Ford has made quite a few changes to the 2021 Ford Escape lineup, like ditching the spare tire and the SelectShift paddle shifters – as first reported by Ford Authority. But perhaps the most notable change concerns the availability of the Ford 2.5L Atkinson Cycle I4 Hybrid powerplant, which is now offered on the SE and SEL trims.
Prior to this change, Ford only offered the hybrid powertrain on the SE Sport model and did not make it available for the Escape SEL, although it was standard on Titanium models. But since the SE Sport trim was eliminated for the 2021 Ford Escape, the hybrid powertrain is now offered on every trim level except the entry level S. The hybrid powertrain costs an additional $995 on both the SE and SEL and comes standard with front-wheel drive. A mechanical all-wheel drive system can be paired to the hybrid powertrain on those trims on which it is offered.
|Powertrain||Trim Level||2021 Escape||2020 Escape|
|1.5L EcoBoost I-4||S||S||S|
|2.0L EcoBoost I-4||S||N/A||N/A|
|2.5L Atkinson I-4 Hybrid||S||N/A||N/A|
|1.5L EcoBoost I-4||SE||S||S|
|2.0L EcoBoost I-4||SE||N/A||N/A|
|2.5L Atkinson I-4 Hybrid||SE||A||A1|
|1.5L EcoBoost I-4||SEL||S||S|
|2.0L EcoBoost I-4||SEL||A||A|
|2.5L Atkinson I-4 Hybrid||SEL||A||A|
|1.5L EcoBoost I-4||Titanium||N/A||N/A|
|2.0L EcoBoost I-4||Titanium||A||S|
|2.5L Atkinson I-4 Hybrid||Titanium||S||S|
- S – Standard
- A – Available
- N/A – Not Available
- A1 – Previously available on hybrid-specific SE Sport trim level
As a reminder, the Escape Hybrid combines the Ford 2.5L Atkinson I4 with a 1.1 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack stored underneath the floor of the second row seats. The gasoline engine works in conjunction with an 88 kW electric motor and the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT) to motivate the crossover, with the vehicle switching between electric, gasoline, or combined power operation as necessary.
As of this writing, the 2021 Ford Escape is available at the retail level, as the Ford Louisville Assembly plant has been producing the crossover since early January. But the ongoing microchip shortage disrupted Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair production for about two weeks last month. At that time, the production stoppage was blamed on a lack of semiconductors that are used in a brakes control module. Folks in the market for an Escape should check with their local dealers for complete details about availability.