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2021 Ford Escape Hybrid – Road Test

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

It’s been a while since we drove an Escape Hybrid – 13 years to be exact! Partly it was because Ford discontinued the hybrid version, and partly because we never came away from the experience overly impressed. I just went back and re-read my article and it was less than complimentary (sorry Ford) about the interior plastics among other things. One thing is for sure, Ford has definitely improved enormously in the past few years when it comes to the plastics in most of their vehicles. 

I’m familiar with the latest Escape because my parents have one and I drive it regularly, but after a week with this hybrid – it’s quite different, in a good way…

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

What Is It?    

  • Mid-size Gas/Electric Hybrid CUV 
  • It’s well proportioned and sized, making it just about the perfect size for everyday use
  • SE and SEL trims – we’re driving the SEL model
  • Also available as a Plug In Hybrid (PHEV)
  • 2.5 L iVCT Atkinson-Cycle I4 Engine 
  • AWD
  • E-CVT Transmission
  • Eco, Normal and Sport along with Snow/Sand Assist and Slippery driving modes
  • 60 kms range in all-electric

Related: 2008 Escape Hybrid

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

How Does It Look?  

  • I’m quite torn with the look of the Escape – not sure if I like it or not, certainly don’t love it 
  • When I first saw the test vehicle I thought: Great it’s boring black…. But NO – it’s a nice navy blue, called Antimatter Blue, with lots of metallic in the paint. In the sun it’s quite fetching. 
  • 18″ machined-face aluminum wheels come standard

What’s It Like Inside?        

  • Interior layout is nice – everything is easy to understand and use at a quick glance – simple is always better!
  • The 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen comes with SYNC 3 that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto + FordPass Connect (Wi-Fi Hotspot)
  • The driver gets a very useful 12.3” digital instrument cluster that is customisable 
  • The seats look and feel like leather – but it isn’t! It’s called ActiveX, and to be honest I didn’t know it wasn’t leather until I read the details of the Escape. Kudos to Ford for using this vegan product
  • The front seats are very comfortable – these are possibly the most comfortable seats Ford have ever put in a vehicle that wasn’t a Lincoln. The moment my wife sat in the passenger seat, the first thing she said was: “wow this is comfy”
  • Heated – but not cooled 😦  
  • Both front seats get power lumbar adjustment 
  • Powered, 3-person memory for the driver seat
  • 4-Way manual passenger seat
  • Heated steering wheel
  • FordPass Connect – download the app onto your phone and turn it into a key or an information centre – very cool.
  • The optional B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen (10 Speakers, including Subwoofer) – superb as always. Ford outdid themselves by teaming up with B&O
  • However – every time I started the Escape, it lost connectivity with the USB I was using for music and I had to go searching for that input in the infotainment screen to play it! Grrr
  • Voice-activated touchscreen navigation system with pinch-to-zoom capability comes in the Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package
  • Panoramic Vista Roof (optional) is great for making the interior bright, but it also has a power shade – worth every penny
  • There’s plenty of knee and legroom for rear passengers with a virtually flat floor
  • Hands-free, foot-activated power liftgate – only works if the key is in your pocket
  • The cargo area offers plenty of space, one of the best features of the Escape’s size
  • The rear seats slide forward and aft, and split 64/40 offering even more room if it’s needed
  • Cargo volume behind first row – 65.4 cu.ft (1,852 L)
  • Cargo volume behind second row – 30.7 – 34.4 cu.ft (869.3-974 L)
  • Towing capacity: 1,500 lbs (680 kg) – Towing was not available in previous hybrid models, so that’s a nice bonus 

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?

  • Initially I stomped on the throttle to go around a very slow-moving dump truck and almost regretted it. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, oh here we go..
  • After that event, I never experienced it again – so perhaps that was just an anomaly, or maybe it was because I’d just returned the Mach-E and was expecting the enormous surge of torque that you get from electric vehicles
  • Steering is predictable and well balanced. Switching to Sport mode didn’t appear to improve it dramatically
  • Braking is superb – very easy to balance and doesn’t feel anything like the hybrids of old
  • Sport Mode is by far the most fun mode you can use in the hybrid, but I wish it didn’t have to be reset every time you turn the vehicle back on! Ford isn’t alone with this complaint. It’s 2021/22, why can’t I set my preference and it locks in – until I decide to change it?

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

Horsepower: 200 @ 6,250 rpm 
Torque:  155 @ 4, 500 rpm 
Top Speed:  N/A
0-100 km (sec): 8.9
0-60 mph (sec): 8.7


What Does It Cost? For up-to-date pricing and options visit: www.Ford.ca 

To Buy… 
Base Price: SEL – $36,749
As Tested: $42,799
Options Included on test vehicle ($6,050) 
Panoramic Vista Roof – $1,750
Cargo area protector / floor liners, front and rear – $250
CLASS II trailer tow package – $600
Co-Pilot360 Assist+ / Adaptive Cruise Control w/Stop’N’Go – $850
Technology Package – $2,500 (Power liftgate w/Hands free / B&O sound system / Memory package (Driver’s Seat & Sideview Mirrors) / Wireless charging pad)

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

To Operate…

  • Rated at (L/100 km):  City – 5.5 / Highway – 6.4 / Combined – 5.9
  • Annual cost to operate (Transport Canada – 20,000 kms): $1,475
  • We averaged a very impressive 6.8 L/100 kms in and around town/city – impressive ‘cause we were really stomping on the gas pedal
  • On longer distances on the highway – 6.0 L/100 kms

    Warranty:

    • Basic: 3 years/60,000 km
    • Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km
    • Roadside Assistance: 5 years /100,000 km

    Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

    The Competition – Hybrid CUV’s
    Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota RAV4

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    • The Good: Outstanding fuel economy, very comfortable, good price
    • The Bad: Defaults to Normal drive mode every time you start it – what if I wanted Eco, or Sport – WHY can’t it lock in to what I want?
    • The Ugly: Nothing

    Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

    What’s The Verdict?  
    When I was offered the Escape Hybrid for a test, I thought why not, haven’t driven one in ages so I’ll give it a go. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d love this vehicle! I like my parents’ 2020 version, but this one I actually WANTED to drive, and I enjoyed driving it every time I jumped behind the wheel. I can’t stress this enough – the driver’s seat is extremely comfortable… and it’s actually fun to drive. I’ve driven plenty of Ford Escapes over the years, but this is the first one I’d actually spend my money on

    Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

    Safety Features:
    Ford Co-Pilot360+ (See Ford.ca for complete details and small-print).  Features include:

    • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking
    • Autonomous Drive Active Lane Control (Level 2)
    • BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert
    • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop and Go and Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition
    • Evasive Steering Assist
    • Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with Pinch-to-Zoom Capability
    • Rear View Camera
    • Reverse Sensing System
    • Post-Collision Braking
    • FordPass Connect
    • Heated steering wheel
    • Intelligent access
    • Lane keeping system
    • Remote keyless entry/keypad

    Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org


    Copyright © 2022 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
    Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland

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