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Rides: Plug-in and play with Ford Escape hybrid electric
Cutting edge car has safe, comfortable
Published Thursday, July 9, 2020 9:27 pm
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

The 2020 Ford Escape hybrid.

The year 2020 is going to be remembered not so fondly as the year of COVID-19 but there will also be a few bright spots.

One may be the fourth generation of Ford’s Escape. Its new design is pleasing to the eye and standard equipment level is something to really like.

I think this is the second-generation plug-in hybrid. If fully charged, you can drive up to 37 miles on electricity only. Once the battery is depleted, it switches over to the gasoline-hybrid engine. Or before depletion, you can recharge at one of the growing numbers of recharge stations around Charlotte and the country. You can also purchase a dedicated recharge station from Ford for fastest charging or plug into a standard outlet at home, which may take twice as long.

All hybrid Escapes are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired to a battery powered hybrid engine. The pair makes 221 horsepower which seems more than adequate to get the Escape moving. More power is always nice, but I found the vehicle to feel pretty peppy. Like most hybrids, it makes a harsh sound under hard acceleration but, thankfully, a lot of the noise is kept out of the cabin while driving. If you want all-wheel drive, you’ll have to pick something other than the plug-in – it’s not available. Still, the new Escape handles very well as a front-driver. Turn-ins are nice and the car tracks fairly straight. The four-wheel independent suspension is tuned for comfort, but it’s not sloppy or cushy.

My Titanium version had Ford’s Co-Piolt360 package which include lane keeping assistance, auto high beam light, rear view camera and adaptive cruise control. You can add more, but these are cutting edge features that make the Escape much safer than the model it replaces.

Also available is a head-up display which can give helpful info without looking at the dash.

The 2020 Escape Plug-in hybrid also comes with a digital dash that can be configured to give you plenty of vehicle info. It also displays which of five drive modes you can choose. If you want something really sporty, go for Sport, which changes gearing, tightens suspension and gives you quicker shifts. Since this is a hybrid, Economy makes the most sense. It gives outstanding gas mileage without a heavy penalty on performance. Expect about 44 mile per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with 41 mpg overall. I’d say I got that if not more. Not bad for a gas tank that holds less than 12 gallons of regular fuel.

The 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in hybrid starts at $38,835. It has a gazillion standard features, some of which I have already mentioned. Others include dual-zone automatic climate control. heated steering wheel, 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat, six-way adjustable front passenger seat, Bang & Olufsen stereo, SYNC 3, eight cup holders, panoramic roof, pre-collision assist and wireless charging pad.

Throw in a package and destination and the as tested price is about $42,000. The Escape has a lot of competition. Toyota’s RAV4 Prime has just been released to rave reviews. Hyundai and Kia are big players now and the list goes on. Is this worth consideration? I think so. I like the new looks, the driving dynamics and the fuel economy. You can step down to the regular hybrid or even the gas-powered Escape to save money, or you can enjoy the plug-in hybrid.

• Stellar gas mileage
• Good looks
• Roomy interior
• Driving dynamics
• Great equipment level

• Pricey
• No all-wheel drive option on plug-in


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