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

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, Seed and Stone’s development agent, holds products from the Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Darrel McLeod won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2018 for his first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. His newly-released memoir, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, follows as a sequel. (Black Press Media file)
Critically acclaimed Sooke author releases new memoir

Peyakow follows as a sequel to Darrel McLeod’s first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

RCMP have appealed to the public for help identifying the man. (Black Press Media file image)
Police, dog unit called after man exposed himself at West Shore elementary school

West Shore RCMP credits students, aged 11 and 5, for seeking help

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton ready to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to authorize legal action

Most Read