Saturday, September 25, 2021
News 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review: The Better Escape

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review: The Better Escape

The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid does without the base model’s terrible 3-cylinder, delivers impressive fuel efficiency and equipment.

  • Base price for a Ford Escape Hybrid is $36,649 in Canada, $26,265 in the US.

  • In Canada, the Escape Hybrid is only offered in Titanium trim.

  • This Escape is about efficiency with little to no compromises. 

I was not kind to the 3-cylinder-powered 2020 Ford Escape I reviewed late last year. While it did have many pros, I could not accept the base engine’s intrusive vibrations and noise. This is why I booked an Escape Hybrid for review and I’m glad I did.

2020 Ford Escape Review: Three Is Nearly Misery

There are no two ways about it: The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid is the best version of the Escape’s lineup, period. I’ve not driven the new SUV with the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine however I know that it is quite potent. As for the PHEV version, offered only as a front-wheel-drive vehicle in order to save weight and improve on efficiency, it’s a complete miss, in my opinion.

Hybrid makes more sense

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, available only in Titanium trim in Canada and priced from $36,649 ($38,159 with AWD), is actually less expensive than the 2.0-litre EcoBoost Escape Titanium. Equipment-wise, they are nearly identical and in the real world, the EcoBoost’s 250 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque (on 93-octane fuel) change little, if only fuel consumption.

In all seriousness, with its Atkinson cycle 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, 88 kW electric motor as part of the eCVT, and 1.4 kWh battery, the Escape Hybrid is plenty powerful for any driving situation. Case in point: I successfully navigated Toronto traffic (left Montreal and drove to and from on the same day) with the Hybrid’s 200 horsepower system output. The electric motor made short work of necessary passing maneuvers on the 401, especially with the Sport drive mode dialed in.

Always pleasant road manners

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

My 1,200 km (745 miles) day trip returned an average of 6.9L/100 km or 34 mpg. Considering that a hybrid vehicle typically performs better in the city than on the highway, the Escape’s real-world numbers are quite good and this, with an average highway speed above 115 km/h or 71 mph. It is officially rated at 5.5/6.4L/100km (43/37 mpg) city/highway which means that mixed driving circumstances will return sub-6L/100 km or 40 mpg.

On the long road between Montreal and Toronto, I was reacquainted with the Escape’s lovely driving manners. The platform is unphased by the near 200 lb. penalty that comes from the hybrid’s components and as such, ride quality remains excellent. The chassis is tuned for an appreciable balance between comfort and handling. As well, refinement levels are impressive and vibe well with excellent brake pedal response and ideally-assisted steering. Frankly, the Escape Hybrid turned out to be a far better road-trip partner than expected.

Loaded and spacious

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

As Ford compact/midsize car replacement, the Escape’s cabin is welcoming, comfortable and relatively straight-forward. In fact, I can narrow my list of complaints to the rotary dial shifter which is a thorn in my side when performing a three-point turn and the seats. Now, to be honest, the seats are supportive however after six straight hours of driving, the included power lumbar support falls short…

Otherwise, there’s plenty of room for one and all, and the large boot, un-touched size-wise by the hybrid’s components, is still quite capacious. Included with the Titanium Hybrid are leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, 8-inch screen, SYNC3 with navigation, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, wireless charger B&O audio system, as well as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

Avoid option package

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

My tester featured the Rapid Red paint type ($450) and Titanium Premium Package, a $2,350 option, which includes a pop-up screen head-up display and panoramic sunroof – this is money absolutely wasted. With AWD and the package, total pricing was $40,949. In the US, the exact model retails for $37,545.

Without the package, the $38,599 price tag makes the Hybrid Titanium far more interesting. It’s well equipped, more than agreeable to drive, efficient, and spacious. To reiterate, this is the most compelling version of the new 2020 Escape anyone should ever consider.

The arch-nemesis

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The Escape Hybrid’s main competition comes from the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Its advantages are fairly numerous including a far lower base price at $32,350 with AWD in Canada. In fact, here, all RAV4 Hybrids are AWD which makes the XLE, at $35,350, a better deal than the FWD 2020 Escape Titanium Hybrid. The closest model to my tester is the XSE with the Technology package at $41,570. Also, in a word, the Toyota is far more physically attractive too.

Against the Toyota RAV4, the Escape will always be a bride’s maid and never a bride. And there’s really no point in comparing both PHEV versions… although we did.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime vs 2020 Ford Escape PHEV Spec Comparison

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai



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