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

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)
RDN 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

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help Nanaimo’s new baseball team look picture-perfect

NightOwls announce partnership with Angela Waldick of Nightengales Photography

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

A person experiencing homelessness in downtown Nanaimo last week. (News Bulletin photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Change approach to combatting homelessness

Letter writers express frustration with status quo

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

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

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo councillors like new sustainable buying policy

Finance and audit committee recommends council approve new procurement policy

Danielle Groenendijk raised more than twice her goal for Parkinson Canada. (Photo submitted)
VIU volleyball athlete doubles fundraising goal for Parkinson’s

Daily runs over 30 days by Groenendijk add up to 254 kilometres

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Most Read