2021 Ford Escape FWD Plug-in Hybrid Titanium new car reviews

Photography Courtesy Ford

Need a plug-in hybrid SUV? Here’s a possible answer.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Let’s pretend that a plug-in hybrid works for you. You can use it as an EV for those short trips but like the ability to go far without needing to plug in.

And you need an SUV.

Whatcha buying? If shopping on price, you’ll likely wind up checking out the Escape Plug-In Hybrid. So, what’s it like.

First impression: It looks good as the Escape has matured from something rather utilitarian (hello, New York City cab) to something rather stylish. And in today’s world of Kias and Hyundais, yeah, you need to look good.

Once inside, the seats. The bottoms felt too short for me, so the experience was akin to sitting on a kid’s bench. More/better seats, please.

Also, color me a not a fan of the knob shifter. While it’s out of the way and better than some other options–like buttons–it’s feels weird. How about a standard shifter?

Low-speed response–like when pulling out of a parking space–feels a little jerky, though. I’d like a bit more torque converter effect.

Otherwise, it’s fine for a people-mover. It’s just not something that going to excite me, but it’s good for getting from here to there. It’s about the right size for an SUV, and performance is just fine–it’s just not exciting.

Let’s talk money. Ford sent over the top-of-the-line Titanium Plug-In Hybrid–MSRP starts at $39,185–but let’s back up for a second as the Escape lineup now includes 10 different flavors. To keep things kind of close, how about if we just look at the starting prices for the SE models.

  • Escape SE: $27,845, 30 mpg combined
  • Escape SE Hybrid: $27,170, 40 mpg combined
  • Escape SE Plug-In Hybrid: $33,940, 105 MPGe (gas and electric) or 40 mpg on gas.

The EPA adds that the plug-in hybrid will go 37 miles on electric. If your daily commute is about, say 15 miles each way, could this be a way to have an EV that can also handle a long drive without charging stops–assuming that the math works, of course?

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