By on December 10, 2019

2020 Ford Escape

The Mustang Mach-E isn’t yet available for public consumption, leaving a trio of hybrid SUVs as the brand’s electrified vanguard. For 2020, the Escape returns to its hybrid past, joined by the newly electrified Explorer and its plug-in Lincoln Aviator twin.

EPA figures have been revealed for all of these beasts, so let’s take a look at what gas savings that additional expenditure can get you.

The hybrid Escape utilizes Ford’s venerable 2.5-liter four-cylinder; an Atkinson-cycle unit in this guise. Mated to the four-banger is an electric motor juiced by a 1.1 kWh battery pack. Combined output is 200 horsepower, with output funnelled to the drive wheels through a continuously variable automatic.

A plug-in hybrid variant due next year will surely up the model’s green appeal, but for now it’s your only fuel-sipping choice (barring the 1.5-liter three-cylinder base model). In front-drive form, the Escape Hybrid earns an EPA rating of 44 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 41 mpg combined. Saddle the model with all-wheel drive and the figures drop slightly to 43/37/40.

In comparison, the gas-only three-cylinder Escape returns 27/33/30 in front-drive guise, which is considerable in its own right. Previously rated, the 2020 Explorer Hybrid doesn’t crest the 30 mpg mark; it’s thirst comes in at 27/29/28 for the front-drive model. Shave off 3 mpg to get the AWD stats.

Image: Ford

Moving far up the MSRP ladder lies the Aviator, which opts for potency and panache with its hybrid offering. With 494 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Aviator plug-in is a green hot rod that demands big bucks. Exclusivity is provided by having the plug-in Explorer relegated to the overseas market.

According to the EPA, the electrified Aviator — available only with AWD — returns 23 mpg when the model’s 13.6 kWh battery pack is kept in reserve, pushing the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 to the forefront. Operating as a conventional hybrid, the Aviator bests its gas-only stablemates by 2 or 3 mpg, depending on whether the challenger is FWD or AWD.

With the electric reserves brought online, that figure rockets to the equivalent of 56 mpg (MPGe) — not bad for a midsize, high-zoot utility vehicle. It may take a while to recoup the added sticker via gasoline purchases, however, as the cheapest Aviator hybrid starts just a tick below the $70k marker.

[Images: Ford]

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36 Comments on “MPG Figures Are In for Ford’s Greenest Utility Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Not sure why the Escape hybrid was discontinued, perhaps some on here can opine. Not sure take rate is the answer as they are cabbie favorites and seem to be durable.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      I always suspect it was a battery production limitation issue. Ford appeared to go all out with the Ford Fusion hybrid (+ C-max) in its latest generation versus the Fusion’s first gen when the Escape hybrid was also available. The Escape hybrid would have probably also overlapped to much with the C-Max’s intended market.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Ford gave two reasons at the time, first and foremost it was to leave room for the C-Max in the lineup and secondly the new Ecoboost engines gave hwy mpg numbers that weren’t too far off of the outgoing Hybrid. Never mind that in the real world of mixed driving it was much lower than the old Hybrid.

  • avatar
    dima

    Same with Cmax hybrid. Starting from 2015 it was a very reliable car. It also gave a good milage and actually fun to drive. Trunk space was not great, but not terrible as with Energy. I know the reason it got canned, but still, it was a good car, a hell lot better than Prius. I know, I had them both.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    ” gas-only three-cylinder Escape”

    What Escape model has three cylinders?

    ” 494 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque”

    Holy crap that’s a lot of power for a vehicle the Aviator’s size.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      A 1.5L I3 is the volume engine for most Escape models starting in 2020. It feels like most 1.5L turbo engines (whack of low end torque, nothing in the higher end, 0-60 in 8-9ish seconds), but sounds a little peculiar.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      What Maymar said. Quite frankly, most people in the Escape’s audience probably won’t notice that they have a three-banger.

      The S and SE come exclusively with the 1.5-liter I3 EcoBoost, and either standard FWD or optional AWD.

      The SEL comes with the I3 EcoBoost and FWD or extra-cost AWD, but give you the option of upgrading to a 2.0-liter I4 EcoBoost with standard AWD.

      The SE Sport Hybrid and Titanium come with the a 2.5-liter N/A hybrid powertrain. The hybrid setup appears to be FWD-only, which is in contrast to the RAV4 Hybrid and its electric-only rear axle that makes it AWD-by-wire.

      The Titanium, like the SEL, also lets you choose the 2.0-liter I4 EcoBoost/AWD combo.

      And of course, there’s the upcoming PHEV powertrain, which will mate the 2.5-liter hybrid configuration with a bigger battery for all-electric range. I’m not sure if that one will be AWD or not, but the RAV4 Prime will be.

      I think Ford has a competent powertrain lineup here for the target audience; the only question is longevity for the EcoBoost engines, especially the turbo-I3.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        My daughter has a 2017 Escape, but hers is a Titanium and has the 2.0 turbo. She already got a speeding ticket.

        I’ve showed her how to check the oil, but if I asked her how many cylinders it has I doubt she knows.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        From the article “the Escape Hybrid earns an EPA rating of 44 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 41 mpg combined. Saddle the model with all-wheel drive and the figures drop slightly to 43/37/40.” So I’d say yeah it is available with AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Please, don’t offer to me any 3cyl engines. I would rather ride on 2 cyls

  • avatar
    Dan

    Um, gas is 2.29. These cars are every bit as out of step with reality as the V8 body on frame lineups were in 2008.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I paid $2.18 day before yesterday yet for some reason I don’t see the same doomsday prophets complaining in 2009 about automakers not being prepared to sell the right cars for high gas prices going around today complaining that manufacturers not selling the right equipment for the current gas market. Odd how that works.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Some people just like using less gas. That’s certainly my attraction. Saving money during the next gas spike is a bonus.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’m not sure what’s with the sudden moderation I keep hitting…

      I paid $2.18 day before yesterday, yet for some reason I don’t see the same d00msday pr0phets complaining in 2009 about automakers not being prepared to sell the right cars for high gas prices, going around today complaining that manufacturers not selling the right equipment for the current gas market. Odd how that works.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Perhaps it has to do with cars “built for the current gas market” become a burden to their owners potentially in the event of a market shift to higher priced fuels, while cars built for the higher priced market aren’t really impacted when gas becomes cheap. Not really odd at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          The Prius didn’t suddenly become best seller in 2009.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            It did in my state and California with our much higher than national average fuel prices. I paid over $3 gal at Costco the other day.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            how much of that is “false economy” though? e.g. spending more on a new car payment than they’d save on gas.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I paid $3.99 for premium (required by my Legend) at an in-city station the other day.

            I then drove said Legend to the airport to pick up an arriving relative. There was a queue of cars to get into the Uber pickup area. I counted 14 straight Prius variants at one point in the queue.

            These things are related.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      I live in SoCal and paid $3.75 for regular this morning.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yes, the reality is that gas is cheap right now. Reality has a way of changing, though.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it’s overblown anyway. I think (some) people learned in 2007 that even if gas spikes up to $4+/gallon, it’s still not that expensive. Certainly not worth taking a bath dumping your current vehicle and buying a new one.

        and even then, if the doomsayers are correct and gas prices shoot up causing people to buy fewer trucks and large SUVs, it’ll be things like this they go to and not cheap little hatchbacks.

        all those people who think small cars will somehow magically become profitable/lucrative need a reality check.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Steph, the 2WD Explorer is RWD, not FWD.

    The new Escape Hybrid, like the old one, is going to be a mainstay of Uber and taxi fleets. It and the RAV4 Hybrid will have the lowest TCO of any CUV in high-utilization service.

    We’ll see how the Explorer powertrain does in terms of reliability. If it’s as reliable as previous Ford powertrains, then it’ll probably peel off a bunch of Highlander Hybrid owners who aren’t interested in the neutered, four-cylinder 2020 Highlander Hybrid.

    The Aviator is just silly d!ck-waving.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Not to mention gov’t fleets will be buying up lots of the Escape Hybrids again.

      Well the Aviator is the only way to get a plug on that platform in the US. Unfortunately the pack seems to be the same one used in the Escape and range suffers.

      Hopefully the power train is as reliable as the previous Ford Hybrids.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    None of these numbers are impressive.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    No word on the Corsair PHEV? Very excited about that.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s a 2021 model, so not yet.

      Once both of them are out it will be interesting to see a comparison between it and the inevitable Lexus version of the RAV4 Prime.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Regarding the information on the Lincoln, and in general, MPGe is an absolutely useless metric. It is emission-based given some obscure basis of where the electricity comes from, and has nothing to do with combined range or fuel efficiency. They should show electric range from a full charge and put that next to the standard MPG measurements.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      MPGe is not “emission-based” and I wish you wouldn’t just make stuff up. It’s a straightforward conversion of units of energy. One gallon of gas has roughly the same energy content as 33.7 kWh of electricity. For pure electric vehicles, MPGe is just measuring miles per 33.7 kWh of electricity pulled from the wall (thus “MPG equivalent”).

      It gets more complicated with PHEVs because the MPGe number takes into account both the time when the car is running on electricity and when it is running on gas, and every owner will have a different percentage of time and mileage spent on electricity. I’d find it more useful to see an MPG number on gas and an MPGe number on electricity, and make my own calculation about how to weigh the two.

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        Yeah, and with a thermal power plant running at an average 40% efficiency, the approx 34 kWh per gallon of coal pit tar crude fed to it produces perhaps 12kWh at the plug after transmission and distribution losses.

        So MPGe is the very height of projected mental conceit and misdirection of the uneducated. It’s political. It equates two entirely separate things because the dopes who promote EVs cannot really face reality because it would spoil their agendas of society changing over to EVs, so they are forced into making false comparisons in an attempt to change reality or influence the average dope. It’s like rewriting history – revisionism.

        How far does an EV go on 12kWh compared to a gas vehicle running on 34 “potential” kWh from a gallon of gas — THAT should be the real metric, otherwise why bother to train engineers in thermodynamics in the first place? Or do you want us to be dopes too?

        MPGe is English/History/Arts graduate non-technical-in-the-extreme stacked-deck green puffery, probably dreamt up by people who know the average citizen is a total technical dunce and will believe anything fed them by “authority”. Or maybe it’s worse than that – imagine if the people who put out MPGe as a metric actually believe their own bullsh!t. That’s unreality carried to its illogical conclusion.

        Sure, I know the usual protest will surface that solar and wind are carbon-free, but when you hook an AC generator of any kind to the grid, it’s impossible to tell where the energy was input when some is withdrawn elsewhere. Another thing most people cannot grasp because they equate a DC battery circuit to an AC circuit. They are totally different. Another reason why society trains engineers – someone has to debunk nonsense and understand what’s really going on.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It’s one thing to adjust MPGe for the efficiency of the particular power mix in a given place. That would be useful information.

          It’s quite another to pretend 40% is the best you’re going to do. Only coal is that bad, and it won’t be providing energy in the US for much longer. Gas is closer to 60%, and of course it doesn’t really matter for solar, wind, or hydro. As an example, the utility that provides my power gets 97% of it (and increasing) from hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear. MPGe significantly understates the environmental benefit of driving an electric car in my area, but it’s useful as a cost-measuring device.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      MPGe is in a sense emission based. That metric was developed to be used in CAFE calculations, both for full electric and plug in hybrids. While CAFE was originally all about reducing dependence on foreign oil, it is now very much about CO2 and the better MPG the lower the CO2 g/mi.

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