The completely redesigned new 2020 Escape best offers four new propulsion choices – including two all-new hybrids. PHOTO: FORD

The completely redesigned new 2020 Escape best offers four new propulsion choices – including two all-new hybrids. PHOTO: FORD

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid: So, what’s a nice car like this doing in a group of compact utility vehicles?

Escape and Escape Hybrid have been redesigned for the 2020 model year

The photo on Ford’s website speaks volumes about the Ford Escape’s mission.

It shows a couple of clean-cut types enjoying their lattes while seated on the cargo floor of a shiny new Escape with the hatchback open. They’re parked beside a shimmering lake where another in their gang is quietly fishing beside a kayak.

The image is the very essence of peace and tranquility as opposed the frenetic rock-crawling and sand-spraying scenes that Ford uses to market the rugged-looking 2021 Ford Bronco and the Bronco Sport.

The current Escape and Escape Hybrid, redesigned for the 2020 model year, are much different than the previous versions. The styling has not one crease or right angle. Instead, it’s all curvy shapes from front to back.

The 2020 Escape standard hybrid targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles; the plug-in hybrid targets a best-in-class EPA-estimated pure-electric range of 30+ miles. PHOTO: FORD

The 2020 Escape standard hybrid targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles; the plug-in hybrid targets a best-in-class EPA-estimated pure-electric range of 30+ miles. PHOTO: FORD

The new model is about six centimetres longer, about five centimetres wider and there’s a modest increase in distance between the front and rear wheels. Owing to the new Escape’s lower profile, body height is reduced by five-plus centimetres, while maximum cargo volume gains enough room for a few extra grocery bags.

The trendy interior and controls include a rotary dial that replaces the traditional shift lever, and a touch-screen that sticks out atop the dashboard. Drivers can reconfigure the available 12.3-inch electronic gauge and info cluster according personal preferences.

The rear seat can be adjusted fore and aft for more legroom, or folded flat. The seat-adjustment feature is only available in Escapes with gasoline engines and is not offered in the hybrid model.

The Hybrid — the first such Escape since the 2012 model year — is equipped with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and two electric motors to produce a net 198 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. The motors are kept whirring by a lithium-ion battery pack, which is smaller by two-thirds when compared to that of the previous Escape Hybrid.

A continuously variable transmission directs output to the front wheels with all-wheel-drive as an option.

The Hybrid’s fuel consumption is rated at 5.4 l/100 km in the city, 6.3 on the highway and 5.8 combined. That compares with 8.6/7.1/7.9 for the base gasoline-powered Escape.

By contrast, the new-for-2021 Escape Hybrid plug-in makes 221 horsepower and can travel up to 60 kilometres on battery power before the gasoline engine engages.

The plug-in model costs about $4,800 more than the $34,650 Hybrid, a price that includes destination charges. All-wheel-drive is not available with the plug-in.

Two obvious changes to the 2020 Escape’s interior include a touch-screen that juts out of the dash, and a shift dial for the transmission. PHOTO: FORD

Two obvious changes to the 2020 Escape’s interior include a touch-screen that juts out of the dash, and a shift dial for the transmission. PHOTO: FORD

As with most hybrids, only the illumination of the dashboard gauges lets you know that the Escape is ready to roll. Other than a distant electric-motor whine, there’s mostly silence once under way. When gaining speed, only a muffled exhaust sound advises that the internal-combustion engine is running. At that point, you’ll likely forget that you’re riding in an electrified vehicle.

Note that the brake pedal feels more sensitive when slowing down as it converts kinetic energy into electrical energy to help replenish the battery pack.

The Escape Hybrid’s suspension is clearly tuned for a cushy ride and the absence of extra ground clearance means the available AWD system should stand for All Weather Drive.

The base Escape SE Hybrid comes with the usual conveniences, but ordering the premium package gets you Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 safety tech that includes autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and pedestrian detection. The optional Titanium trim comes with a navigation system, power front seats, premium audio and a system that will parallel or angle park the Escape for you.

Clearly, the Escape is well tailored to urban duty where the top priorities are comfort and staying safe in traffic. The Hybrid adds fuel savings and smooth, quiet power delivery to the package. That will also come in handy for sneaking up on placid lakes to sip lattes and fish with friends.

The only reason to move the rear seat forward — to give up leg room — is to make some extra space for cargo. This feature is not available with the hybrid models. PHOTO: FORD

The only reason to move the rear seat forward — to give up leg room — is to make some extra space for cargo. This feature is not available with the hybrid models. PHOTO: FORD

What you should know: 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid

Type: Front- /all-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle

Engine (h.p.): 2.5-litre I-4 with electric motors (198/221)

Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT)

Market position: Following a long absence, Ford has reintroduced a gasoline-electric power system to the Escape. It’s a smart move given the popularity of competitors such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Points: New body styling is more car-like than utility vehicle in appearance. • Hybrid unit makes respectable power. • Interior provides sufficient space for rear-seat passengers and is also reasonably quiet. • Possibly the better financial choice than the front-wheel-drive-only plug-in hybrid model that costs about $4,800 more.

Driver assistBlind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (opt.); inattentive driver alert (opt.); lane departure warning (opt.); pedestrian detection (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 5.4/6.3 (FWD); Base price (incl. destination) $34,650

BY COMPARISON

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

  • Base price: $47,450
  • A lively performer that makes a combined 219-h.p. No optional plug-in model.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

  • Base price: $44,800
  • Plug-in only model can run on electric power for 14 miles at up to 65 mph.

Kia Niro Hybrid FWD

  • Base price: $28,750
  • Compact wagon’s 139-h.p system gets great mileage. Plug-in and EV are opt.

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Automotivecars

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

Langford and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance are partnering to provide local businesses with one-year Island Good memberships. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance)
Langford offering local businesses free Island Good membership

Island Good label helps consumers identify local products

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Most Read