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A red 2023 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is shown charging in a garage.

Electrify Your Commute With the 2023 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Electric-powered vehicles were once a niche market, seen more as a statement than a solution to daily driving. However, in recent years, this market segment has flourished, becoming a dominating force in the auto industry. Public demand for alternative-powered vehicles has spurred the growth of newer, better, and more efficient vehicles by some of the leading automakers—and the 2023 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) is a prime example of a modern heavy-hitter, recognizing the dazzling benefits of electricity.

Some drivers prefer electric cars simply for the environmental benefits, doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. However, others turn to EVs as a way to manage costs, seeking to avoid ever-increasing fuel prices. With such market demands, automakers continue to develop new and improved electric cars. Ford—one of the automotive pioneers—is leading the way with its inventive and stylish designs that make commuting easier on the pocketbook and more enjoyable for daily driving.

The rear storage area of a blue 2023 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is shown.

Powerful Handling

Inside the 2023 Ford Escape PHEV is where the magic happens, with a 2.5-liter hybrid engine and a lithium-ion battery pack combination that provides the benefits of gas-powered driving while still offering everything we love about electric driving. The engine within this Escape is an iVCT Atkinson-Cycle I-4 plug-in hybrid whose design varies a bit from a traditional engine setup; in an Atkinson-Cycle engine, the amount of time an intake valve stays open is slightly increased, reducing friction and improving fuel efficiency. This is an ideal setup to pair with an electric motor and battery pack since the motor and battery pick up any performance slack from the valve changes.

As a hybrid, the Escape PHEV lets you choose which path to take, as you can switch between all-electric, all-gas, or a combination of the two. There are four drive modes to choose from for prioritizing your handling: Auto EV, EV Now, EV Later, and EV Charge.

Choose EV Now mode for all-electric driving; the Escape PHEV has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 37 miles, meaning you can coast along on battery power without adding to your gas bill or the ozone hole. Auto EV mode leaves the decision to the car, letting it choose when to switch between gas or electric; using both, the Escape can cover an estimated—and might I say impressive—550 miles.

If the vehicle is in EV Later mode, it will run solely off gasoline. The fourth mode is where some extra magic happens: EV Charge mode. This mode uses gasoline but will also help charge the battery using regenerative braking, providing some valuable electric mileage.

Charging Ahead

The Escape PHEV is equipped with a charging port, so you can refuel via Level 1 or Level 2 home charging, making it easy to stay at full power. Level 1 charging is done using a 110-volt connection, which can be easily found in a garage. Houses are typically swimming in 110-volt outlets, which allow you to turn your home into a generator for your car. The 110-volt charger will charge the Escape within a night, letting you plug in and—approximately 10-11 hours later—have a fully-charged vehicle.

For faster refueling, consider a Level 2 charging unit, which allows you to plug it into a 240-volt outlet. These more powerful outlets can also often be found in garages, powering larger appliances like washing machines or dryers; they can also be installed relatively easily. Level 2 charging will provide a full battery in about 3.5 hours—only slightly longer than a mid-day siesta.

Confidence From Safety

The Escape PHEV goes beyond just comfortable materials and spacious seating, providing a ride loaded with driver assistance features to improve every trip. Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control is one such feature; programmed to utilize Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering Assist, and Speed Sign Recognition systems, this innovative cruise control eliminates the need to ride the brake and gas pedals during your daily commute. Stop-and-Go helps the Escape PHEV flow with traffic, while Lane Centering keeps you on a straight path; the added benefit of Speed Sign Recognition reading nearby traffic signs is an unbeatable perk that automatically informs your cruise control.

When not using this semi-autonomous cruise feature, drivers will still enjoy similar safety and assistance features. The Lane-Keeping System is similar to Lane Centering Assist, with the primary purpose of keeping you within your lane; if your vehicle begins to leave your lane unintentionally, the system intervenes, but more importantly, verifies it isn’t due to distracted driving.

If you have ever commuted, you know that it can become a tedious task that causes your brain to switch to auto-pilot; this can be extremely dangerous, causing you to drive without your attention where it is needed the most. The Lane-Keeping System acts as an alert system, detecting abnormal lane drifting and ensuring your attention is back on the road.

The charge port is shown on a blue 2023 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid.

Infotainment Features

The Escape PHEV comes standard with a large 13.2-inch color display touchscreen. The SYNC4 interface is the hub of this center stack, connecting you to your entertainment and information applications.

Built-in navigation comes standard on this PHEV and is displayed on the infotainment screen or the available head-up display (HUD) for increased safety and convenience. With consistent updates and connectivity abilities, the built-in navigation works in real-time to provide directions and traffic updates; no more browsing your phone for the low-down on stopped traffic. This PHEV offers a three-year navigation service subscription and enhanced voice recognition for hands-free use.

Increasing this PHEV’s appeal is the FordPass Connect Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which enables the Escape to connect up to ten personal devices. The Wi-Fi signal is strong enough that it can be accessed up to fifty feet outside the vehicle—but for the record, we don’t recommend trying this out while commuting!

Switching gears to entertainment, the Escape PHEV is equipped with SiriusXM radio and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Stream music from the three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM or listen to your own music by connecting to a compatible smart device. The Escape PHEV has everything you could need to keep you entertained during a long—or even short—commute.

Comfortable Cabin

The Escape PHEV is fitted with easy-clean vinyl and cloth upholstery, but it’s what’s inside the seats that really matters. Heated front seats are just the start, providing a warming hug on cold mornings. Even the steering wheel is heated, wrapped in soft material, and provides easy access controls for certain features. The outside mirrors are also heated, changing your morning routine and eliminating the annoying frost that can slow you down.

One of the most difficult things about commuting is sitting in one spot for too long, which is why the Escape’s adjustable driver’s seat is a welcome escape. (Pun!) The driver’s seat is power adjustable with eight seating positions, so it can be changed to fit your needs. The backseat is also somewhat adjustable, with gliding seats and a split folding feature; this is great for loading up work supplies or, possibly, some luggage for that well-deserved vacation.

Make Your Commute Joyful

Truth be told, commuting is far from enjoyable, but many people have to commute every day. Thankfully, automotive manufacturers are doing their best to alleviate the headaches of commuting by creating vehicles that address the main complaints.

The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid does a fantastic job of addressing cost, comfort, safety, and entertainment. Gas prices can be out of control, but with a plug-in option, it can be manageable—and with some clever safety features, driver assistance programs, and a few other extras, the commute can go from drab to fab. The 2023 Ford Escape PHEV is a vehicle you can count on and should be top of your list for the best commuter of 2023.