June 26, 2022

2021 Ford Escape PHEVEmily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Ford is enjoying a numbers sport with the 2021 Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electrical automobile (PHEV). The fourth technology of this compact SUV appears to be like like its gas-engine counterpart, but it surely gives restricted vary for pure-electric driving and the choice of plug-in charging.

The hope is that sufficient Canadians need a compact SUV with a restricted electrical vary and no all-wheel drive.

The advertising supervisor for the Escape, Mathieu Rompré, cited survey information suggesting that 68 per cent of Canadians are contemplating an electrified automobile within the subsequent 5 years, and that they’re keen to pay as much as $50,000. The Escape PHEV suits that profile, with three trims beginning at $37,649, $40,649, and $43,739.

Rompré additionally famous in a presentation that the typical Canadian commute is about 38 kilometres, spherical journey, with long-range commuters clocking about 57 km. The Escape PHEV would offer a cost-effective experience for many of those individuals, he mentioned, with its 60-kilometre electric-only vary, and the potential for charging at work. The SUV’s 14.4 kWh battery will be utterly recharged in 3.5 hours on a Stage 2 240-volt charger, although it requires 10 to 11 hours on a 110-volt gadget.

When pushed on electrical energy solely, the Escape PHEV turns in a good 2.2 le/100 km. Utilizing the two.5-litre fuel engine alone guarantees gasoline financial system of 5.8 l/100km. Based mostly on 20,000 km of driving and fuel priced at $1.25 a litre, the annual gasoline price is roughly $850.

In a 400-kilometre, mountainous, real-world freeway take a look at the Escape PHEV SEL turned in 5.9 l/100 km. Through the drive we experimented with all 4 of the PHEV’s EV settings. These embody all-electric (EV Now); computerized, the place the Escape decides which energy supply to make use of; and EV Later, which saves battery energy to be used afterward.

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The Escape PHEV is properly suited as an city commuter automobile. Its restricted EV vary is ample to fulfill common wants, and it’s roomy sufficient to accommodate households, pets and kit.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

New for this mannequin 12 months is the power to recharge the battery whereas driving with the interior combustion engine.

Whether or not the mix of gasoline financial system and value for the Escape PHEV will add as much as gross sales for Ford stays to be seen. With the pandemic presently much less of a priority, modifications in two traits that it spurred might alter the calculation.

First, in accordance with Deloitte’s State of the Shopper examine, throughout the pandemic commuters had been hesitant to make use of public transit and experience sharing, which boosted curiosity in automobile purchases. Now, they’re migrating again to public transit. Will this imply much less curiosity in a automobile such because the Escape PHEV, which is designed primarily for short-distance commuters?

Second, working from house was prevalent, which lowered commutes to some toes down the corridor for many individuals who in any other case might need pushed. With workplaces, eating places and different leisure venues opening up, many will resume their every day commutes. This might bode properly for the Escape and others within the class that reward quick journeys with good gasoline financial system.

The Escape PHEV is properly suited as an city commuter automobile. Its restricted EV vary is ample to fulfill common wants, and it’s roomy sufficient to accommodate households, pets and kit. The 110-volt cost time is lengthy, that means the fuel engine would possibly get used for surprising journeys, however gasoline financial system is affordable.

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The place it falls down is when the household desires to go additional afield. It’s neither snug for an extended journey, nor geared up with all-wheel drive, which limits its use for excursions within the Canadian local weather.

The Escape is the second-best promoting Ford automobile in Canada. The Escape PHEV arrived in showrooms this summer time, and Rompré mentioned roughly 1,000 have offered up to now. Solely time will inform if the numbers finally add up for the plug-in hybrid.

Tech Specs

2021 Ford Escape PHEV

Base value: $37,649

Worth as examined: SEL: $47,144; Titanium: $49,294 (each embody vacation spot)

Engine: 2.5L fuel engine and 96 kWh electrical traction motor with 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery

Transmission: Electronically managed repeatedly variable (eCVT) transmission

Gasoline financial system (litres/100kms; mixed): EV alone 2.2; fuel alone 5.8

Alternate options: Toyota RAV4 Hybrid; Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

The one distinguishing characteristic of the Hybrid for 2021 is a set of distinctive wheels.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Seems

The Escape was restyled for the 2020 mannequin 12 months, and the one distinguishing characteristic of the Hybrid for 2021 is a set of distinctive wheels. It’s a bland-looking SUV that conveys its utilitarian functions.

Inside

The Escape is austere, with onerous seating that renders it uncomfortable for lengthy drives.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Even the top-of-the-line Titanium trim is hardly luxurious. The Escape is austere, with onerous seating that renders it uncomfortable for lengthy drives. With Ford’s suggestion that the automobile is designed for brief commutes, this will likely not matter.

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Efficiency

The one obtainable configuration is entrance wheel drive.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Other than the very common gasoline financial system numbers, the Escape PHEV isn’t any pleasure to drive. The one obtainable configuration is entrance wheel drive and it understeers simply. Though the powertrain delivers 220 horsepower, it does so grudgingly. Acceleration is sluggish – due to its low (155 lb.ft.) torque – and comes with an alarming quantity of noise.

Expertise

Probably the most fascinating know-how aboard is the EV structure that helps drivers maximize their gasoline financial system by onscreen braking teaching, alongside the power to manage how the automobile makes use of its energy provide.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

The Escape PHEV is supplied with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 security and semi-autonomy package deal. Nevertheless, essentially the most fascinating tech aboard needs to be the EV structure that helps drivers maximize their gasoline financial system by onscreen braking teaching, alongside the power to manage how the automobile makes use of its energy provide.

Cargo

Cut up sliding rear seats make the SUV simple to configure and permit each sufficient leg room for taller rear seat passengers and a bit of further within the cargo compartment on the identical time.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Ford notes that as a result of the EV battery is beneath the ground, cargo and passenger area is just not compromised within the Escape PHEV. Cut up sliding rear seats make the SUV simple to configure and permit each sufficient leg room for taller rear seat passengers and a bit of further within the cargo compartment on the identical time.

The Verdict

In a world the place metropolis dwellers more and more shun automobile possession and extra ceaselessly earn a living from home, the Escape PHEV is positioned in a diminishing area of interest. However for many who have a brief commute, and who’re on the lookout for an urban-oriented, inexperienced automobile, it gives good gasoline financial system, and capability for a household and its inevitable cargo.

The author was a visitor of the automaker. Content material was not topic to approval.

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