Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid 2021 – Review, Photos/Pictures Gallery

Ever since the Ford Escape came out in 2001, it has always been a popular choice with our customers. It’s a classic compact crossover that is more functional than a sedan but not too big like some other SUV models. With the completely redone Ford Escape Sport Hybrid 2021, many customers have asked us to look at the differences between the Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid 2021 and the 2020 Escape. Read on below for our comparison, or view our inventory here online if you want to test drive and experience both for yourself!


Putting a 2021 Escape next to a 2021 Escape, you will immediately tell a difference. The 2021 Escape stays true to its SUV roots by giving off a sporty feel. It does feel a touch older than the 2021 model, however, since the design for the 2021 model dates back to 2013.

Ford is saying goodbye to its sedans and focusing on getting those who prefer a Taurus or a Focus to go for a compact crossover. To help the transition go smoothly, they gave the 2021 Escape a sleeker, more car-look instead of a bulkier SUV. Compared to the 2021 Escape, the 2021 model is lower to the ground, wider and longer.


One of the reasons people purchase SUVs is because of the cabin space. It is usually easier to store more and larger items in an SUV. Even though the 2021 Escape is a compact crossover, there is an extra focus in making the cabin more accommodating for taller folks.

The 2021 Escape measures two inches longer compared to the 2021 Escape with measurements at 180.5 inches long and a wheelbase of 106.7 inches. For cargo space, the 2021 Escape can hold up to 65.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are down and the 2021 Escape has 68 cubic feet. The 2021 Escape is designed to be more efficient with more space for people to be comfortable and the 2021 Escape is going to give you better cargo space.

When it comes to the features in 2021 and 2021 Escape the 2021 Escape has more standard than the 2021. The Sync 3 infotainment system and the keyless entry and push-button ignition are standard on the SE and SEL trims. Both the 2021 and 2021 Escape have voice control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and navigation all on a 8-inch touchscreen.

The Drive

The 2021 Escape has more of a car-look and its steering and handling is also similar to a car’s. It is smooth over bumps in the road, the cabin stays nice and quiet and the ride is comfortable. The 2021 Escape is a great choice for commuters. The ride and handling with the 2021 Escape is just as impressive but not as comfortable as the 2021 Escape.

Come visit us to test drive an Escape model and choose for yourself!

You cannot go wrong with a Ford Escape, so come on in to D’Orazio Ford located at 1135 South Water Street in Wilmington to fall in love with your next vehicle!

The 2021 Ford Escape is a blast from the past.

Oh, it’s an all-new vehicle, but a long-missing feature is returning to the lineup for the first time in years.

It’s a hybrid powertrain. Ford offered the Escape with one from 2005 to 2012, but it skipped the last generation of the compact SUV.

It arrives just in time, too, as the market has shifted toward utility vehicles and the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is not only the best-selling hybrid in the U.S. but one of the hottest vehicles on sale today. Toyota literally can’t make enough of them to meet demand.

The all-wheel-drive hybrid Escape is rated at 40 mpg combined, which is the same as the Rav4 Hybrid, but the Ford comes at a higher starting price. The Rav4 can be had for as little as $29,220, while the lowest-priced all-wheel-drive Escape SE Sport Hybrid is $30,960. Ford also offers a front-wheel-drive model for $29,460 that gets 41 mpg.

Like the previous edition, which remains a staple of many taxi fleets, the Escape’s powertrain combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, two electric motors and a CVT automatic transmission. But it’s nearly 40 percent more efficient and much more powerful now, putting out a combined 198 hp that’s just a little shy of the Rav4’s 219 hp. (If hybrids aren’t your thing, the 2021 Escape is also available with 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motors.)

The Ford and Toyota are roughly the same size on the outside and the Escape is roomier than the 2021 model, but it still feels snugger than the cavernous Rav4. However, a sliding rear seat allows Escape owners to dole out the space between passengers and cargo as they best see fit.

The hybrid Escape is appropriately techy, with a full digital instrument cluster, automatic emergency braking, and available adaptive cruise control. Oddly, there are only three USB ports, one of them a USB C, which seems a little short considering you can connect up to 10 devices to the Escape’s built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

Its optional self-steering lane-centering assist system does a very good job of keeping the Escape in the center of the lines but feels a little twitchy through the steering wheel as it does. Loaded up with all of that, plus a panoramic sunroof and head-up display, the top of the line Titanium trim level I tested goes for $37,740.

It’s not what you’d call luxurious, but it’s quiet. The ride quality is spot-on comfortable and the powertrain is smooth for a hybrid as it switches back and forth between motors. According to the efficiency display, it often spends more than a third of its time in all-electric mode and recaptures plenty of energy under braking as one of the electric motors turns into a generator as it helps slow the vehicle. I couldn’t swing that 40 mpg mark in the real world, but getting into the high thirties is easy and switching it into Sport mode adds a noticeable kick.

The hybrid Escape may not do anything better than the Rav4, but the Toyota’s chunky styling can be polarizing, and the Ford’s smooth lines offer a stark contrast that sets the two about as far apart as compact SUVs can get these days. It’s also available in a choice of 10 colors, and even though yellow isn’t one of them, you can probably expect to see a lot of them in that hue at the taxi stand soon.

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid Price

Base price: $29,460

As tested: $37,740

Type: 4-door, 5-passenger all-wheel-drive SUV

Powertrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with electric motor assist

Power: 198 hp, 155 lb-ft

Transmission: CVT automatic

MPG: 43 city/37 hwy

When Ford launched the original Escape Hybrid back in 2005, it claimed the title of world’s first hybrid SUV. And while the gasoline-electric Escape found many happy homes — including New York’s taxi fleet — it didn’t last for long. The third-generation Escape debuted without an electrified option. But now, that hybrid hiatus is coming to an end.

The 2021 Ford Escape offers not one, but two hybrid powertrains. Are they worth considering over the standard, gas-only Escape? I hit the roads of Kentucky to find out.

Mild hybrid now, plug-in hybrid later

Only one Escape Hybrid will be available right at launch. It uses a mild-hybrid drivetrain built around a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine and an 88-kilowatt electric motor. Together they produce a net system output of 200 horsepower, that can be routed to either the front or all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

Powering the electric motor is a liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery pack that Ford says is about a third of the size of the one found in the previous Escape Hybrid. The more compact dimensions allow engineers to mount it in the floor below the rear seats, so as not to intrude into the Escape’s 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the second row of seats expands that area to a generous 60.8 cubic feet.

Most importantly, the hybrid powertrain offers real efficiency gains. Official EPA fuel economy numbers aren’t finalized yet, but some extrapolating is possible. Ford claims it’s targeting an EPA-estimated driving range of more than 550 miles with front-wheel-drive. A gander at the spec sheet shows the Escape Hybrid carries a 14.2 gallon fuel tank, meaning a highway fuel economy rating of roughly 39 miles per gallon is theoretically possible. That’s certainly an improvement over the base, 1.5-liter I3 engine’s 33-mpg rating.

The Escape Hybrid’s key competitors will be the recently announced Honda CR-V Hybrid and the already-on-sale Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. In the power department, both of the Japanese options outmuscle the Escape, with the Honda making 212 horsepower and the RAV4 making 2021. Honda hasn’t released fuel economy for the CR-V as of this writing, but the RAV4 Hybrid puts up some pretty competitive numbers: 41 mpg city, 38 mpg highway. The Toyota has slightly more cargo space with the back seats folded down, too.

The second piece of Ford’s two-part Escape Hybrid story will arrive next spring, when a plug-in model joins the lineup. It, too, will use a 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle I4, but will be front-wheel drive only. Ford is aiming for this Escape Hybrid to have at least 30 miles of all-electric driving range. No doubt we’ll learn more about the plug-in as we get closer to its launch.


The Escape Hybrid’s drivetrain is nicely refined, with near-seamless engine refires when switching between gasoline and electric power. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can accelerate solely on electric power with light throttle inputs at low speeds. Ford says you can cruise on electric power alone at speeds up to 85 miles per hour.

Power itself is adequate when using the car’s default Normal drive mode, but Sport is my preferred setting for its quicker giddy-up. The CVT’s simulated gear shifts are pretty snappy, too.

You can have some fun with the 200-horsepower hybrid powertrain.

The Escape Hybrid is surefooted while cornering, with an excellent ride quality even on my Titanium tester’s large, 19-inch wheels and 225/35-series tires. The 3,554-pound SUV’s body roll is kept in check and the regenerative brakes offer great modulation abilities. The one thing on my wish list is more responsive off-center steering feel for sharper turn-in response. Even with that quibble, the Escape Hybrid is a dynamically superior machine to the RAV4 Hybrid as far as on-road dynamics are concerned.

Like its gas counterpart, the Escape Hybrid really excels during regular commuting. Normal mode provides lighter steering and the suspension does excellent work absorbing impacts from ruts. When factoring in the quiet cabin, the Escape is a small SUV that will make a fantastic daily driver.


Visually, there’s not much setting the Escape Hybrid apart from the gas-only models. Minus a small “Hybrid” badge on the liftgate, the slippery exterior shape is the same, with the tapering roofline and so-called “Mustang-inspired” grille. If you opt for the SE Sport Hybrid, you do get a slightly stealthier look with black wheels, trim molding and grille accents.

Minus a hybrid badge, the Escape Hybrid looks just like its full gas brethren.

The Escape’s cabin carries over, as well. Besides some hybrid-specific readouts in the instrument cluster and center screen, it’s all the same. There’s plenty of space in front, and the back seats slide fore and aft to better accommodate taller passengers. All of the vehicle’s controls are large, clearly marked and intuitively placed. Build quality is exceptional, and materials are on par with every other small crossover out now. The only cabin knock involves the flat front seats that are in dire need of beefed-up side bolsters.

With the mild-hybrid drivetrain coming standard on SE Sport Hybrid and Titanium trims, it packs a heavy dose of tech. Sync 3 quarterbacks infotainment with an 8-inch touchscreen, featuring a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Waze integration. Every hybrid Escape also gets a 12.8-inch digital instrument cluster, while the Titanium adds a standard 10-speaker B&O audio system.

For safety, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, post-collision braking and auto high beams are standard on the Escape hybrids. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, active parking assist and a head-up display are offered as options.

The spacious, well-built cabin from the gas Escape carries over into the hybrid model, too.

Technical specifications

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid begins at $28,255, not including $1,195 for destination, for the SE Sport model, while the top-of-the-line Titanium starts at $33,400. In both cases, all-wheel-drive tacks on $1,500 to the bottom line. Pricing for the upcoming plug-in hybrid model has yet to be announced.

The Escape faces tough competition from the aforementioned Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but with its refined powertrain, great driving dynamics and huge loadout of tech, it’s well positioned to be a top contender.

Editors’ note: Travel costs related to this feature were covered by the manufacturer. This is common in the auto industry, as it’s far more economical to ship journalists to cars than to ship cars to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday vehicle loans from manufacturers in order to provide scored editorial reviews, all scored vehicle reviews are completed on our turf and on our terms.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

Guys, it comes in green.



Prices for the SE Sport Hybrid begin at $28,255, while the Titanium rings up at $33,400. If the outgoing Fusion is any indication, that’d put the cheapest Escape plug-in well north of the $30,000 barrier. For fuel-sippers in snowier climates, the Escape Hybrid may make more sense, too. It offers all-wheel drive as a $1,500 option. The plug-in, though, is only available with front-wheel drive.

Until Ford releases pricing for the Escape’s plug-in powertrain, we can’t in good conscience recommend the Escape Hybrid. The promise of 30-plus-all-electric miles with the expectation of an identical driving character and degree of refinement is difficult to ignore. But if you can’t wait to get a fuel-sipping crossover or you absolutely need efficiency and all-weather ability in a single package, the hybrid is the best version of the Escape you can get (for now).

Ford Escape Hybrid 2021

Ford has been slowly working to change the perception of hybrid and electrified vehicles. Take the forthcoming Lincoln Aviator for example. In its top-spec Grand Touring trim, a plug-in hybrid powertrain is standard with 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. Thrifty and sporty, no?

Clearly, that ethos has seeped into the 2021 Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid, which the automaker revealed on Tuesday alongside the compact crossover’s build configurator. We’ve known the SE Sport trim was coming with a standard hybrid powertrain but this is our first look at how Ford plans to draw those looking for racier looks while delivering efficient drives.

Digging through the configurator, the SE Sport Hybrid builds upon the standard SE trim but replaces the 1.5-liter turbo-3 engine with a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4 and electronically controlled CVT. Ford estimates the powertrain will make 198 hp and the EPA projects drivers will go more than 550 miles on a single tank. With a base price of $29,450, after a hefty $1,195 destination charge, the perky and efficient crossover is pretty well equipped.

There’s a standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and keyless access with push-button start. The digital instrument cluster and leather-wrapped steering wheel are extras atop the regular SE trim.

Outside, the 2021 Escape SE Sport Hybrid gets black 17-inch wheels, trim molding and grille accents to look the part. Honestly, the black accents look good with any color that’s part of the Escape’s palette and you should be delighted to know there’s a green hue available — Dark Persian Green, to be specific. Rapid Red is the only extra-cost color and adds $395 to the SE Sport’s price. All-wheel drive is also optional and costs another $1,500.

Overall, the SE Sport seems like a pretty well-packed value with most of the popular options included. For $3,395 more, buyers can also add a Premium Package that bundles fancier 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, adaptive cruise control and other comforts.

Elsewhere, those looking for the least expensive 2021 Escape will be shown an Escape S that will start at $26,080. At the top of the lineup is the Escape Titanium at $34,595. Note, the hybrid powertrain is also standard here, but a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 250 hp is available for another $2,885. Opting for the more powerful engine also nets AWD standard.

We’re eager to get some seat time with the 2021 Escape, but perhaps just as eager to see what Ford has cooking for those who feel the new Escape is too car-like. There’s a “Baby Bronco” coming for that crowd.

There are few things more annoying than getting a brand-new toy only to find out it’s going to be obsolete almost immediately. While that’s annoying with a cell phone or smart watch, imagine how it’d feel with a $30,000 vehicle.

Replacing a car is not easy and rarely practical, which makes its obsolescence a far more pressing concern. And that brings us neatly to the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid, a very good compact crossover that will remain so right up until the Escape’s first plug-in hybrid powertrain hits the market.

Fuel economy

The Escape Hybrid’s package is a familiar one. Unlike the Explorer Hybrid and its cousin, the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, which opt for a more complicated layout that grants extra towing ability at the expense of refinement, the Escape Hybrid is a power-split hybrid, like what you’d find in a the Escape Hybrids of yesteryear, as well as all of Toyota’s hybrid models.

In contrast to the disjointed behavior of the Explorer and Aviator, the Escape’s powertrain is virtually free of histrionics thanks to its more conventional setup. The Escape seems always to know where the power needs to come from, which makes it very easy to forget you’re even driving a hybrid.

The gas engine and electric motors deliver a combined output of 200 horsepower. The gas engine is also responsible for 152 lb-ft of torque, although Ford isn’t publishing the electric motor’s torque output. The upcoming plug-in hybrid will be slightly more powerful, at 209 hp, and replaces the standard 1.1-kilowatt-hour battery with a 14.4-kWh setup that balloons the Escape’s weight from 3,554 pounds for a front-wheel-drive hybrid to 3,884 pounds for the plug-in model, which is front-drive only. Heck, the PHEV is heavier than even the all-wheel-drive hybrid, which tips the scales at 3,706 pounds. Point being, batteries are heavy.


Force the Escape to switch on the 2.5-liter, though, and things don’t immediately fall to pieces. The naturally aspirated engine sounds more agricultural than its turbocharged, gas-only counterparts, but the volume is similarly low unless you get up to high engine speeds. Moreover, the e-CVT does a fine job of keeping the gas engine’s speed down except under the heaviest of throttle inputs. We certainly like this “gearbox” more than the standard model’s eight-speed.

Aggressive behavior does bring about problems, though. For a start, the Escape Hybrid simply isn’t very fast. Ford hasn’t released an official zero-to-60 time yet (you know, because it’s a compact crossover…), but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Escape Hybrid was well short of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine’s time and only slightly ahead of the base turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine’s. Only 19 horsepower separates the Hybrid from the triple, and yet, the gas-electric model is around 250 pounds heavier. There’s also a question of refinement at higher engine speeds. The hybrid should at least outrun the upcoming PHEV, though, handicapped as it is by the weight of its batteries.


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