Content of the material
2022 Ford Escape Titanium Hybrid 4-Door AWD SUV
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Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Escape’s cabin, while handsomely styled and spacious for both front- and rear-seat occupants, suffers from several low-rent plastic panels, including those on the doors and lower center console. Highly textured cloth seat upholstery is standard, while higher trim levels receive either convincing faux-leather seating surfaces or genuine leather in the top-spec Titanium. Behind the Escape’s rear seat is a capacious cargo hold that provides space for up to eight carry-on suitcases, which ties its crosstown rival, the Chevrolet Equinox. We fit 21 cases with the Escape’s rear seats folded, but the Equinox held two more.
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Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The plug-in hybrid model carries a 11.2-kWh battery pack, which is good enough for an EPA-estimated 37 miles of electric-only driving. During our highway fuel economy testing, we managed 25 miles of highway driving before the battery ran out of juice and the Escape switched to gasoline power.
Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Ford Escape Hybrid a good SUV?
If you’ve decided to buy a Ford Escape and consider fuel economy to be important, then the 2022 Escape Hybrid makes a lot of sense. It isn’t particularly quick and rivals like the Honda CR-V Hybrid are faster, but it’s fairly responsive around town and the 41 mpg combined is an excellent number. With the PHEV variant, you can also travel for 37 miles on electric power alone, which is sufficient for people living closer to work. As for the rest of the Escape package, well, it’s a good rather than stellar SUV. We like the spacious seating, roomy cargo area, and easy-to-use infotainment system. However, the cabin feels a bit cheap in places and the driving experience is ordinary. But the Escape Hybrid does just enough to justify its popularity in the US market.
What’s the Escape like to drive?
Regardless of powertrain, the Escape is one of the more engaging compact crossovers to drive with a stiff chassis and a suspension just on the firm side of comfortable. Its collection of torque-rich powertrain option only heighten its athletic bent. Unfortunately, the steering is a real letdown given what we came to expect from the last Escape and other current Fords. Its power assistance is excessive and leads to an overly artificial feel. In Normal mode, the car almost seems to make subtle corrections for you through sweeping turns – we kept checking to see if the lane-keeping assist was on, but nope. Sport mode is a bit better, but you’re then stuck with less efficient engine and transmission settings.
The base 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine is a little sluggish off the line, but it comes to life as the turbo builds pressure. It feels smooth and responsive switching through the gears, and we’re glad Ford avoided putting a continuously variable transmission in here (as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester have). The more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four is certainly quicker, but it, too, can feel a little slow off the line. Once under way, passing power from the 2.0-liter is very good due to its abundance of midrange torque, and it’s rated to tow as much as 3,500 pounds.
Despite having less torque than the gas-only powertrains, the Escape Hybrid’s torque comes early, helping it get moving quickly at low rpm. Its electronic CVT can drone a bit, especially under steady acceleration, but it’s not bothersome under most driving. The Escape Plug-in Hybrid basically just turns the dial up on the regular Hybrid, with far more time spent driving under electricity, even when the all-electric range is depleted. Like other PHEVs, there are multiple powertrain modes, which let you lock out the gas engine completely, save the electric range for later (say, after a highway drive when you enter a city), or drive mostly on electricity until stronger acceleration is needed and the gas engine automatically kicks in. In any of the above, transitions and power delivery are seamless. This is a sophisticated powertrain and although the price tag and availability are obviously a concern, it’s the most appealing Escape available.
What are the Escape safety ratings and driver assistance features?
Every Escape comes standard with some of the better-executed driver assistance technology in the industry. Dubbed Ford Co-Pilot 360, the suite of standard features includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot warning and rear cross traffic warning, which are rarely standard equipment. Adaptive cruise control and lane centering are optional as part of the Co-Pilot 360+ package.
The government gave the Escape top five-star ratings for overall, frontal and side crash protections. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Escape a Top Safety Pick for its sufficiently high ratings in crash tests (all “Good” scores) and for its accident avoidance tech. A “Marginal” score in the newer, tougher IIHS side crash test, but the Mazda CX-5 was the only small SUV to net a “Good” score. The IIHS also rated the Escape’s LATCH car seat anchors Good+ and we can confirm that they are indeed very easily reached and used.