2021 Ford Escape PHEV: a competitive car-like crossover with a history

When Ford officially announced the launch of their all new Escape (in partnership with Mazda) for model year 2001, it would have been impossible to guess at the history of this storied vehicle over the years. At the time, larger sport-utility vehicles tended to use pickup truck-based, body-on-frame designs. Ford and Mazda had, however, decided to offer a more car-like, unibody design with a fully-independent suspension and rack and pinion steering.

A different approach for the time, but one which continues to serve the blue oval corporation well to this day.

Even as far back as 2004, for model year 2005, Ford was already touting new, innovative ideas regarding greener automobiles and climate-friendly specific eco-technology – all with the result of reducing the company’s carbon footprint and their reliance on fossil fuels – both for the vehicles coming off the line and for those on our highways and byways.

Based on the midrange XLT trim level, the 2005 Escape Hybrid included: the 2.3-litre DuraTec inline-four engine with an electric motor, power front bucket seats, low-back front bucket seats, enhanced partially-recycled cloth seating surfaces, and unique 16-inch alloy wheels. Options included a powered sunroof, a unique integrated GPS navigational system with hybrid information system, Satellite Radio, a seven-speaker premium audio system with amplifier and rear-mounted subwoofer, leather-trimmed seating surfaces, and a "two-tone" exterior paint scheme, with silver-painted lower exterior trim and front and rear bumpers.

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Ford’s innovative approach to automobiles continues

Fast forward to the 2021 model year and much has changed – or perhaps improved would be a better word. Ford now offers two Escape hybrids – one of which is a plug-in – and those powertrains consist of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder combustion engine and two electric motors which combine to make 221-hp.

What's new for 2021? Ford has expanded the availability of the hybrid powertrain to the SE and SEL trims for 2021; it's now standard on the top-spec Titanium model. Elsewhere, adaptive cruise control and a traffic-sign recognition feature join the optional Co-Pilot360 Plus package; a hands-free power lift gate and memory settings for the driver's seat and exterior mirrors are now part of the Technology package; and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a keyless- entry keypad, and LED exterior lighting are now on the list of features in the Convenience package. A new 19-inch wheel design is optional on the Titanium model. Further, a 14.4-kWh battery and a 2.5-litre inline-four power the Escape, which can be fully charged in 3.5 hours at a 240-volt Level 2 charger. A single charge may yield as much as an additional 60 kilometres – based upon driving conditions. All in all, 6.4l/100kms may be anticipated for in-city driving!

The 2021 Ford Escape has earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Ford offers a suite of driver-assistance features, which it calls Co-Pilot360, as standard on every Escape model. Further, key safety features include: standard forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking; standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist; and, standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross- traffic alert.

Quite the package. Loaded and ready for a test drive at your local Ford dealer.

Key Facts

2021 Escape PHEV
  • 2.5-liter 4 cylinder engine
  • 118 horsepower electric motor
  • Three plug-in versions available
  • Front-wheel drive only
  • 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery
  • 60 km electric range
  • Parking assist
  • Sync3 system
  • FordPass compatible
  • Ford CoPilot360
  • Waze integration
  • Available Bang & Olufsen audio system

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