Ford Escape
Ford Escape
Ford Escape

2021 Ford Escape

Pros: Spacious interior; responsive powertrains; quiet

Cons: Cargo capacity only average for the class; higher trim levels get expensive

CG Says: After last year’s redesign, there are few changes for the 2021 Ford Escape. The hybrid powertrain is now available for SE and SEL trims. Ford redesigned its compact SUV from the ground up for 2020. The current Escape is a more car-like vehicle than its predecessor; Ford is in process of phasing out almost all of its traditional passenger cars, so the company has repositioned the Escape as a more urban, on-road-oriented vehicle. Ford’s Bronco SUV, as well as a smaller Bronco Sport SUV, are aimed more at the traditional off-road-ready SUV market.

In addition to its lower, sleeker styling, the Ford Escape gained a host of new technology and convenience features, plus new powertrains (including a hybrid and plug-in hybrid). The base engine is a turbocharged 180-horsepower 3-cylinder engine and a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo four is available on topline SEL and Titanium trims. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is standard with the 2.0-liter, while the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder is available with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Also available is a hybrid that combines a 2.5-liter four with two electric motors for a total of 198 hp. A plug-in hybrid uses the same basic powertrain, but is rated at 209 hp and is capable of travelling an estimated 30 miles in pure-electric mode. Both hybrids have a CVT automatic transmission; the plug-in hybrid is front-wheel drive only, while the regular hybrid also offers all-wheel drive.

The Escape’s standard safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot alert, cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control with stop and go capability, lane-centering, and evasive steering assist. Other available features include active park assist, panoramic sunroof, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, Wi-Fi hotspot, and remote-access capabilities through the FordPass Connect smartphone app. The current Ford Escape is a crossover SUV that “crosses over” farther to the car side of the car/SUV divide than any previous Escape—and that’s mostly a good thing for the average buyer looking for an everyday vehicle. Even though it’s on the small side of the compact SUV class, the Escape interior is reasonably spacious for the vehicle’s overall size—and rear passenger room is aided by rear seats that adjusts fore and aft six inches to improve rear legroom or cargo space. A broad range of high-tech available features and good fuel economy with conventional engines—not to mention the availability of hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains—add to the Escape’s appeal.

The Facts
Class Compact SUV
Body Style(s) 4-door wagon
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive
Manufacturer Ford
Nation of Manufacture USA
Base Prices S: $26,130
AWD S: $27,630
SE: $27,855
AWD SE: $29,355
SEL: $30,450
AWD SEL: $31,950
AWD Titanium: $37,000
SE Hybrid: $28,850
AWD SE Hybrid: $30,350
SEL Hybrid: $31,445
AWD SEL: $32,945
Titanium Hybrid: $34,545
AWD Titanium Hybrid: $36,045
SE Plug-in Hybrid: $33,895
SEL Plug-in Hybrid: $36,755
Titanium Plug-in Hybrid: $39,830

Base Engine
turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder (S, SE, SEL)
Horsepower
180
Std. Transmission
8-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
26-28
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
31-34

Optional Engine
turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder (Titanium)
Horsepower
250
Std. Transmission
8-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
23
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
31

Optional Engine
2.5-liter 4-cylinder/electric motors (Hybrid)
Horsepower
198
Std. Transmission
CVT
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
43-44
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
37

Optional Engine
2.5-liter 4-cylinder/electric motors (Plug-in Hybrid)
Horsepower
209
Std. Transmission
CVT
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA Combined Gas Engine (mpg)
NA
EPA Combined Electric Engine (MPGe)
NA