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

Just Posted

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Sandra Krauer, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Barb Hoolaeff were in Skaha Park to announce the return of Ribfest for September, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Ribfest returns to Penticton

Festival runs from Sept. 17 - 19 at Skaha Lake Park with proceeds going to new splash park

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Most Read