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Ford Escape Plug In Hybrid – Is It Worth Buying?

by Jordan Harris
Ford Escape Plug in Hybrid

The Ford Escape first debuted in 2001. Ford has been producing this iconic SUV for 2 decades now. With advancing technology, today we have the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid. A plug-in hybrid is quite different from a regular hybrid. It has the power to run on battery power alone. But is the Ford Escape worth spending money on?

History Of Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is a car that has steadily progressed throughout the years. Progress is one of the important factors that’ll determine the success and the sales of a car. This car is one of the best examples of evolution in a car. And the latest generation is full of the coolest technologies that are relevant to this age.

The Ford Escape was known as the ‘Maverick’ when it first rolled out of the factory. With time the entire design of the car changed along with its nameplate. This progress can be divided into 3 generations.

First Generation

The very first generation of this Ford SUV started out in 2001. This was built by cooperating with Mazda. Even though the Ford name was in the final product, the Mazda influence was seen throughout the car. At the time the Ford Escape was released with 4 trim levels. They XLS, XLT, XLT Sport, and Limited.

The Escape was available with 2 different drive trains. The standard was a 2L 4-cylinder engine. The larger option was the 3L V6 engine. They were available in both manual and automatic transmission. Though the design looks a bit odd for today, at the time that was the trend.

The first-gen interior was decent enough. The only thing to the complaint was the strange positioning of the gear shifter and a few other features.

The first generation lasted until 2007. At this time they also released a Ford Escape hybrid. The Hybrid model came out in 2004. It was the first hybrid car that was made and sold in America.

Second Generation

The evolution of this SUV continued as it entered its second generation in 2008. This was the shortest generation in the timeline of the Ford Escape. This generation of the Escape lasted till 2011.

This generation had a ton of changes and upgrades from the previous generation. For starters, the SUV had a completely new look. This time the SUV looked more stylish and modern. This didn’t convince enough customers and sales were quite dull, so they refreshed the update in 2009.

Ford Escape plug in hybridFord Escape plug in hybrid

This time the Ford Escape had a new transmission and a new engine. The standard engine issued was a 2.5L four-cylinder engine. The optional engine was the same 3L V6. Even though the optional engine stayed the same, the standard engine was swapped to a slightly more powerful 2.5L engine.

The 3L optional engine was the same, but the numbers it generated were better. Horsepower and torque figures were higher this time around. The technology in the Ford Escape had come a long way from the earlier generation. The safety features gained a lot of recognition. The Escape received a 5-star safety award.

Third Generation

The third generation of the Ford Escape did go on for almost a decade. Since the third-gen started in 2011, chances are most Ford Escapes that you spot in the streets belong to the third generation. This is definitely one of the most technologically equipped generations. The hands-free power liftgate was certainly a feature that was adored by most users.

The exterior of the Ford Escape got a complete overhaul, it looks nothing like it did in the 2nd generation. The boxy looks are gone and now has given way to a Ford Escape that now sports a modern and stunning curvy design. There are trim levels on offer, they are  S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels. They are coupled with a turbocharged eco-friendly engine.

The first generation was one of the most successful generations for this SUV. At that time Ford Escape offered features that no other SUV offered. On the other hand, the second generation was the least successful. This was because they failed to deliver the exterior looks that were expected by the customers.

The first two generations were similar but what the latest generation offers cannot be easily matched. Some might agree that with the astonishingly well-built interior the Ford Escape is a step above the competition.

Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid

When it comes to SUV plug-in hybrids, the Ford Escape is among the top-tier SUVs. The all-new Ford Escape 4th generation plug-in hybrid has a class-leading EPA fuel economy estimation of 100 mpg combined. The only vehicle capable of delivering that kind of fuel efficiency apart from the Ford Escape is a moped.

Ford Escape Plug In Hybrid

The SUV can go all-electric for up to 37 miles. It is only second to the Toyota RAV4 which is capable of making 42 EV miles. But the Ford Escape can get 11 more EV miles than its predecessor, the Ford Fusion Energi. It has more passenger room as well as cargo room, even if it has a bulky battery under it.

How Does A Plug-in Hybrid Work

Plug-in hybrids are similar to regular hybrids. They work by both electricity and fuel. The underlying principle of hybrid cars is that a secondary or temporary energy source, in this case, the battery allows the main engine to operate at its maximum efficiency.

A regular hybrid battery is charged by an internal combustion engine and regenerative braking. In a PHEV, the battery can be charged by an internal combustion engine, regenerative braking, or by supplying a direct current by plugging it into a wall outlet or any other charging equipment.

The vehicle will run purely on electric power until the battery is nearly depleted. Once the battery is almost empty, the ICE or the internal combustion engine will take over. The battery will assist the combustion engine while recharging.

An advantage that a plug-in hybrid holds over a regular hybrid is that it can be charged and driven like an electric car, without using a single ounce of fuel. Since there is an onboard engine that can take over when the battery is drained, the range is also better than most electric vehicles.

How Does A Plug-in Hybrid Perform

The performance of a hybrid doesn’t differ a lot from a conventional car. The handling is almost similar, and the acceleration is slightly better, some might even say. From the outside, they are similar except for having a conventional fuel point along with an electric connector.

Ford Escape Plug In Hybrid

To find the difference you would have to check the interior of the SUV. In the dash, you would find 2 modes, eco-mode in which the car decides to use the battery and fuel to keep the car as efficient as possible, and a zero-emission mode where the car runs solely on electricity.

The performance of the Ford Escape is not affected in any way by the SUV being a plug-in hybrid. If the Ford is running as a fully electric SUV, without using fuel the SUV can reach a top speed of 85 mph. The car has a top speed of 117 mph when it is working using both fuel and the battery.

The 0 to 60 acceleration clocks in at 8.7 seconds. As you can see, these are pretty good numbers for an SUV, therefore the fact that the Ford Escape is a plug-in hybrid doesn’t affect its performance.

Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Specifications

The original Ford Escape that was manufactured back in the early 2000s, was the world’s first hybrid SUV. And today the Ford Escape is available as a plug-in hybrid, this shows the technological milestones they’ve achieved along the way. According to ‘Hau Thai-Tang’ who is the Ford Chief Product Development and Purchasing Officer, the all-new Ford Escape plug-in hybrid has more power and cargo space, more than their own Fusion Energi plug-in.

Let us look at the exact specs of the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid.

1. Engine

The original Ford Escape comes with an Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter inline-4 engine. The engine has a net horsepower of 221 at 6250 RPM. It can produce 155 lb/ft torque at 4000 RPM. This engine is paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission with an overdrive (if you need to learn more, check out our guide on the meaning of O/D off).

The Ford Escape has 0 to 60 of 8.7 seconds and can run a quarter-mile in 17.4 seconds. It has only got one electric motor. This means it only has an FWD option. The lack of an AWD option means that tackling harsh terrain would be a problem for this SUV.

One of the main reasons why the Ford Escape is one of the best in its class is the fuel economy. The Ford has a fuel economy of 105 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The fact that it could also run 37 miles without tapping into the fuel tank is also impressive.

2. Battery

The battery in a plug-in hybrid is equally important as the engine. The Ford has an upsized  14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. With a full charge, the battery can get up to 37 miles without using fuel. Using the battery is much more efficient while driving in the city rather than driving on the highway.

Lithium Ion Battery Electric Cars EV Electrical

Once the battery is depleted, the car will work as a standard gas and battery-powered hybrid. Using a standard wall socket will require about 11 hours to fully charge the battery. A level 2 240V charger can get the job done in about 3.5 to 4 hours.

3. Technology

Every Ford Escape plug-in hybrid trim consists of an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Also along with every trim, you’ll get Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, WiFi Hotspot, Smart Device Integration, Auxiliary Audio Input, and Sirus XM. With the Titanium trim, you’ll also get embedded navigation as well. The infotainment also has 4 USB ports.

You are going to love this if you love listening to music in your car while you drive. With the Ford Escape, you can get anywhere from 6 to 10 speakers according to the trim you purchase. The sound system is more important than ever since, driving the car using the battery could get unexciting.

4. Safety Features

The Ford Escape plug-in hybrid continues to deliver with its safety features. The SUV has more than 5 airbags. All 4 wheels feature ABS brakes. Other safety features include Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Daytime Running Lights, Child Safety Locks, Traction Control, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Cross-Traffic Alert, and many more.

5. Cargo Space

According to the manufacturer, the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid has more than enough room. But how much room does it really have? What do the numbers say?

According to the numbers, the SUV has a legroom of 42.4 inches in the front seats and 38.9 inches in the back. Comparing it to its biggest competition the RAV4, the Escape has a slight advantage in legroom. When you look at the cargo space, the Ford offers a total of 96.5 cubic feet up and down the seats. There is not a lot of difference in cargo space when comparing the Escape to the RAV4.

6. Warranty

The warranty provided by the company upon purchase is a huge factor that would convince customers to buy the product. The Ford Escape decent warranty cover compared to other vehicles in the class.

Ford offers a bumper-to-bumper warranty of 3 years or 36,000 miles. For the power train, safety restraint system, and roadside assistance program you get a 5 year or 60,000-mile warranty. There is 5-year warranty coverage if your car corrodes. Here the mileage does not matter. Finally, for the hybrid components such as the battery, you have a warranty period of 8 years or 100,000 miles.

How Much Does The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Cost?

The price of a vehicle can be a deal-breaker when a vehicle doesn’t fit your budget. So before you get to settle on the decision to buy a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, you might want to know the price first. So how much does the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid cost?

The base trim of the SUV starts at around $33,000. If you want to get an advanced Titanium trim, that will cost anywhere from $39,000 to $40,000. There is a long array of optional add ons for this SUV. If you wish to get any of these additional features, the price could increase.

Which Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Trim Should You Buy?

All Ford Escape plug-in hybrids come with the standard 2.5L engine and a 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. So no matter which trims you choose the performance will be the same, unlike in most cars where a different trim level almost definitely will perform better.

Here, the top speed, acceleration, EV miles, none of them differ. The case trim level, SE, consists of 18-inch wheels, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, smartphone integration, and two USB ports. The safety features in the base trim level include collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning.

The highest trim level which is the Titanium model has all of the above mentioned features along with a few more. Other features include a hands-free liftgate which is very popular among consumers, a digital instrument cluster, automatic wipers, front parking sensors, and an automated parking system.

Unlike many other cars, the trim levels in the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid don’t matter a lot, unless you are into new tech in cars. If you are someone who is not interested in fancy tech and looking for an SUV that performs well, you need not spend extra money on the Titanium trim level offered by Ford.

How Much Does It Cost To Insure A Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid?

Another aspect of cost when it comes to owning a vehicle comes in the form of insurance. The insurance cost for a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid can differ depending on a lot of things. But on average you would have to pay about $81 per month to insure this SUV. This amount is for the premium insurance. Compared to many other cars in this class, the cost to insure a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid is relatively less.

Do You Get A Tax Credit?

Getting a tax credit could make a large statement when you think about the cost of purchasing and owning a vehicle. Usually, a vehicle that uses a battery will get a tax credit? So do you get a federal tax credit for driving a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid? If so how much?

This hybrid has a pretty large battery. Usually, the larger the battery the more money shaved off after the tax credit. In the case of the Ford Escape, you get $6843 cut off the final amount. After such a huge chunk is credited back, the Escape suddenly seems much more affordable.

Maintainance Cost For Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

It is hard to provide a proper number for the maintenance cost for this particular SUV since it is still in its early days. Therefore maintenance costs and reliability data aren’t accurate. But estimates say that the Escape is more reliable and will cost less to maintain than average plug-in hybrids.

The average lifetime maintenance cost for a plug-in hybrid is $4600. This is half the average maintenance cost of a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle. The Ford Escape will probably cost slightly lower than $4600 to maintain.

Car Maintenance Motor Engine Oil Fluid Change SUV Crossover

Is The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Worth Buying?

When you ask the question, whether the Ford Escape is worth buying, there are 2 reasons that stand out. One is fuel efficiency. The Escape is the most fuel-efficient SUV that you can find today. Even for a hybrid, the fuel efficiency of this SUV is really impressive. The 37-mile range that you can drive without using any fuel is also noteworthy.

The other reason why the Ford Escape is a good buy is the price tag. The SUV is pretty cheap compared to a lot of its rivals. Especially when you think about a plug-in hybrid. If you take into consideration the tax break of almost $7000 after the price cut the base trim of the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid only costs about $26,000.

These are the main two reasons that the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid can successfully attract customers. For an SUV safety is really important as well. The Escape has no issue reaching that requirement as IIHS tested the SUV, and gave it a perfect score. The Escape only fell short in headlight performance, when it comes to the safety of the SUV.


The only top contender in the division would be the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 prime uses the same engine and transmission combo used in the Fors Escape. The price of the Ford Escape and RAV4 are almost the same. Both being plug-in hybrids they will get a large chunk back as a tax break. Both the SUVs are similar in performance, except for the fuel economy. The RAV4 falls a bit shy with an economy of 94 mpg.

Before you discard the RAV4 as a competitor, you need to know you can get an extra motor for the RAV4. This means that the RAV4, being a PHEV, has an unusual AWD feature. With this additional feature, the RAV4 is much more exciting to drive than the Ford Escape.

There are a few more SUVs in the class that could give the Ford Escape a run for its money. They are the Subaru Crosstrek and  Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring. Ultimately, the greatest competition for the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid is the Toyota RAV4.

Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Expert Review – Facts

  1. The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid has a 37-mile electric range, generous passenger space, and active safety features.
  2. The latest model year features updates to exterior styling, electrical architecture, and a consolidated trim structure.
  3. The Escape PHEV comes equipped with a standard 13.2-inch touchscreen display and Sync 4 infotainment system with cloud connectivity.
  4. Standard LED headlights, LED light strip, and intersection collision avoidance are also included in the latest model year.
  5. The Escape PHEV’s interior is criticized for feeling cheap and the seats are flat and unsupportive.
  6. Mechanically, the Escape PHEV remains the same and offers a spry chassis, smooth ride, and efficiency.
  7. The Escape PHEV has a total range of 520 miles on a full charge and tank of gas and offers Level 1 and Level 2 charging.
  8. The Escape PHEV is a safe vehicle and has been named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS and received five stars overall for crashworthiness from the NHTSA.
  9. Ford offers the Escape PHEV with a competitive dual-display setup and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  10. Competitors of the Escape PHEV include the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid, and Jeep Wrangler 4xe.

Verdict – Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Ford Escape is a car that has been around for 2 decades and constantly evolved. Today we are left with the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid. The SUV is the most fuel-efficient in the class. The price tag on the SUV is also fair when you consider everything that the car has to offer.

Another area where the Ford Escape excels is by being one of the safest vehicles on the road. The compact SUV received top-notch safety ratings in all 6 crash tests, making it one of the safest places to be.

The only issue if there ever was one, is the lack of RWD. While it is not commonly seen in PHEVs, AWD is a feature that defines an SUV. Other than the absence of AWD in the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, there isn’t a lot to complain about this SUV.

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