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Christian Wardlaw

Review QuickTakes:

Ford sells two compact crossover SUVs, and the 2022 Escape is the one best used for on-road instead of off-road driving. To underscore the point, the automaker cites its iconic sports cars, the Ford GT and Mustang, as design influences for elements of this SUV rather than its more rugged models such as the Ford Bronco or Explorer.

Ford’s other compact SUV is Bronco-influenced and is called the Bronco Sport. Like the Bronco Sport, the Escape is available with turbocharged three-cylinder and four-cylinder EcoBoost engines and all-wheel drive. However, unlike the Bronco Sport, both hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are available for the Escape, making it the perfect electrified getaway vehicle as long as your getaway involves pavement or dirt instead of mud and rocks.

What’s New for the 2022 Ford Escape?

Ford makes no changes to the 2022 Escape, aside from adding three new shades of blue paint to the color chart.

How Much is a Ford Escape?

This year, 2022 Ford Escape prices range from the high $20,000s to the low $40,000s, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from the Louisville, Kentucky factory that builds it to your local dealership.

2022 Ford Escape Price and Configurations

The 2022 Escape is a compact crossover SUV with seating for five people. It comes in four core trim levels, and equipment highlights of each are listed below:

Ford Escape S – Available only with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, the Escape S comes with 17-inch steel wheels, plastic wheel covers, automatic high-beam headlights, power side mirrors, carpeted floor mats, cloth upholstery, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Amenities also include power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, and air conditioning.

The Escape S has Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FordPass Connect services with Wi-Fi, and a six-speaker stereo. However, the infotainment system offers a traditional 4.2-inch static display and physical controls on the dashboard instead of a touchscreen display. The standard Co-Pilot360 driver assistance features include forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Ford Escape SE – Choose the Escape SE for 17-inch aluminum wheels, upgraded exterior trim, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, and keyless entry with push-button engine starting. Inside, this version of the SUV has nicer interior fabric, a Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen display, and satellite radio. Get Escape SE Hybrid or SE Plug-in Hybrid, and the SUV includes a 6.5-inch driver information display and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Ford Escape SEL – Select the Escape SEL for 18-inch aluminum wheels, heated side mirrors, a power rear liftgate, rear parking sensors, and remote engine starting. The interior features the same 6.5-inch driver information display and dual-zone automatic climate control from the electrified SE models, plus simulated leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The SEL also comes in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

Ford Escape Titanium – The Escape Titanium has a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. Additional upgrades include LED headlights, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, and a hands-free power rear liftgate.

Open the door, and you’ll find ambient lighting at night, a power-adjustable front passenger’s seat (including for height), a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation panel, and a navigation system. The Escape Titanium also has standard Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+. It equips the SUV with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane-centering assist, evasive steering assist, and speed sign recognition.

If you want to save nearly $2,500, get the Titanium Hybrid, which comes with front-wheel drive. A Titanium Plug-in Hybrid is also available.

Christian Wardlaw

2022 Ford Escape Review and Test Drive

Test Drive QuickTakes:

The boxy, high-riding, and relatively roomy original 2001 Ford Escape was a huge hit, and within a few years of its debut, the automaker added a hybrid version to the lineup. The Ford Escape Hybrid proved so durable that it gained approval as a New York City taxi model, with examples of the SUV covering hundreds of thousands of miles under some of the most brutal conditions in the nation.

Ford updated the original Escape for 2008 enough to call it a second-generation SUV. A complete redesign came later with the 2013 Escape ,which was styled and engineered in Europe. The third generation had the angular appearance of Fords of this era, trading some of the Escape’s rugged styling for sportier looks and driving dynamics.

Christian Wardlaw

For the 2020 model year, another redesigned Escape arrived, sporting an appearance more like a car than an SUV. At the time, Ford’s insistence on referring to the influence of the GT supercar and Mustang muscle car on the Escape’s styling details was quizzical. But when the Bronco Sport arrived a year later to serve as the boxy, traditional compact SUV in the Ford lineup, the Escape’s transformation into a pavement pounder became obvious. Still, the fourth-generation Escape had neither the good looks of the original nor the European driving dynamics of the third-gen model, leaving the oddly shaped, smiley-faced SUV scrambling to define itself.

Last year, help arrived. After unexpected delays, a promised Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) went on sale, giving compact SUV buyers wishing to dip their toes into EV ownership a way to try the technology without giving up on gasoline. The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid provides 37 miles of electric driving range, and when it switches to gas-electric hybrid operation, you can expect 40 mpg in combined driving.

For this 2022 Ford Escape review, we test-drove the Titanium Plug-in Hybrid in Southern California. It came with extra-cost paint and a panoramic sunroof, bringing the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) to $44,020, including the $1,495 destination charge. Ford provided the vehicle for this Escape review.

2022 Ford Escape Review: The Design

Decide for yourself whether or not you like the way the Ford Escape looks. In my opinion, the low grille, high headlights, plain flanks, and stubby rear meld into a forgettable, amorphous blob of a design.

Christian Wardlaw

Inside, Ford takes no risks and offers little in the way of innovation, and the result is a dull but functional cabin. With Titanium trim, the mix of upscale details and hard plastic surfaces is typical for a high-trim compact crossover, but the overall build quality is excellent, the tones and textures are complementary, and Ford employs soft materials on primary contact surfaces.

Controls are located where you expect to find them, and thanks to low-gloss surfaces and clear markings, they are easy to see and use. Of particular note are stereo knobs with appealing chrome rings and rubber edges for a better grip. The Titanium’s digital instrumentation is pleasing, but the head-up display projects data onto a clear plastic panel rather than the windshield itself, which strikes me as a Plan B solution.

The test vehicle’s power-adjustable front seats proved exceptionally comfortable. The cushions are wide and dished to deliver good thigh support and promote a proper seating position. However, they offer almost no side bolstering, so they don’t hold you in place if you happen to take a corner or a curve with enthusiasm.

Christian Wardlaw

Rear-seat comfort is also good, and the seat slides on tracks to make more room for people or cargo as is necessary. The legroom, headroom, and foot room are adequate for taller adults, and the test vehicle had rear air conditioning vents and USB ports. The optional panoramic sunroof extends to the rear head restraints, so rear passengers can recline a bit and enjoy the view.

There isn’t much storage space in the back seat area, but the driver and front passenger will find numerous spots where they can stash stuff. Unfortunately, Ford has missed some opportunities, such as adding trays in all four of the door panel armrests or a slot embedded into the dashboard. Also, note that it can be hard to access items that slide toward the back of the front door panel pockets.

Christian Wardlaw

Cargo space is decent, even though the PHEV offers less of it than gas-engine versions of the Escape. Behind the back seat, you get 34.4 cu.-ft.. However, the maximum volume disappoints at 60.8 cu-ft. In addition, the test vehicle’s hands-free power liftgate requires you to waggle a foot underneath the back bumper to open it.

Lift the cargo floor panel, and you’ll find an unfinished well that exposes the vehicle’s architecture, which seems like an ill-advised cost-savings shortcut. Also, if something slides into the small pocket on the left side of the cargo floor panel, it will deposit itself into this unfinished region and potentially be lost forever to create incessant rattles or buzzing for the rest of the Escape’s life.

2022 Ford Escape Review: The Technology

Ford equips most versions of the 2022 Escape with its Sync 3 infotainment technology, which is not as good as the Sync 4 system the automaker uses in many of its other models. Furthermore, the 8-inch touchscreen display is increasingly small by modern standards, and the software is somewhat slow to respond to inputs.

Christian Wardlaw

Highlights of the system include satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Ford+Alexa integration, and FordPass Connect with access to a Wi-Fi hotspot and remote services. Additionally, the test vehicle had a wireless charging pad and a navigation system with Waze routing.

During voice recognition testing, the system performed adequately. It’s not a natural voice recognition system, but it accurately interpreted most of my test commands. It was unable to find the White House by address, and when stating that I needed to find a hospital, the resulting list included lots of unrelated health facility clutter. Also, you cannot adjust the climate control using voice commands.

The test vehicle had a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. I’m a big fan of this stereo brand, but the B&O speakers sounded a little too bass-heavy in the Escape. Worse, the enclosures in which the speakers were mounted would sometimes vibrate, degrading the sound quality.

Christian Wardlaw

The test vehicle also had the complete collection of Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ driver assist and collision avoidance systems. The package includes automatic high-beam headlights, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-centering assist, adaptive cruise control, and evasive steering assist.

During highway driving with all of the Ford Co-Pilot Assist+ features active, I determined the technology works best on straight sections of a freeway with little traffic. Otherwise, the steering assist makes itself too evident to the driver, and the Escape can brake too abruptly in moderate traffic.

On winding sections of coastal highway, the steering assist shut itself off on curves and when travel lanes expanded from one to two (or shrank from two to one). Also, the system regularly requested that I hold the steering wheel even though I was already holding it. Overall, as is true of so many lane-assist systems, the Escape’s technology forces so much second-guessing that it is more hassle than it’s worth.

Christian Wardlaw

Additionally, Ford offers front and rear parking sensors and Active Park Assist 2.0 for the Escape. With the driver seated behind the steering wheel, this technology takes complete control of the SUV to park in parallel or perpendicular spaces. I’ve used APA 2.0 in other Ford SUVs, and it works well, if slowly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2022 Escape models earn a five-star overall crash-test rating. However, this rating does not apply to the PHEV, which is unrated by the NHTSA. In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) calls the Escape a Top Safety Pick but notes that in a new, more stringent side-impact test, it earns a Marginal rating.

2022 Ford Escape Review: The Drive

To create the Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, the automaker essentially adds a larger battery pack and more powerful electric motor to an Escape Hybrid. Therefore, the PHEV pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with the battery, motor, an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), and a regenerative braking system. However, unlike the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Escape PHEV is available only with front-wheel drive. So if you prefer all-wheel-drive, take note.

Christian Wardlaw

Ford says the PHEV makes 221 horsepower, or 21 extra ponies compared to the Escape Hybrid. However, the Escape PHEV weighs 336 pounds more than the Hybrid, for a total of 3,870 lbs. Therefore, like so many things about the Escape PHEV, this amount of power is merely adequate. The EPA says you can expect 37 miles of electric driving range and, when the battery reaches its minimum state of charge and the SUV operates as a gas-electric hybrid, 40 mpg in combined driving.

According to Ford, the Escape PHEV fully recharges in less than 12 hours when using a standard 110-volt household power outlet. You can also use a 240-volt Level 2 charging station and replenish the battery in less than five hours. Four driving modes give you control over the use of the battery power. They include Auto EV, EV Now, EV Later, and EV Charge. Additionally, you can select Eco, Normal, Sport, and Slippery powertrain modes.

I started with an indicated 35 miles of electric range on testing day. It was sunny, the temperature was 72 degrees, the dual-zone climate control system was set to 70 degrees, and the panoramic sunroof shade was closed. I had all vehicle systems placed in whatever equated to “normal” mode and selected the EV Now mode to see if the Escape PHEV would travel the indicated 35 miles on electricity.

Christian Wardlaw

Unfortunately, for the first 1.5 miles, I kept getting a digital instrumentation panel notification telling me: “Engine enabled for system performance.” If I had to guess, the gas engine fired up because the climate control was cooling the cabin, suggesting the Escape PHEV’s drivetrain isn’t up to the task. After all, if you buy a PHEV and select EV Now for electric driving, you expect nothing but electric propulsion.

In any case, I switched to Automatic EV at the 1.5-mile mark of my 75-mile evaluation route. In this mode, the Escape PHEV exceeded my expectations, and, ultimately, according to the trip computer, it calculated the bulk of the distance traveled to be “electric miles.” How can this be? In this mode, it appears the battery will recharge as you drive and then automatically apply electric driving as it is able.

When the battery meter reached zero charge, the trip computer indicated that I’d traveled 45.2 miles with 37.6 miles on electricity. Fuel economy measured 165.4 mpg. Later, upon returning home, the trip computer said I’d traveled 75.2 miles, with 53.1 of them “electric miles.” The fuel efficiency measured 70.4 mpg.

This experience tells me that if you buy a Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, keep it charged up, and use Automatic EV mode, you won’t spend very much on gasoline.

As for the driving experience itself, the Escape PHEV is a snooze in which to cruise. Leisurely acceleration, occasional groaning from the powertrain, light and lifeless steering, tires disinterested in offering much grip, and seats that can’t hold you in place quickly put the kibosh on attempts to drive this SUV with anything approaching enthusiasm. And that’s fine because the fun in driving this plug-in hybrid lies in the challenge of maximizing those “electric miles” traveled.

Christian Wardlaw

What’s aggravating no matter how you drive the Escape PHEV is its bouncy ride quality. Unless the road surface is completely flat, this SUV goes down the road like a pogo stick on wheels. It rarely feels secure, and I believe that people susceptible to motion sickness won’t be able to ignore the ride quality in the Escape PHEV.

On a positive note, I have no complaints about the regenerative braking system. Though the pedal is firm under your foot, I did not experience the delayed response and grabby modulation common with this type of braking system.

Is the 2022 Ford Escape a Good SUV?

With turbocharged gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the 2022 Escape model lineup should appeal to a diverse group of compact crossover shoppers. Unfortunately, however, almost everything about the Escape is merely adequate. Few aspects of this SUV excel, which means there is little compelling about it.

For example, the Escape’s cargo capacity falls mid-pack among its rivals, ranging from 34.4 cu.-ft. behind the rear seat in the Escape Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid to a high of 65.4 cu.-ft. in gas-powered models when the back seat is folded down. Additionally, when properly equipped with the turbocharged 2.0L gas engine and all-wheel drive, the Escape can tow 3,500 pounds. Also, at a time when consumers are gung-ho about the “overlanding” movement, there isn’t a rugged version of the Escape to consider because that’s the Bronco Sport’s job.

In most respects, the 2022 Escape meets minimum standards and requirements. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t make it a good SUV.

Ford Escape Competitors for 2022

The Ford Escape faces many opponents in one of America’s most popular vehicle segments. However, the only rivals that offer gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains are the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, and Toyota RAV4. Other compact SUV alternatives include the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Rogue, and Volkswagen Tiguan. The Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Subaru Forester are additional alternatives to the Ford Escape.

Ford Escape Features


Within the 2022 Ford Escape lineup, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly model, a powerful and upscale compact crossover, or an electrified hybrid or plug-in hybrid, the Escape delivers. But there isn’t a compelling reason to choose it over its rivals.

2022 Ford Escape Safety Features

  • Post Collision Braking – Standard feature brings the Escape to a stop as soon as possible following a collision to avoid secondary impacts that could cause injury
  • BLIS with Cross-Traffic Alert – Standard blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane Keeping System – Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control – Available feature that combines adaptive cruise
  • control with lane-centering assist to provide hands-on semi-autonomous driving assistance on highways*
  • Evasive Steering Assist – Available feature that adds stability when the driver takes sudden action to avoid an obstacle*

2022 Ford Escape Technology

  • Infotainment system—Standard 4.2-inch and available 8-inch display
  • Smartphone integration—Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • FordPass Connect—Standard connected services access, including a Wi-Fi hotspot with a paid subscription
  • Head-up display—Available feature projects essential information onto the windshield in front of the driver*
  • Active Park Assist 2.0—Autonomous parking technology that steers, brakes, and shifts the transmission while the driver remains inside the vehicle*

2022 Ford Escape Specs

  • 1.5L turbocharged inline three-cylinder; 181 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque; eight-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • 2.0L turbo inline-four.; 250 hp and 280 lb.-ft.; 8-speed automatic; AWD
  • 2.5L hybrid inline-four.; 200 hp; electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT); FWD or AWD
  • 2.5L PHEV inline-four.; 221 hp; eCVT; FWD; 37 miles of electric-only range
  • EPA fuel economy ratings: 26 mpg in combined driving (2.0L); 28-30 mpg (1.5L); 40-41 mpg (Hybrid); 40 mpg (plug-in hybrid)

2022 Ford Escape Interior

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control – Available feature*
  • Simulated leather seats – Available feature*
  • Leather seats – Available feature*
  • Panoramic sunroof – Available feature*
  • Premium sound system – Available 10-speaker audio system from Bang & Olufsen*

*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.

Escape Features

  • Seats
    • Pass-Through Rear Seat
    • Bucket Seats
    • Rear Bench Seat