Most significant changes: A plug-in hybrid model joins the lineup this year.
Price change: Base prices are unchanged, while other trims see minor price increases and decreases; see the trims compared.
On sale: Gas-only and hybrid versions of the 2021 Escape go on sale this month; the plug-in model hits dealers in the spring.
Which should you buy, 2020 or 2021? Opt for the 2021 model if you’re interested in the plug-in version.
Ford revamped its compact SUV for 2020, and the fourth generation of the Escape got a new platform, revised engines (including a new hybrid option) and an updated interior. For 2021, the Escape Plug-In Hybrid joins the lineup, and all versions get some additional equipment and updated packages.
The Escape Plug-In Hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine and an electronic continuously variable transmission. Ford expects it to have an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 100 mpg-equivalent as well as 37 miles of all-electric range. The plug-in system will be available on all trim levels except S and SE Sport. Prices start at $33,895 for a base SE model before any applicable tax incentives; all prices include destination.
Gas-only and hybrid versions of the compact SUV get some equipment changes for 2021. In ascending order, trim levels are the S, SE, SEL and Titanium. The Technology Package, which is standard on the Titanium trim, gets a new memory package for the driver’s seat and side mirrors, as well as a hands-free, foot-activated power liftgate. The Convenience Package adds a keyless entry keypad as well as LED signature lighting and the hands-free liftgate; it’s standard on the SEL trim level and above. The Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist Plus system now includes adaptive cruise control and speed sign recognition; it’s available on SE and SEL trim levels and standard on the Titanium.
Base prices for 2021 are unchanged, but other trims see increases or decreases, depending on specifics. The SEL all-wheel-drive trim, for example, jumped to $34,150 for 2021 from $32,010 for 2020. On the other hand, the 2021 SE AWD trim costs $29,355, down from $29,850 for 2020.
Gas and hybrid versions of the 2021 Escape go on sale this month; the plug-in model will go on sale in spring.