Through four generations, the Ford Escape has been a fixture in Canada’s compact crossover SUV segment. An all-new fourth-generation model arrived in 2020 with the Escape’s first hybrid powertrains since 2007.
What’s New/Key Changes From Last Year
For 2021, Ford has expanded the availability of the Escape’s gas-electric hybrid drivetrain: it’s now available in all but the base trim level where last year it was limited to the top-end Titanium version. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant is now on offer, too; it was originally meant to go on sale last year but production delays meant it only reached showrooms as a 2021 model.
Ford offers the Escape in S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels. S, SE and SEL are standard with a 1.5L three-cylinder turbo, which comes with front- or all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Optional in SE and SEL and standard in Titanium is the conventional hybrid powertrain, which matches electric power with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable transmission, and front- or all-wheel drive. These three can further be optioned with a PHEV system that uses the same drivetrain, but with a small boost in power output and some all-electric driving range.
Finally, SEL and Titanium also offer a conventional 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine that’s standard with AWD and an eight-speed automatic.
S trim comes dressed in 17-inch steel wheels with plastic covers and black door handles. Inside, there’s air conditioning, a 4.2-inch digital driver info display, power windows, auto on/off headlights, and a six-speaker stereo.
Escape’s standard safety package comprises forward collision alert with automatic braking, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
SE adds 17-inch alloys, passive keyless entry, Sync 3 infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated front seats, and body-colour door handles. SE Hybrid adds dual-zone A/C, and a 6.5-inch driver info screen. SE PHEV gets 18-inch wheels.
SEL gets 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic A/C, an extra two cupholders (for eight total), a heated steering wheel, remote engine start, a 10-way power driver’s seat, ActiveX upholstery, heated side mirrors, LED signature lighting, a power tailgate, backup sensors, and fog lights. SEL Hybrid gains a 6.5-inch driver info display.
Titanium trim’s additions are adaptive cruise with stop-and-go, 19-inch wheels, a digital gauge cluster, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient cabin lighting, active park assist, a universal garage door remote, a 10-speaker B&O sound system, navigation, power front passenger seat adjustments, chrome exterior trim, black roof rails, hands-free tailgate operation, LED headlights and fog lights, and rain-sensing wipers. Titanium PHEV downgrades to 18-inch wheels.
SE options include a cold weather package that heats the steering wheel and adds dual-zone A/C, heated side mirrors and remote engine start. An SE convenience package brings a power driver’s seat, dual-zone A/C, and a power tailgate.
An SEL tech package brings a 10-speaker stereo, hands-free tailgate, digital gauges, and wireless smartphone charging.
Titanium offers an elite package with nickel-painted wheels, skid plates, head-up display, chrome grille, panoramic sunroof, perforated leather seating, and wireless smartphone charging.
The panoramic sunroof is also a stand-alone option in most Escape trim levels.
A Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package adds adaptive cruise with stop-and-go, evasive steering assist, navigation, and SiriusXM Traffic/Travel Link.
Ford’s fuel consumption estimates for the Escape are 8.5/6.8 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 1.5L engine and FWD, and 9.0/7.6 with AWD. With the 2.0L/AWD combo, ratings are 10.4/7.5 L/100 km.
Hybrid ratings are 5.4/6.3 L/100 km (city/highway) with FWD, and 5.5/6.4 L/100 km with AWD.
As of this writing, Ford had not published estimates for the Escape’s PHEV powertrain.
The Ford Escape’s main competitors are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson. This little crossover also competes with the Nissan Rogue, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, the Jeep Compass and Cherokee, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Outlander.