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A BETTER WAY TO ESCAPE: 2021 FORD ESCAPE PLUG-IN HYBRID

As going electric becomes the new rage, some may still be a little skeptical of the range anxiety limitations that follow. It’s Plug-In Hybrids like this 2021 Ford Escape that make it an ideal steppingstone into the new age of technology. And now that the Ford C-Max hatchback has seen its final production days, Ford is left with a hybrid & plug-in hybrid gap to fill – the new Escape is the ideal crossover to fill that missing hole.  

With two gasoline engine options waving their hands as a more performance-oriented mover, the plug-in hybrid is the preferred path to take when going down the trim options. Acceleration to 60-mph isn’t necessarily a strong argument against our plug-in hybrids 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and Atkinson-Cycle electric motor being slower than both the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines at nearly 9.0-seconds to 60-mph. But what it lacks in performance makes up for the unique behavior behind this electrified powertrain.

Adding electrified power means the weight of the vehicle increases – this is a good thing. With the battery packs located at the rear of the vehicle there begins to be a civilized balance and substance to the Escape that feels natural. Despite the steering inputs providing a numb sensation, the chassis feels more refine than the standard gasoline counterparts. The ride has a more competent flow with comfortable balance and even the brake pedal feels normal, unlike some other hybrids on the market.

Having the best of both electric and gas worlds maximizes the urge to charge up whenever possible, almost as if its game. The Escape Plug-In can obtain just over 30-miles of range from a single charge with a 400-mile fuel tank on reserve for that extended period of drive. Utilizing our test subject in real world applications with weekday commuting and weekend errand running – we managed to utilize 75% of that time on electricity having averaged 103.1-MPGe. To charge the Escape takes a fair amount of time if using a 110v outlet as it requires just under 12-hours (just enough to charge overnight); however, using a 220v outlet or Level 2 charging station and that time is reduced significantly requiring under 3-hours to charge from empty.

In the crossover segment, the plug-in hybrid carries a rather small circle of competition with the Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-In and Kia Nero Plug-In Hybrid. However, amongst the three, the RAV4 Plug-In is the only one that comes equipped with all-wheel drive, all while the Kia and Ford Escape Plug-In are only available in front-wheel drive platforms. The Ford Escape Plug-In is also one of the least expensive routes within the three alternatives starting at $33,075 for the SE Plug-In Hybrid. The Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-In comes in as one of most expensive starting under $40,000; whereas the Escape wrapped in its top tiered Titanium badge starts at $38,885. But even its Titanium badge with its tech savvy 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster can’t distract us from some of the cheap materials that are used throughout the cabin – like the unattractive light-colored wood on the dash. 

In terms of interior space and comfort, the Escape sits more so in the middle of the Kia Nero and Toyota RAV4. The cargo area is spacious enough, but wished they added an extra inch or two in the design. For a smaller sized individual, the interior comfort is most likely more forgiving – given the staffers full figure body shape, the seats felt flat and unsupportive. Our Titanium was also handsomely equipped with all the latest in safety and convenient technology from the crash avoidance technology to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Far removed from its original roots, the Ford Escape fits well into the new urban lifestyle. Being comfortably sized as well as priced makes it the best of all worlds when looking to go the extra mile while saving some bills at the pumps.

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle: 2021 Ford Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid
Base Price: $33,075
As-Tested Price: $43,025

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 2.5-liter Four-Cylinder & Electric Motor Hybrid
Horsepower | Torque: 220-Combined Horsepower | 155-Combined lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Drivetrain: Front-Wheel Drive
MPG: 40 | 105MPGe (Gas MPG |Gas & Electric Combined MPGe)
As-Tested MPG: 103.1-MPGe-Combined
Fuel Range: 415 miles
0-60 MPH: ±9.0 seconds

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