Hybrids & Electrics

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid Beats the Toyota Highlander?

Are we sleeping on the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid? It’s possible because the Ford Escape Hybrid just outranked the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and that’s pretty shocking news. Let’s dig into what the Escape has on the Highlander. 

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid vs. the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

According to U.S. News, the 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid is the Best Hybrid or Electric SUV for 2021. It beat the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which landed in second place. The Escape beat the Highlander even though it ranks as a Best Car for Families. 

A blue 2021 Ford Escape compact SUV travels on a winding road through pine trees
2021 Ford Escape | Ford Motor Company

Also, the 2021 Ford Explorer Hybrid came in last place. Honorable mentions such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Toyota Venza haven’t been ranked yet. So, we will keep an eye on this list while rankings change. But why is the Escape Hybrid currently considered to be the best option? 

Why is the Escape Hybrid #1? 

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid is a well-rounded SUV that excels in multiple areas. It’s spacious, has carlike handling, and is pretty safe. But it only has two rows instead of three, like the 2021 Toyota Highlander. 

You can get started in the Escape Hybrid for about $27,605. The Highlander Hybrid begins at around $38,150. So, you can save about $10,000 if you don’t need that third row. Also, these prices are before the destination fees, and dealership markups have been added. 

RELATED: You Could Do a Lot Worse Than the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid gets an EPA estimated 44 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The Highlander Hybrid gets an EPA estimated 36 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. But the Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 lbs while the Escape Hybrid can only tow 1,500 lb. 

With the Escape Hybrid, you get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor to pump out 200 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. The Highlander Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with an electric motor to provide 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. 

According to Edmunds, the Escape Hybrid can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, has excellent handling and responsive brakes. The ride is pretty smooth, but it lacks convenience features such as ventilated seats that rivals have. 

Edmunds noted that the Highlander Hybrid can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. It isn’t exactly athletic, but power is readily available, and it has a pretty smooth ride that’s free of wind noise in the cabin. 

Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid features 

The 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid has a comfortable interior with plenty of space for passengers. There are 34.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, with up to 65.4 cubic feet total.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has great passenger space too, but the third row is definitely for children only. There are 16.0 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, with up to 84.3 cubic feet total. 

A metallic-red 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid midsize crossover SUV traveling on a road in a park with green grass and trees
2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum Hybrid AWD in Ruby Flare Pearl | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

With the Escape Hybrid, you get an 8.0-inch infotainment system. The Highlander Hybrid also comes with a standard 8-inch system. But Edmunds mentions how the Highlander trails behind rivals in terms of tech functionality. Both SUVs come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Also, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid are both very safe. Standard safety features include forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance.