When Ford launched the unique Escape Hybrid again in 2005, it claimed the title of world’s first hybrid SUV. And whereas the gasoline-electric Escape discovered many completely happy houses — together with New York’s taxi fleet — it did not final for lengthy. The third-generation Escape debuted with out an electrified choice. But now, that hybrid hiatus is coming to an finish.The 2020 Ford Escape affords not one, however two hybrid powertrains. Are they price contemplating over the usual, gas-only Escape? I hit the roads of Kentucky to seek out out.
Mild hybrid now, plug-in hybrid laterOnly one Escape Hybrid can be out there proper at launch. It makes use of a mild-hybrid drivetrain constructed round a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine and an 88-kilowatt electrical motor. Together they produce a internet system output of 200 horsepower, that may be routed to both the entrance or all 4 wheels by way of a repeatedly variable transmission.Powering the electrical motor is a liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery pack that Ford says is a couple of third of the dimensions of the one discovered within the earlier Escape Hybrid. The extra compact dimensions permit engineers to mount it within the flooring beneath the rear seats, in order to not intrude into the Escape’s 37.5 cubic ft of cargo area. Folding the second row of seats expands that space to a beneficiant 60.8 cubic ft.Most importantly, the hybrid powertrain affords actual effectivity positive aspects. Official EPA gasoline economic system numbers aren’t finalized but, however some extrapolating is feasible. Ford claims it is focusing on an EPA-estimated driving vary of greater than 550 miles with front-wheel-drive. A gander on the spec sheet reveals the Escape Hybrid carries a 14.2 gallon gasoline tank, which means a freeway gasoline economic system ranking of roughly 39 miles per gallon is theoretically doable. That’s definitely an enchancment over the bottom, 1.5-liter I3 engine’s 33-mpg ranking. 
The Escape Hybrid’s key opponents would be the lately introduced Honda CR-V Hybrid and the already-on-sale Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. In the ability division, each of the Japanese choices outmuscle the Escape, with the Honda making 212 horsepower and the RAV4 making 2019. Honda hasn’t launched gasoline economic system for the CR-V as of this writing, however the RAV4 Hybrid places up some fairly aggressive numbers: 41 mpg metropolis, 38 mpg freeway. The Toyota has barely extra cargo area with the again seats folded down, too.The second piece of Ford’s two-part Escape Hybrid story will arrive subsequent spring, when a plug-in mannequin joins the lineup. It, too, will use a 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle I4, however can be front-wheel drive solely. Ford is aiming for this Escape Hybrid to have no less than 30 miles of all-electric driving vary. No doubt we’ll study extra concerning the plug-in as we get nearer to its launch. Smooth, stable and a bit of enjoyableThe Escape Hybrid’s drivetrain is properly refined, with near-seamless engine refires when switching between gasoline and electrical energy. If you are not in a rush, you may speed up solely on electrical energy with mild throttle inputs at low speeds. Ford says you may cruise on electrical energy alone at speeds as much as 85 miles per hour.Power itself is sufficient when utilizing the automotive’s default Normal drive mode, however Sport is my most well-liked setting for its faster giddy-up. The CVT’s simulated gear shifts are fairly snappy, too. You can have some enjoyable with the 200-horsepower hybrid powertrain.
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The Escape Hybrid is surefooted whereas cornering, with a wonderful trip high quality even on my Titanium tester’s massive, 19-inch wheels and 225/35-series tires. The 3,554-pound SUV’s physique roll is saved in verify and the regenerative brakes provide nice modulation skills. The one factor on my want listing is extra responsive off-center steering really feel for sharper turn-in response. Even with that quibble, the Escape Hybrid is a dynamically superior machine to the RAV4 Hybrid so far as on-road dynamics are involved.Like its fuel counterpart, the Escape Hybrid actually excels throughout common commuting. Normal mode gives lighter steering and the suspension does wonderful work absorbing impacts from ruts. When factoring within the quiet cabin, the Escape is a small SUV that can make a incredible day by day driver.Slick seems to be, slick techVisually, there’s not a lot setting the Escape Hybrid aside from the gas-only fashions. Minus a small “Hybrid” badge on the liftgate, the slippery exterior form is similar, with the tapering roofline and so-called “Mustang-inspired” grille. If you go for the SE Sport Hybrid, you do get a barely stealthier look with black wheels, trim molding and grille accents.Minus a hybrid badge, the Escape Hybrid seems to be similar to its full fuel brethren.
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The Escape’s cabin carries over, as nicely. Besides some hybrid-specific readouts within the instrument cluster and heart display screen, it is all the identical. There’s loads of area in entrance, and the again seats slide fore and aft to higher accommodate taller passengers. All of the car’s controls are massive, clearly marked and intuitively positioned. Build high quality is phenomenal, and supplies are on par with each different small crossover out now. The solely cabin knock entails the flat entrance seats which can be in dire want of beefed-up aspect bolsters. With the mild-hybrid drivetrain coming normal on SE Sport Hybrid and Titanium trims, it packs a heavy dose of tech. Sync 3 quarterbacks infotainment with an 8-inch touchscreen, that includes a Wi-Fi hotspot for as much as 10 units, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Waze integration. Every hybrid Escape additionally will get a 12.8-inch digital instrument cluster, whereas the Titanium provides a typical 10-speaker B&O audio system.For security, ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning with lane-keep help, post-collision braking and auto excessive beams are normal on the Escape hybrids. Adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance, energetic parking help and a head-up show are supplied as choices.The spacious, well-built cabin from the fuel Escape carries over into the hybrid mannequin, too.
A greener EscapeThe 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid begins at $28,255, not together with $1,195 for vacation spot, for the SE Sport mannequin, whereas the top-of-the-line Titanium begins at $33,400. In each instances, all-wheel-drive tacks on $1,500 to the underside line. Pricing for the upcoming plug-in hybrid mannequin has but to be introduced.The Escape faces robust competitors from the aforementioned Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, however with its refined powertrain, nice driving dynamics and big loadout of tech, it is nicely positioned to be a prime contender.Editors’ be aware: Travel prices associated to this characteristic have been coated by the producer. This is frequent within the auto business, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers in an effort to present scored editorial critiques, all scored car critiques are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial group are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material. 

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