“Best-in-class” is a phrase that manufacturers often attribute to their newest models, and with plug-in hybrids that usually applies to efficiency. Today is no exception, as the 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid claims the fuel economy prize, with an 100 MPGe all-electric fuel economy rating, according to the company’s EPA figure announcement Monday.
Beyond that headline figure, the 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid also manages 37 miles without using any fuel. Under gasoline driving, Ford says the car should manage 41 mpg when its electric motor is filling in the gaps, but not exclusively driving the front wheels. Unlike its competition, the Escape Plug-in Hybrid is strictly available as a front-wheel drive model, unlike its standard hybrid sibling, which you can buy with all-wheel drive.
As for its powertrain, Ford stakes its efficiency claim by way of a 2.5-liter inline-four engine mated to an electric motor and 14.4-kWh battery pack. It can charge up in 3.5 hours on a Level 2 charger. Use a standard wall plug, and that time increases to between 10 and 11 hours.
The 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid starts under $35,000 according to the company’s official announcement. How does that stack up against its competition?
How The Escape Plug-in Hybrid stacks up
On power, the 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid falls on the upper end of the current pack. Its Atkinson-cycle engine and electric motor combination manage an estimated 221 horsepower. That puts it ahead of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV‘s 190 horsepower and the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid’s 148 horsepower. Despite having a fair bit of punch, that figure does fall short of the Toyota RAV4 Prime‘s 302 horsepower, and more or less matches the standard RAV4 Hybrid‘s 219 horsepower.
Efficiency is where the comparison gets interesting, however. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime does pack a larger 17.8-kWh battery. As a result, it also manages two miles farther on a charge (at 39 miles) to the Escape Plug-in Hybrid’s 37 miles. Because of that extra power, the RAV4 Prime’s MPGe figure comes out to 94 MPGe, to the Crosstrek’s 90 MPGe and the Outlander PHEV’s 90 MPGe. Official EPA figures for the RAV4 Prime (showing gasoline-only efficiency) have yet to be published.
More competition is always a good thing, but it’s price where the 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid can decisively beat the competition. Depending on how much “under $35,000” actually means, Ford could undercut the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV by thousands. Mind you, the Ford does not offer an all-wheel drive option, which naturally makes it less expensive. The Toyota RAV4 Prime starts at $38,100 (before Toyota’s $1,120 destination), while the Mitsubishi comes in at $36,295 and the Subaru is $35,145.
While we haven’t tested out the 2020 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid just yet, check out the redesigned Escape in our review below!