There’s 1 Good Reason to Avoid the 2021 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid

A hybrid vehicle gives you the ability to run on gasoline and an electric motor to power your SUV. A plug-in variant adds the feature of running solely on electric power instead of using fuel. This type of model offers the best in fuel efficiency. As it turns out Ford Escape’s plug-in variant is rated number one when it comes to saving money on fuel. 

MotorTrend put out a list that shows what they feel are the top 25 SUVs with this kind of hybrid feature. The Escape rounds out the list at the No. 1 spot, but is it really the best you can buy?

What’s the problem with the plug-in model of the Ford Escape?

Being the SUV that landed the No. 1 spot on the list, you would think the Escape Plug-in Hybrid would have no huge issues against it. But, it does, and they’re some issues that Ford is addressing to get resolved quickly. There is one problem, however, that many could see as a big deal despite all of its strengths. 

While the Ford Escape’s plug-in model has an impressive 2.5-liter inline-four engine, it only has one electric motor, which powers just the front wheels. With nothing powering the rear wheels, AWD is not going to be available. 

Sure, not everyone cares to have an all-wheel-drive drivetrain, but there are some who will think it’s a deal-breaker. Especially those who live in the northern states where winter driving can get a bit tricky without the ability to switch to AWD.

Is it worth buying, then?

RELATED: U.S. News Likes the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid Over the Honda CR-V Hybrid

The most obvious feature the plug-in hybrid version of the Escape has, that puts it at the top of the list, is its fuel economy. This Ford Escape model can get up to 102 MPGe, which is very impressive for a hybrid. It can also go 37 miles on a charge before it needs to switch over to the gasoline engine. 

The price is another factor that makes it appealing to consumers. While its starting price is $33,040, you could actually get it for a bit less than that when you factor in the $6,843 tax credit. That brings the price down to around $26,000. Not bad for the No. 1 rated fuel-efficient SUV on MotorTrend’s list. 

Safety is an important feature for any vehicle, and the plug-in variant of the Escape meets that requirement nicely. IIHS tested it and gave it perfect scores in all areas except for one, which is the headlight performance. According to MotorTrend, evaluators felt they didn’t quite perform as best as they could have. 

How does the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid compare to others on the list?

The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid model surpassed all SUVs MotorTrend put on their list. It even beat out a couple of other heavy hitters in the fuel efficiency arena. One being the Toyota RAV4 Prime, which boasts 94 MPGe and uses the same engine and CVT combination as the Escape. The big difference is that you can get a rear motor with the RAV4 Prime.

Coming in third place on the list is the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, which gets an EPA estimate of 90, which is 12 MPGe shy of what the Ford Escape plug-in variant can handle. The Subaru runs on a 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder engine along with an electric motor that runs all four wheels. 

Another fuel-efficient vehicle that the Escape Plug-in Hybrid beat out is the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring. This SUV has an EPA estimate of 78 MPGe. It also has the same powertrain seen on the Escape Hybrid, except it has an electric motor powering the rear wheels, whereas the Escape Hybrid model doesn’t. 

The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid is a good choice for some drivers. But, if you live in an area that gets snow, you might want to pass on it as you won’t be getting an AWD option.