The Struggling Ford Escape Wins a Spot on This List of the Best Hybrid Vehicles of 2021

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Ford makes market-dominating pickup trucks, but not everything else the Blue Oval makes sells well. That’s the case with the Escape, which isn’t selling so hot in the compact SUV segment. Despite the model’s weak sales, the 2021 Ford Escape hybrid just took home an award for the best plug-in hybrid SUV of the year

Ford’s compact SUV has had better years

2021 Ford Escape | Ford Motor Company

Frankly, the Ford Escape has seen better sales in years past. According to GoodCarBadCar, from 2013 to 2017, the automaker sold about 300,000 Escapes every year, and that was a significant improvement over previous years. However, in 2018, sales began slipping. In 2018, they dropped to about 270,000 units, and in 2019, they fell to 240,000.

Then the 2020 pandemic struck, and, predictably, sales fell even further. Ford sold only about 180,000 Escapes in 2020. and so far this year, this compact SUV’s sales don’t look to be doing much better. For example, in June, Ford sold just under 9,000 Escapes. But in June 2020, Ford sold about 15,000. Overall, in the first six months of 2021, the automaker sold only about 85,000 Escapes. 

That isn’t a good sign because the Escape’s rivals, including the Toyota RAV4, are selling well. For example, in the first quarter of 2021, the RAV4 sold over 110,000 units. That means Toyota sold more RAV4s in three months than Ford sold in six. So the Escape has a tough road ahead of it. But fortunately, it might be one of the best plug-in hybrid SUVs out there.

The 2021 Ford Escape PHEV is the best in its class

According to Good Housekeeping, the best hybrid vehicles this year include the Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, and Kia Niro. Many of the winners aren’t surprising, especially the CR-V. In fact, the CR-V sells much better than the Escape, though not as well as the best-selling RAV4. 

However, Good Housekeeping gave the CR-V the win for regular hybrid SUVs. Though Ford offers the Escape with a regular hybrid powertrain, the Escape PHEV ultimately won in the non-luxury PHEV SUV category. Similarly, the Audi Q5 was Good Housekeeping’s winner in the luxury PHEV SUV category. In any case, though the Escape isn’t selling as well as many of its compact crossover competitors, the Escape PHEV definitely deserves that win.

An overview of the 2021 Ford Escape PHEV

One of the main advantages of a PHEV over a regular hybrid powertrain is the battery-only mode. According to Good Housekeeping wrote, the Escape PHEV can go about 37 miles on battery-only mode, and that’s enough for most commutes. Of course, drivers can also get some great fuel economy when the PHEV’s engine works with its electric motors.

In fact, the Escape PHEV gets about 100 MPGe, far more than most gas-powered cars get. Fuel economy aside, the Escape PHEV excels in other ways, too. For example, Good Housekeeping loves how spacious and roomy it is for passengers and cargo. On top of that, GH praises the Escape PHEV for its “comfortable ride” and “composed driving experience.”

The Ford Escape PHEV also comes with an easy-to-use infotainment system and plenty of standard smart safety features. And because the Escape PHEV starts at about $33,000, it’s a relatively affordable SUV that many families can enjoy.

RELATED: The 2020 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Breaks New Fuel Efficiency Ground

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