2020 Ford Escape Hybrid
Late final 12 months, a brand new hybrid model of the redesigned Toyota RAV4 improbably proved the enjoyable selection for the SUV. Its chief rival, the brand new Ford Escape Hybrid, may deserve the identical banner: It’s enjoyable to drive, fairly highly effective and almost as spacious because the non-hybrid Escape. Whether or not it’s as environment friendly as its Toyota rival stays to be seen, as official EPA mileage continues to be pending. But when Ford hits its goal, the Escape Hybrid ought to come near the hybrid RAV4.
Associated: 2020 Ford Escape Evaluate: Higher on the Large Stuff
In redesigning the Escape for 2020, Ford returned an Escape Hybrid to the lineup for the primary time since 2012. On the automaker’s Kentucky media preview, I drove hybrid and non-hybrid examples of the SUV, which go on sale within the fall of 2019. (Per our ethics coverage, Vehicles.com pays for its personal airfare and lodging at such automaker-sponsored occasions). A plug-in hybrid comes within the spring of 2020, however Ford didn’t furnish any examples to check.
I’ll deal with the Escape Hybrid right here, however you’ll be able to try our full tackle the non-hybrid Escape in a separate story.
The Escape Hybrid combines a non-turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two electrical motors that draw juice from a 1.1-kilowatt-hour battery below the ground. The mixture makes 200 hp whole, and the mix proved sprightly: Even with three adults aboard, a front-drive Escape Hybrid tackled reasonable inclines with energy to spare. Energy comes with minimal delay while you press the accelerator, and the SUV feels fairly punchy at full bore — nearer to the non-hybrid Escape’s turbo 2.Zero-liter engine than its base engine, a turbo 1.5-liter. Transitions between engine and electrical energy are seldom noticeable, and Ford says electrical propulsion is out there at speeds as excessive as 85 mph.
That stated, your expertise could differ, as my driving impressions got here utilizing 93-octane premium gas. Ford charges energy figures for the hybrid utilizing 87-octane common. David Bevan, a technical specialist for electrified powertrain calibrations, stated on the Kentucky occasion the Escape Hybrid would make extra energy on premium however declined to specify how a lot.
Like non-hybrid variants, the 2020 Escape Hybrid has gentle, exact steering. Our well-equipped take a look at automotive, which rode 19-inch wheels and P225/55R19 tires, exhibited good shock absorption however some busyness at freeway speeds. (Seventeen-inch wheels and higher-profile tires can be found on decrease trim ranges.) Attribute of the regenerative brakes in lots of hybrids, the Escape Hybrid has considerably bricklike pedal really feel, with robust resistance. It’s little worse than the grabby brakes within the non-hybrid Escape, nevertheless, and it’s extra forgivable right here.
EPA estimates for the Escape Hybrid are nonetheless pending, however Daniel Kok, Ford’s electrical powertrain supervisor for hybrids, stated the automaker targets 50 % higher mileage than the outgoing front-wheel-drive 1.5-liter Escape. That will imply round 39 mpg mixed with FWD, a determine that lands in RAV4 Hybrid territory. Toyota may nonetheless have bragging rights as soon as the numbers come, because the RAV4 Hybrid has normal AWD. The Escape Hybrid’s elective AWD provides round 150 kilos, which may knock down its EPA score.
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid
Similarities In any other case
For full particulars on the inside, see our assessment of the non-hybrid Escape. Its hybrid sibling loses slight room within the backseat and cargo space, however the format is in any other case the identical. Main normal options embrace computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, an Eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry with push-button begin, heated entrance seats and an influence driver’s seat. Pile on the choices and you may get lane-centering steering, dual-zone local weather management, a panoramic moonroof and leather-based upholstery with an influence passenger seat.
Options unavailable within the Escape embrace ventilated entrance seats, heated rear seats and a wi-fi smartphone charger. Ford says it’s including the charger later within the 2020 mannequin 12 months, together with two extra USB ports (for a complete of 4). All of that ought to roughly coincide with the spring 2020 launch of the Escape Plug-in Hybrid, officers advised me. Ford targets all-electric vary of greater than 30 miles for the plug-in hybrid, courtesy of a 14.Four-kwh battery pack. Such capability ought to qualify the Escape Plug-in Hybrid for one thing near the utmost federal tax credit score of $7,500, and Ford officers declare the automaker is nowhere near the gross sales quotas that might endanger such credit. Nonetheless, last EPA vary, tax credit and pricing for the Escape Plug-in Hybrid are unlikely to materialize till early within the 2020 calendar 12 months.
For now, the 2020 Escape Hybrid ranges from about $29,500 to only below $40,000 in case you add all manufacturing unit choices. That matches simply contained in the non-hybrid 2020 Escape (round $26,000 to $41,000) vary and lands roughly equal to the RAV4 Hybrid.
For its drivability and potential effectivity, the Escape Hybrid holds promise. However a lot of its attraction will rely upon last EPA numbers — in addition to the value of gasoline, which is comparatively low-cost as of this writing. Keep tuned.
Extra From Vehicles.com:
Vehicles.com’s Editorial division is your supply for automotive information and evaluations. According to Vehicles.com’s long-standing ethics coverage, editors and reviewers don’t settle for presents or free journeys from automakers. The Editorial division is impartial of Vehicles.com’s promoting, gross sales and sponsored content material departments.
Senior Shopper Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes high quality, reliability, security and practicality. However he additionally likes a good value. E-mail Kelsey