Ford Escape will be America's cheapest plug-in hybrid SUV
For 2020, Ford has made its small SUV more efficient than ever. The Escape offers gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrain options. All of those powertrains are expected to reach over 400 miles per tank, with the hybrid expected to make that 550 miles. If those numbers are confirmed, the Escape will soundly lead the segment.
The plug-in hybrid is set to start at around $34,235, which will make it the most affordable plug-in hybrid SUV on sale in the US. That will make it over $3,000 less than the incumbent, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. While it will be more expensive than plug-in hatchbacks, it will offer far more luggage space and rear-seat room. However, Toyota plans to launch a RAV4 Prime plug-in small SUV, with big promises for performance, next year. It might be a good idea to wait for that segment.
The Escape will come standard loaded with safety features like blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection, automatic braking, and advanced anti-theft systems. As a standard for all the lineup, it's powered by a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine coupled to an automatic transmission and can be FWD or AWD. For $28,300, the SE adds heated front seats, a SYNC 3 infotainment touchscreen, which features Enhanced Voice Recognition Communications.
The SE sport, $29,460, has only a 2.5-liter inline-four hybrid. For $36,815, the SEL adds a hands-free liftgate, remote start, and reverse sensors. The Titanium is top-of the line, starting at $40,030, offering a 2.0-liter EcoBoost, as well as the same hybrid. It has a full suite of driver-assistance features, as well as luxury equipment like a Bang & Olufsen audio system and a head-up display.
The plug-in-hybrid will be available on every trim level. Chief Designer Jim Hughes said that he was "proud to be adding to the legacy [of the Escape] with new hybrid and plug-in hybrid options." He also added that the designers were "targeting more than 30 miles of electric-only driving range – enough to handle the daily commute for a lot of drivers."
Perhaps the biggest change, though, for the fourth generation is the styling. Chief Designer George Bucher emphasized the importance of aerodynamic efficiency in the design, but said that it featured "a more humanistic design language here that will resonate [with] our customers." It's sleek and aerodynamic, and certainly the most striking Escape yet.