2021 Ford Escape vs. 2021 Honda CR-V: Which New Hybrid SUV Did Consumer Reports Pick?

If you’re shopping for a new hybrid SUV, chances are you’ve got both the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid and the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid on your list of vehicles to check out. But of the two, which does Consumer Reports recommended buying? Let’s find out.

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid vs. 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Reliability

A red 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid SUV parked
2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid | Honda

There’s no beating around the bush here. Hybrid or not, the Honda CR-V is known for reliability. Consumer Reports gave this year’s model a four out of five predicted reliability rating, which is a near-perfect score. Such a high score isn’t all that unusual for the CR-V, either. In fact, plenty of model years have earned either a four or five out of five reliability rating.

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. In fact, Consumer Reports gave this year’s model a lowly one out of five predicted reliability rating. According to the organization, the hybrid SUV’s most common trouble spots include minor transmission problems, body integrity issues, and problems with the SUV’s power equipment.

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid vs. 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Road tests

A blue 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid driving
2021 Ford Escape Hybrid | Ford

Chances are, you want to enjoy driving your next vehicle. And why not? After all, you’ll be spending a decent chunk of change on it. You should enjoy driving it then too. The good news is that while the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid’s ride “skews firm,” it’s still pretty enjoyable to drive. It even offers up sporty handling and responsive steering. 

The 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid, on the other hand, is a hybrid SUV that might leave you wanting more. The engine revs high in some situations, making for a “droning whine” that Consumer Reports wasn’t exactly fond of. It also feels slow and isn’t particularly sporty to drive, unlike the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid.

“The Escape has traditionally been one of the more sporty-handling SUVs. That continues with this generation and carries over to the Hybrid version. It’s much more enjoyable to drive than the CR-V, thanks to its well-contained body lean and quick steering response.”

Consumer Reports

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid vs. 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Safety features

Safety is key when it comes to shopping for a new SUV. Fortunately, both of these hybrid SUVs take safety pretty seriously. In fact, the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid is standard with Honda Sensing, which includes driver-assist features like a lane-keeping assist system, a collision mitigation braking system, a road departure mitigation system, and adaptive cruise control. With so many safety features to its name, it’s no surprise the CR-V Hybrid is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid doesn’t lack in the safety department either. All models are standard with Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology, which includes safety features like pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot warning system with cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-keeping system. Much like the CR-V Hybrid, the Ford Escape is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick for the 2021 model year.

2021 Ford Escape Hybrid vs. 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Interior amenities

The interior of the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid
2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid interior. | Honda

Now, let’s talk about interior amenities. According to Consumer Reports, it’s the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid that has the edge here, especially if you opt for the EX trims and above. There are soft touches throughout the interior. “The power driver and passenger seats in the EX are very comfortable, with four-way adjustable lumbar support, which is unusual among compact SUVs. Visibility is also very good,” Consumer Reports added.

As for the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid? Unfortunately, its interior is a disappointment. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, its interior feels pretty cheap. It’s loaded with plastic, Consumer Reports found visible gaps between interior trim panels, and its seats are pretty basic. That’s not exactly a winning recommendation.

Which hybrid SUV did Consumer Reports pick?

In the end, it’s the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid that Consumer Reports picked. While the Ford Escape Hybrid offers a more enjoyable ride, the CR-V Hybrid has a better interior. It’s also significantly more reliable than its Ford competition. But does that mean the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid is the best choice for you? Not necessarily. To find out, we recommend taking this year’s model out for a spin.

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