Arriving 18 months later than originally intended, the Escape plug-in hybrid will provide Ford with the model it needs to feed Australia’s hybrid-hungry market.
The 2022 Ford Escape midsize SUV will finally receive a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant to bolster its line-up before July next year, offering the ability to drive up to 56km exclusively on electric power.
Originally intended to arrive when the all-new Escape launched in Australia in October 2020, the PHEV has been hit by a series of setbacks as part of an industry-wide struggle to secure critical parts, as well as some early battery-cooling issues that have since been resolved.
Ford will be hoping to lure some buyers away from popular rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which has been so inundated with demand that wait lists stretch out for months.
Ben Nightingale, product communications manager at Ford Australia, told Chasing Cars that a launch date has been locked in despite these issues.
“Our biggest challenge has been supply constraints in the current environment,” he said, adding “we’re excited to bring Escape PHEV to Australia as soon as we can.”
The Escape PHEV will come to Australia in mid-spec ST-Line form, with the price currently set at $52,940 (before on-road costs) though this was announced over a year ago and may change before launch.
It features a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 123kW of power combined with an electric motor to produce a total of 167kW. A torque figure is not stated but we can reasonably estimate it would produce around 300Nm in combined driving.
Ford says the Escape can travel up to 56 kilometres using pure electric power according to the more accurate WLTP testing criteria – enough for most city drivers to complete the daily commute.
Drivers can expect to use around 1.5L/100km in combined conditions when using both the petrol and electric motor. That figure is slightly more frugal than the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV at 1.9L/100km in the same conditions.
Once the battery is completely empty, drivers can plug the Escape PHEV into a standard wall socket and expect it to be fully charged in around four hours.
The arrival of a plug-in hybrid option will give the Escape a much-needed second powertrain option alongside the 2.0-litre ‘Ecoboost’ turbo-petrol four-cylinder that produces a segment-leading 183kW/387Nm.
Ford offers a choice of three equipment grades, with the entry-level ‘Escape’ offered exclusively in front-wheel drive while the mid-spec ST-Line and top-spec Vignale can be paired with all-wheel drive.
Ford has equipped the Escape ST-Line PHEV with a number of more sporting options including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, a darker grille and a lower suspension ride height than the base grade.
Inside, buyers will find an 8.0-inch touchscreen with DAB digital radio along with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless phone charging and a 12.3-inch digital instrument display.
The plug-in hybrid ST-Line adds a few features over its petrol counterpart including a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and a 10-speaker sound system.
Safety features include pedestrian-detecting AEB, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, fatigue detection and tyre-pressure monitoring.
Australian safety testing authority ANCAP gave the Escape range five stars back in 2019, however this rating excludes the PHEV which has yet to be individually tested.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
This week on Chasing Cars: BMW 3 Series LCI revealed, HR-V Hybrid reviewed and electric Cayman inbound
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