

The Saab driver may never know this, but I was in the midst of driving an in-town loop. As it turns out, the front-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid’s city mileage figures, which are officially estimated at 34 miles per gallon (MPG), can be easily exceeded with a prudent right foot.

With careful driving in-town, my front-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid review unit scored as high as 40 MPG on average. A number of uphill segments eventually dragged the city mileage down to 38 MPG over an hour’s worth of driving. That’s not too shabby.

38 MPG city average … in a SUV.

That’s roughly twice the Saab 9-5’s city mileage estimate.

Come to think of it, I’ve yet to encounter an anti-Saab bumper sticker.

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