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2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review

After nearly a decade away, the Ford Escape Hybrid returns for 2020 and places in the middle of our hybrid and electric SUV rankings. It's smooth, enjoyable to drive, and comes packed with lots of convenient standard features. However, some rivals have nicer cabins.

Pros & Cons

  • Capable, easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Lots of standard safety features
  • Spacious, quiet cabin
  • Polished performance
  • Interior materials quality is mixed
  • Maximizing rear-seat legroom impinges on cargo area




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 7.0
Safety: 9.9
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Ford Escape Hybrid?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Ford Escape Hybrid a Good SUV?

Yes, the Escape Hybrid is a good SUV that sits in the middle of our hybrid and electric SUV rankings. It earns praise for its extensive set of standard equipment, including a full suite of high-tech safety features.

This compact crossover also stands out for its performance. Similar to the nonhybrid Ford Escape, which we cover in a separate review, the hybrid model has responsive handling, a comfortable ride, and a polished powertrain. By comparison, the gas-only Escape has a lower starting price, more rear-seat legroom, and the ability to haul more cargo. However, all versions of this compact SUV receive mild complaints related to some lower-quality cabin materials.

Should I Buy the Ford Escape Hybrid?

You should buy the Escape Hybrid if you want a fuel-efficient compact hybrid crossover that looks and drives like a traditional SUV. Few other electrified vehicles are similar in size. Of these, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid reigns as one of the best. Other well-rounded SUVs that are thrifty on fuel include the nonhybrid RAV4, the Subaru Forester, and the Mazda CX-5.

Compare the Escape Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, and Forester »

Should I Buy a New or Used Ford Escape Hybrid?

You have to buy a new Escape Hybrid if you want to own the latest version of this SUV. Though this isn't an all-new vehicle, Ford hasn't produced an Escape Hybrid since the 2012 model year.

If you're considering an older vehicle, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

We Did the Research for You: 9 Reviews Analyzed

Our Ford Escape Hybrid review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from nine sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Ford Escape Hybrid Cost?

The hybrid version of the Ford Escape is available in two trim levels and has a starting price of about $28,300. We go into more detail in our Which Ford Escape Hybrid Model Is Right for Me? section below.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

Ford Escape Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Ford Escape Hybrid or Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

Both the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid are good options in our hybrid and electric SUV rankings. One of the biggest differences between the two is cargo space. The RAV4 trounces the Escape in this category – with 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats versus the Ford's 30.7. Compared to the Toyota, however, the Ford has 1 extra inch of rear-seat legroom with the rear seats slid back. We recommend spending a little time in each to see which one fits your household best.

Which Is Better: Ford Escape Hybrid or Honda CR-V?

A hybrid version of the Honda CR-V is on the horizon, but the gas-only CR-V is worth buying now. It has one of the highest fuel economy ratings among nonhybrid compact SUVs. You can save around $3,800 by picking the CR-V, and though it doesn't come with as many standard features as the Escape, picking a similarly equipped Honda still costs about $1,000 less. Toss in the CR-V's larger back seat and bigger cargo area, and it stands out as a clear winner in this matchup.

Compare the Escape Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, and CR-V »

Escape Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the Escape Hybrid Seat?

The Ford Escape Hybrid is a two-row SUV with five seats. The front seats offer a great view of the road, and drivers get 10-way power adjustments to find the ideal driving position. Even though it loses a little bit of rear-seat legroom to make way for its batteries, the Escape Hybrid has a fairly roomy second row when you slide the seats all the way back. Legroom is cramped for tall back-seat travelers when their seats are in their forward-most position.

Escape Hybrid and Child Car Seats

The rear seat has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. The middle seat has a tether anchor, and it can borrow lower anchors from the adjoining seats, as long as the anchors aren't already in use.

Escape Hybrid Interior Quality

The interior has attractive styling, and the gauge cluster and infotainment system display showcase crisp graphics. Detracting from an otherwise pleasant cabin are some lower quality materials and a few items with a so-so build quality.

Escape Hybrid Cargo Space

Because of its lithium-ion battery pack, the Escape Hybrid can't carry quite as much as the nonhybrid Ford Escape, but there's still a decent amount of room on hand. Behind the rear seats there is 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Sliding the rear seats forward increases this space to 34.4 cubic feet, which is above average for a compact SUV. The Escape's maximum cargo capacity of 60.8 cubic feet – achieved by folding the 60/40 split rear seat – isn't as generous. A power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate are optional.

Escape Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Every Escape Hybrid comes with Ford's SYNC 3 system. The interface has a slight learning curve, but there are lots of connectivity features, starting with user favorites like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system also connects to Waze and Alexa for voice-activated directions and connecting with your smart home devices. It even has Amazon In-Car Delivery, so Amazon can drop off packages and lock them in your SUV.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Few interior enhancements are available, but among them, professional reviewers recommend the 10-speaker Band & Olufsen sound system. It comes standard in the Titanium trim. A voice-activated navigation system and a panoramic moonroof are also available.

Read more about interior »

Escape Hybrid Performance

Escape Hybrid Powertrain: Refined and Relatively Lively

In the Escape lineup, you don't have to give up performance for the sake of fuel efficiency just because you get a hybrid. Escape Hybrid models get up to speed with relative ease, and the transitions between the gasoline engine and the electric motor are smooth.

The standard hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine, an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery pack, and a CVT (a type of automatic transmission). Ford estimates the Escape Hybrid to have a 198 combined horsepower rating.

In early 2020, a plug-in-hybrid powertrain will also be available in the Escape lineup. It will have similar components to the standard hybrid – but with a larger battery pack that enables electric-only driving – as well as a higher combined output of 209 horsepower.

Escape Hybrid Gas Mileage: Official Ratings Forthcoming

The official fuel economy rating from the EPA is still pending for both the hybrid and plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) models.

Ford projects that the PHEV will be able to drive about 30 miles on all-electric power with a full charge. A Level 1 and Level 2 charging port is standard on this model. Recharging the PHEV's lithium-ion battery pack takes 10 to 11 hours with a Level 1 charge (household-style power outlet), or about 3.5 hours with a Level 2 charge, according to Ford.

Escape Hybrid Ride and Handling: Comfortable and Slightly Sporty

The Escape Hybrid earns lots of praise for having a good ride quality, little body roll, and easy steering. In fact, it drives much like the gas-only Ford Escape: lightly playful and sporty. Even the regenerative brakes feel like normal brakes, with no sponginess or grabbiness. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Escape Hybrid Towing Capacity

The hybrid and plug-in-hybrid Escape models can tow up to 1,500 pounds. In comparison, a properly equipped gas-only Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Escape Hybrid Reliability

Is the Ford Escape Hybrid Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Escape Hybrid a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is above average.

Ford Escape Hybrid Warranty

Ford Motor Company covers its vehicles with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Escape Hybrid Safety

Escape Hybrid Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Escape Hybrid.

Escape Hybrid Safety Features

Every Escape comes with Co-Pilot360. This collection of safety features contains Curve Control (which manages your speed when you approach a curve), forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, a rearview camera, and the SOS Post-Crash Alert System, which turns on the hazard lights and honks the horn to notify others of your location. Post-collision braking is also standard.

Available driver assistance features include a head-up display, rear parking sensors, active park assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane centering, and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control.

Read more about safety »

Escape Hybrid Dimensions and Weight

The Escape Hybrid is 15 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,554 to 3,884 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Built?

Ford builds the Escape Hybrid in Kentucky.

Which Ford Escape Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

For the best value, we recommend going with the SE Sport Hybrid, which is the base model. It comes with an appealing set of standard features and costs about $5,200 less than the other available trim, the Titanium.

Both trims come with a powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter engine with an electric motor and a CVT (a type of automatic transmission). This setup has an estimated 198-horespower rating. Early next year, a plug-in hybrid variant is expected to join the group.

You can also get an Escape without the hybrid powertrain. Prices for the gasoline engine-powered version start around $24,900. See our separate Ford Escape review for more details.

Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid

The SE Sport Hybrid comes with cloth upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, a four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat, automatic climate control, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Its base infotainment system has an 8-inch touch screen, the SYNC 3 interface, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six speakers, and satellite radio. Also standard is proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and the Co-Pilot360 collection of advanced safety systems. Prices start at $28,255.

Ford Escape Hybrid Titanium

While the Titanium trim comes standard with the hybrid powertrain, you can also opt for a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine from the nonhybrid Ford Escape, which we review separately.

In addition to the features that come in the SE Sport, the Titanium gets leather-trimmed front bucket seats, a six-way power adjustable front passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free liftgate, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Additional tech features include a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, ambient lighting, remote start, and a universal garage door opener. This trim also has rear parking sensors, active park assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane centering, and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control. Prices for the Titanium start at $33,400.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

See 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid doesn't stand out, but that may be a good thing for this SUV. In other words, you get its fuel-saving advantages without any major differences in performance versus the nonhybrid Escape. In addition to its enjoyable handling, this compact crossover comes with an impressive set of standard safety features, lots of user-friendly tech goodies, and a decent amount of interior space.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "While we have yet to sample the CR-V, it's clear Ford's Euro-influenced styling will allow it to stand somewhat apart. While the gas-only Escapes didn't quite scratch our itch, the better execution, increased refinement, and holistic execution of the hybrid would seem to make it the sweet spot for Ford buyers in this segment." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "In our first drive of the conventionally powered Escape, we called the 1.5L EcoBoost I-3 the sweet spot of the lineup. But debatably, that honor could instead fall to the Hybrid, which offers more power, instant torque, less vibration from the engine compartment, similar driving dynamics, and improved fuel economy. … While we did miss some of the EcoBoost Escape's boisterous turbo rush, the quieter and more efficient whoosh of electric power was pleasant in its own right. There's a lot to like about this electrified SUV." -- Truck Trend
  • "The Escape faces tough competition from the aforementioned Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but with its refined powertrain, great driving dynamics and huge loadout of tech, it's well positioned to be a top contender." -- CNET
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