FORD ESCAPE PLUGIN RELIEVES WORRIES
OF RANGE ANXIETY WITH GAS ENGINE
If you’re looking for a way to get into electric vehicles (EVs) but are put off by range anxiety concerns that go along with all-electric power, Ford has an answer with its plugin version of its popular Escape SUV.
In hybrid mode, the electric motor gets a boost from regenerative braking and supplements the operation depending on conditions and your driving style. A handy gauge informs you when electric mode is fully engaged, such as when pulling away from an intersection or slowing in traffic.
Interestingly, that works the other way as well with the gas engine sometimes starting up when you are set in electric mode.
Fuel economy in combined gas-electric hybrid mode is 40 miles-per-gallon of regular octane fuel, though the instrumental panel reading showed slightly less in my experience. The MPGe figure, a formula the government came up with to rate plugins, standard hybrids, and all-electric vehicles, is 105, a number that puts it among the 11 plugin hybrids that earn the three-digit MPGe ratings from the EPA .
So, yes, the Ford Escape PHEV is a safe way of getting an introduction to the electrified driving experience without fear of getting stranded when out on the road. The EPA’s figure for the Escape PHEV’s total range is 520 miles, assuming you have started with a full charge. It also estimates a savings of $5,500 in fuel costs in a five-year period over an average new vehicle that gets 27 MPG.
This review is based on the Titanium trim of the 2021 Ford Escape PHEV but with no major changes this year, the 2021 Escape is pretty much the same vehicle as the newer 2022 model. The big changes came for 2020 models that moved the two-plus decades old Escape into its fourth generation.
Titanium is the top trim. Standard hybrid and plugin power also is available in SE and SEL trims but not the base S Escape. Both the standard hybrid drivetrain and plugins come with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) but if you want all-wheel drive, which is available on other Escapes, you are out of luck with the Titanium PHEV. It comes only in front-wheel drive configuration.
Among standard features on the 2021 Ford Escape Titanium PHEV are a hands-free lift gate, rear spoiler, roof rack with rails, LED tail lamps, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats that are power adjustable l0 ways for the driver and six for the passenger, heated steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, active park assist, Ford’s Co-Pilot360 Assist, adaptable cruise control, push-button start, and voice-activated navigation.
My test vehicle had the Titanium package that includes a power moonroof, head-up display, and leather seating adding $2,500 to the starting MSRP of $38,885. (MSRP for the 2022 Escape Titanium PHEV is only $300 more). That plus $395 for the Rapid Red paint job and $1,245 for destination and delivery ran the total to $43,025.
What I didn’t like about the 2021 Ford Escape Titanium PHEV: The Titanium trim takes the starting price tag to over $40,000 when the destination and delivery charges are added, which is asking for quite a lot for an Escape. The difference between the plugin and standard hybrid version is around $5,000.
Would I buy the 2021 Ford Escape Titanium PHEV? I’m not a big fan of plugins since at my house it is difficult for me to plug in any electric vehicle to get it to the closest outlet. (I need to clean out my garage.) But if you don’t have that issue, the Escape offers a nice way to get introduced to electric power because it has the safety net a gasoline engine provides.