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Ford’s Escape Plug-In makes a stylish statement.

Some of my regular readers might know that I’m a fan of plug-in hybrid technology as a reasonable transition from fossil fuels (gasoline and diesel) to pure electric power. My reasoning is simple. Until we have EV chargers nearly as ubiquitous as gas pumps along with a dramatically-improved electric grid to support them, plug-in hybrids deliver the best compromise. They offer driving 30 to 40-miles around town or to work as an EV yet have the ability to travel any distance without recharge worries.

Not everyone agrees with my assessment. Elon dislikes having two sources of power under one hood. Not elegant in the Musk view. Yet everyone I knew in my former Silicon Valley haunts that owned a Tesla also owned a gas-powered car for longer trips without worry. In vivid contrast, a plug-in hybrid is like getting two cars for the price of one. And think of what you can do with the extra garage space.

Building two powerplants to fit into the same car is not an entirely un-expensive undertaking. Our Ford Escape PHEV carried a base MSRP of $40,500, about $10-grand more than the Escape ST-Line with its turbocharged 3-cylinder engine hard at work. On the other hand, it’s just a $3,000 premium over the Escape Hybrid with the potential of substantial fuel savings. In fact, if you drive on the island and plug-in at night, you may not use any gasoline.

Our Agate Black Metallic test vehicle with its black trim and 18-inch machined alloy wheels arrived with nice curb appeal. Inside, the seats were upholstered in Space Grey quilted leather with dark grey piping to connect with the center arm rest and door panels. A more uniform color throughout is offered in Ebony Black and while a triple-black Escape might be fashionable, it could get a bit toasty in our climate.


The Escort PHEV is reasonably loaded with functional and safety gear, yet our MSRP managed another $6,125 of options including a sun roof and an active parking assistance that’s sure to impress the DMV chap during your next driving test. Do they still test parallel parking? And I suppose that the long feature list brings the price and potential profit up to help cover the cost of the added battery and drive gear.

Our Escort PHEV comported itself quite well on the road, both on island as well as a jaunt over to Jacksonville. The 2.5-liter engine makes a modest 163 HP but since an electric motor is also in play, the total system power is a very reasonable 210. At full throttle inputs, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) lets you know it’s doing the work of acceleration, but it gets the job done.


The Escape competes in the Compact SUV class and does just fine in this segment by offering well-tailored styling and a roomy interior along with reasonably crisp driving characteristics. Other rivals in this plug-in hybrid category include the bit smaller and less expensive KIA Niro, Toyota’s RAV4 Prime and as long as we’re in $40-grand territory, Mitsubishi’s Outlander.

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