Ford has been slowly working to change the perception of hybrid and electrified vehicles. Take the forthcoming for example. In its top-spec Grand Touring trim, a plug-in hybrid powertrain is standard with 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. Thrifty and sporty, no?
Clearly, that ethos has seeped into theHybrid, which the automaker revealed on Tuesday alongside the compact crossover's build configurator. We've known the SE Sport trim was coming with a standard hybrid powertrain but this is our first look at how Ford plans to draw those looking for racier looks while delivering efficient drives.
Digging through the configurator, the SE Sport Hybrid builds upon the standard SE trim but replaces the 1.5-liter turbo-3 engine with a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4 and electronically controlled CVT. Ford estimates the powertrain will make 198 hp and the EPA projects drivers will go more than 550 miles on a single tank. With a base price of $29,450, after a hefty $1,195 destination charge, the perky and efficient crossover is pretty well equipped.
There's a standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and keyless access with push-button start. The digital instrument cluster and leather-wrapped steering wheel are extras atop the regular SE trim.
Outside, the 2020 Escape SE Sport Hybrid gets black 17-inch wheels, trim molding and grille accents to look the part. Honestly, the black accents look good with any color that's part of the Escape's palette and you should be delighted to know there's a green hue available -- Dark Persian Green, to be specific. Rapid Red is the only extra-cost color and adds $395 to the SE Sport's price. All-wheel drive is also optional and costs another $1,500.
Overall, the SE Sport seems like a pretty well-packed value with most of the popular options included. For $3,395 more, buyers can also add a Premium Package that bundles fancier 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, adaptive cruise control and other comforts.
Elsewhere, those looking for the least expensive 2020 Escape will be shown an Escape S that will start at $26,080. At the top of the lineup is the Escape Titanium at $34,595. Note, the hybrid powertrain is also standard here, but a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 250 hp is available for another $2,885. Opting for the more powerful engine also nets AWD standard.
We're eager to get some seat time with the 2020 Escape, but perhaps just as eager to see what Ford has cooking for those who feel the new Escape is too car-like. There's acoming for that crowd.