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Ford’s Escape Plug-in Hybrid – TIRED OF BUYING GAS? ESCAPISM

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Ford’s Escape Plug-in Hybrid – TIRED OF BUYING GAS? ESCAPISM

Ford’s Escape Plug-in Hybrid

TIRED OF BUYING GAS? ESCAPISM

In 2023 Ford Motor Company celebrated 120 years of automotive manufacturing. You could, of course, call it a car company, but in its home market it no longer builds cars. Instead, it builds trucks such as its F-Series, Ranger and truck-based Bronco. And, as you’d know, it builds crossovers, like the Explorer, Bronco Sport and our Featured Vehicle, the Escape. The Escape, it turns out, is as close to car-like as today’s FoMoCo customer is likely to find.

In today’s streetscape, which is chock full of Asian angularity, the Escape stands out in its almost organic anonymity. In its 4-door with hatch configuration it’s not quite lowish, but then, neither is it tall. And all four of those doors allow easy access to the interior, which extends the courtesy by offering generous space to both front and rear seat occupants. But before we get inside, note the generous glass area, relatively tight overhangs and the it-kind-of-blends-in visual, perfect for those of you wishing to blend in…perhaps on a day you’re hung over. With an overall length of 15 feet on a wheelbase of almost 107 inches, the Escape isn’t small – but it’s small enough for parallel parking in the city. 

Inside, the Escape’s sport buckets are an upscale touch, and seemed both supportive and comfortable within the context of our week-long, intown testing. But the upscale touches conveyed by the quilted and perforated seat is negated by hard plastics used on virtually every other surface. None of this screams cheap, but then, when trying to deduce where your $47,000 purchase dollars went, you won’t find it on the door panels.

Behind the wheel you’ll enjoy clean, unobstructed sight lines, intelligent placement of most controls, and one of the most confounding touchscreens I’ve yet to encounter. Regular readers will know this is coming from the Analog Guy, but why can’t we go back to conventional controls for audio, heating and air, as the Escape’s touchscreen requires far more commitment than I’m willing to give it. And if Ford’s product team thinks it’s gonna’ get Tesla customers to move over to Ford, they’ve got another ‘think’ a-coming. 

For the answer to where your money went, you need only pop the hood and take in the Escape’s plug-in hybrid wonder. Supplementing the 2.5 liter inline four’s 163 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque are two AC motors of 90 and 129 horsepower, which adds up (although it doesn’t really ‘add up’) to 210 combined horsepower. The assemblage powers the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission which, as these CVTs go, behaves better than expected. 

The end result of this gas/battery collaborative is, according to Car and Driver magazine, a 0-60 of 7.7 seconds, a ¼ mile time of 16 seconds, an EV-only range of 37 miles, and a 40/42/37 EPA estimate. 

The plug-in hybrid has generated a lot of interest lately, for a number of good reasons. There seems to be pushback toward mass adaptation of the battery-electric EV given its cost, still limited range and lack of supporting infrastructure. The plug-in hybrid – such as this Escape – provides enough juice to make most commutes under all-electric power, along with enough gas-propelled range to get from Toledo to Tucson, when (in all likelihood) you want to get the hell out of Toledo – probably this month. It is, in short, the best of both worlds, satisfying the Greens with its low carbon footprint, while keeping happy those with the budget, space and/or inclination for just one car…or, uh, crossover.

As a plug-in hybrid the Escape will qualify for Federal and/or state incentives, although this is a changing narrative; check with https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/credits-for-new-clean-vehicles-purchased-in-2023-or-after for info specific to your purchase. 

With all of that, I’d probably use my $47K for the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. And on those rare occasions in which I’m going out of town (the Mach-E’s premium trim comes with 250 miles of all-electric range) I’d rent a car. Or, you know, a crossover. And escape.

Boldt, a contributor to outlets such as AutoTrader.com, Kelley Blue Book and Autoblog, brings to his laptop some forty years of experience in automotive retail, journalism and public relations. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, The Washington Automotive Press Association and L.A.'s Motor Press Guild. David is the Managing Editor of txGarage, a regular panelist on the AutoNetwork Reports webcast/podcast, and the automotive contributor to Dallas' Katy Trail Weekly.

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