The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Shares First Place With This 2020 Ford Model

If you are looking for a good hybrid SUV and you may not be sure which models need to be on your shortlist. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid need to be on your list of SUVs to check out. In fact, they share the No. 1 spot on the U.S. News and World Report‘s 10 Best Hybrid and Electric SUVs for 2021.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid SE
Blue Ford Escape Hybrid SE | Ford

The Ford Escape hybrid compact SUV takes the top spot but shares a high score with the Toyota’s Highlander hybrid crossover SUV. Let’s take a look at these two crossovers. What makes them both such good hybrid SUV options?

Is the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid a good SUV?

For anyone that is in the market for a good hybrid SUV, the Highlander is a great one to look at. However, it is on the more expensive side. That said, it does have higher-quality cabin materials than many other options in the class––including the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid.

A photo of the 2020 Toyota Highlander outdoors.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

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Another edge it has over the Ford Escape hybrid compact SUV is the seating options offered by the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. However, just because the Highlander has a few advantages over the Ford Escape does not mean that the Ford option is not also a good hybrid SUV.

The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid provides a good amount of cargo space, three rows of seating, and a comfortable ride quality. In addition, it boasts impeccable fuel economy for its capability. Also, the Highlander hybrid crossover SUV shares the top spot on the U.S. News list with the Escape. So that makes it one of the best hybrid and electric SUVs for 2021.

The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid is a formidable opponent for the popular Highlander

Toyota models draw thousands of buyers each year. However, there are some Ford models that compete well against their Toyota opponents. Like the Ford F-150 pickup truck provides more than enough competition for the Toyota Tundra, the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid all but dominates the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

A Silver 2020 Ford Hybrid Escape
A 2020 Ford Hybrid Escape | George Rose/Getty Images

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U.S. News appreciates the Ford Escape hybrid compact for its long list of safety and tech features that come standard on the entry-level model. This 2020 Ford model also costs about $10,000 less than the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid starts at $28,300. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,410.

The Ford Escape hybrid compact SUV is a great option for those who want to seat up to 5 passengers and don’t mind sacrificing a bit on cabin quality to save some money. It uses a hybrid system mated with a V6 engine for excellent fuel economy. The choice will, in the end, primarily come down to how many rows of seating fits your household best.

The most important feature for a good hybrid SUV

Both the 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid are the best hybrid and electric SUVs for 2021 according to U.S. News. But what makes a hybrid so appealing? Great fuel economy.

Second Row Interior of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota Highlander Hybrid interior | Toyota

Gas mileage numbers are, arguably, what matters most in this class. When it comes to finding a good hybrid SUV, we want a well-rounded vehicle with plenty of features and fuel-sipping stats. The 2020 Ford model gets 44 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Toyota’s Highlander hybrid crossover SUV gets 36 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg on the highway. While the Escape appears to dominate, keep in mind that the Highlander seats up to 8 people in three rows.