FORD Australia has introduced a new flagship to its Escape medium SUV range – the ST-Line plug-in hybrid variant, which retails for $53,440 (plus on-road costs).
Priced $3350 above the petrol-powered Vignale AWD, the new PHEV variant, which will become $1000 more expensive on July 1, is the first of at least five electrified vehicles the Blue Oval plans to launch in Australia by the end of 2024..
Powered by a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor-generator, the Escape ST-Line PHEV offers combined system power of 167kW and can deliver a combined cycle fuel economy figure as low as 1.5 litres per 100km, Ford says.
The electric motor is supplied by a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery to offer an all-electric driving range “in excess of 50km”.
Furthermore, the ST-Line PHEV offers sensibly labelled drive modes (these will be familiar to owners of plug-in hybrids): EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge.
The battery pack may also be charged via the passenger-side-mounted charging port and is also replenished via regenerative charging. The Escape will automatically utilise the petrol engine once its high-voltage battery is at its lowest state of charge.
Ford offers the Escape PHEV in two-wheel guise only and with the same features as found in petrol-powered ST-Line variants. The variant is offered in a choice of eight paint colours: Frozen White, Blazer Blue, Agate Black, Blue Metallic, Magnetic, Solar Silver, White Platinum and Rapid Red (prestige colours demand a $675 premium).
Options include Ford’s ST-Line Pack ($1950), which adds a handsfree powered tailgate, front heated seats, LED headlights and head-up display, and Park Pack ($1500) with Enhanced Active Park Assist, front camera and door edge guards.
The Escape PHEV is backed by Ford’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre factory warranty with the electric motor and high-voltage components – including the battery – covered by an eight-year/160,000km guarantee.
Further, Ford Australia will offer eligible Escape PHEV owners Ford Service Benefits including a service loan car, national roadside assistance and satnav updates.
Service intervals for the variant are set at 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first). Eligible owners will pay a maximum of $299 per service for the first four services (up to four years or 60,000km, whichever comes first).
VFACTS data shows Ford Australia has sold just 539 examples of the Escape to date this year – well behind the market-leading Toyota RAV4 with 13,862 unit sales.
The figure places the Escape in twelfth place within the SUV Medium (Under $60k) segment behind the Mazda CX-5 (10,951), Mitsubishi Outlander (5730), Kia Sportage (5263), Subaru Forester (4019), Hyundai Tucson (2804), Nissan X-Trail (2790), MG HS (2689), Honda CR-V (2478), Haval H6 (1497) and Reanult Koleos (1202).
Completing the popular segment is the Volkswagen Tiguan (390), Skoda Karoq (256), Peugeot 3008 (216), SsangYong Korando (158), Jeep Cherokee (92), Peugeot 5008 (51) and Citroen C5 Aircross (29).
2022 Ford Escape pricing*:
Escape (a) $36,490
Escape ST-Line (a) $38,490
Escape ST-Line AWD (a) $41,490
Escape Vignale (a) $47,090
Escape Vignale AWD (a) $50,090
Escape ST-Line PHEV (a) $53,440 (new variant)
*Pricing excludes on-road costs.