2021 Ford Escape PHEV
There is no secret that Ford’s expansion into electric vehicles is stirring up a lot of interest. The Mustang Mach-E will soon be joined by the F-150 Lighting and the e-Transit van.
However, we also have seen Ford expand their hybrid and plug-in hybrid lineups, as well. Case in point is the Ford Escape. It is the only Ford model to offer both drivelines for their customers.
We were fortunate to receive the new Escape Plug-in Hybrid to check out for you. It is one of a few plug-in hybrid compact SUVs available today. The question remains whether this is your choice of a plug-in hybrid in its class or not. Also, is this the right driveline to choose for your Ford Escape?
The one thing Ford did was to not distinguish their plug-in hybrid Escape from the rest of its lineup. It remains a very mainstream design even with its character line dividing the lower and upper parts of its exterior. Up front, the line divides the lower half with a large grille. The headlights are mounted above the character line. There are plenty of rounded edge on both sides of this distinguishing line. It all ends with horizontal taillights and a sleeker roofline meeting this line.
Our tester is the top-of-the-line Titanium trim level. This model adds a chromed grille, some broght trim, and a set of 18-inch aluminum wheels.
The dashboard features a full 12.3-inch TFT digital instrument cluster starting with a landscape screen onto a blue background with two round instruments. Both round “dials” seem to be confusing, including the power information between the gas engine and the electric motor. There is a set of information screens in-between the two “dials.”
The SYNC3 infotainment system resides on a tablet-like screen on top of the center stack. Below it is the climate controls and some knobs for the audio system. The Escape receives Ford’s rotary shifter, which saves enough space for two cupholders and plenty of storage spaces. The controls on the stalks, steering wheel, and in the center stack offer plenty of logic for drivers to control.
Seating for five is possible. Up front are some decently comfortable seats wrapped in a leather-like two-tone upholstery. There is some support, but not a lot of bolstering to lock you in. Rear seat space is quite good with plenty of headroom for taller people. Legroom is ample, as well. The rear seats do fold down to provide more cargo space – up to 60.8 cubic feet.
The plug-in hybrid driveline starts with the 2.5-liter Atkinson-Cycle four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. In all, this system puts out a total of 221 horsepower. The gasoline engine and electric motor is connected to a continuously variable transmission driving only the front wheels. Overall performance was smooth with responsive acceleration all around. It was smooth and relatively quiet at highway speeds.
Initially, the electric motor runs the Escape PHEV when the battery is charged. Ford claims it can go up to 37 from a fully-charged battery. However, we were able to muster only 10 miles from a battery charged at 44% capacity. We test in a colder climate, which will alter actual testing in other places around the country. Overall, we experienced an average fuel consumption rating of…
The ride quality was actually very good. The suspension managed the bumps from the road very well. Cornering response was controlled, but within a lower limit. The Escape PHEV did well in tight maneuvers and on winter surfaces.
The steering works well and offers tight turns. The on-center feel was solid. We were impressed with the brakes and its stopping power. Pedal feel is good with the system providing solid stops.
Our 2021 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Titanium model came with a sticker price of $43,025. You can get the plug-in hybrid in three trim levels – SE, SEL, and Titanium. The entire 2022 Ford Escape lineup starts at $26,010, with plug-in models priced from $33,540.
While the Escape is firmly a part of a very competitive segment, the plug-in hybrid is just another way to distinguish itself from the pack. The Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson already offer PHEV versions. In the next twelve months, they will soon be joined by the upcoming 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV and 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. You can also add the Jeep Wrangler 4xe in the mix among plug-in hybrid SUVs around the same size as the Escape.
While the Ford Escape offers a solid package with distinctive styling, it is the PHEV that will help you get a footing onto the plug-in world. Consider one for a step into the future.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors