2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid (car review)

The sporty ST-Line sits mid-pack in the Ford Escape range, with three different variants at this trim level. You can choose from the front-wheel or all-wheel drive options, or the Plug-In Hybrid FWD we’re testing here.

Powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine, paired with an electric motor, the Escape PHEV delivers 167kW of power, is paired with an eCVT, and offers fuel economy according to Ford of just 1.5-litres/100km.

In the real world, that’s more like 3.4-litres/100km, which is still mega-impressive. It’s capable of 56km in EV-only mode and our fuel figure above assumes you’re charging it regularly.

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If you forget, and your battery is out of get up and go, it will still manage around 5.5-litres/100km. That’s a super consistent outcome in our eyes. But it’s not the fuel savings (and God knows we need those) that are most impressive about the ST-Line hybrid.

It comes with plenty of goodies, although you do need to buy some silly things as add-on accessories, like the bag for the charging cable. Likewise, it handles very well on the road, and is a joy to drive, but you’ll have want the Parking Pack and ST-Line Option Pack bits.

2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid
2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid

Those latter two are $1500 and $1950 respectively and add semi-automated park assist, a front camera and pop-out door edge guards in the case of the first pack, and a powered tailgate, heated front seats, matrix LED headlights and a head-up display in the second.

Those are things we reckon should be standard, at least in part, on a vehicle you’re paying $60,000 drive away for (that’s a $15K premium over the standard ST-Line FWD, although in this case you do get an epic Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker sound system).

Partial leather trim and a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat are also included. This is on top of the standard ST-Line cool kit like 18-inch alloys, wireless phone charging, DAB+ digital radio, an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Front and rear parking sensors, join a reversing camera and smart key in a suite of safety tech that includes adaptive cruise control with stop/go, ABS, auto headlights and high beam, and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

There’s also blind spot monitoring, reverse cross traffic alert with braking, driver impairment monitoring, stability control, emergency assistance and emergency brake assist. Hill launch assist, lane keep and lane departure assist are all included too.

dash
Inside the 2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid

It has a 1,200kg braked towing capacity and boot space is a decent 556-litres. With the rear seats down, that grows to 1,478-litres. Those back benches offer plenty of leg and head room, even for taller passengers.

You’ll also find a centre armrest, cup holders, USB ports and vents. Up front, the cockpit feels modern, helped by the digital instrument cluster, but somewhat dated because of the size of the touchscreen. It looks plenty good though.

The red stitching throughout is a nice touch too, along with the blue ambient lighting. We’d like to see a slightly larger centre storage cubby but it’s adequate. There’s a couple of drive modes to choose from too, and shifting is via a console mounted dial.

On the road, it’s fun to drive, with decent steering and good body control. The ride quality is balanced but it isn’t a massive fan of potholes. It’s lower ride height doesn’t help that last one, but it does feel quite car-like overall.

The 2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid comes with five drive modes, including Eco, Normal and Sport, as well as its own EV specific regenerative charging modes, of which there are four to choose from.

front seats
Inside the 2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid

EV Auto the default, set and forget option. There’s also Now, which prioritises battery, Later, which uses the engine to keep a set battery charge, and Charge, which literally turns the petrol powerplant into a giant generator to pump the battery full of extra charge.

While it won’t set the world alight with its performance, it’s an exceptionally nice, medium SUV to get around in. It definitely misses not having all-wheel drive, and the bits of what should be standard equipment that you have to buy to get, hurts its cause.

That said, it really is hard to fault from a driving perspective, and it’s definitely got a real style and look and feel about it that makes it worth a test drive, at the very least. You can choose from Rapid Red (as tested), Frozen White, Blazer Blue and Agate Black.

You can also have it in Blue Metallic, Magnetic, Solar Silver and White Platinum. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist. There’s an 8-year 160,000km warranty on the EV drivetrain.

You can build your own on the Ford Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, visit CreditOne.

rear seats
Inside the 2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid

Our test vehicle was provided by Ford Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid, contact your local Ford dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
8
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
8
Family friendliness
8.5
Value for money
7

SUMMARY

Pros - consistent fuel economy; nice to drive; great sound system.
Cons - pricey; some add-on accessories should be standard; needs AWD.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> consistent fuel economy; nice to drive; great sound system.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> pricey; some add-on accessories should be standard; needs AWD.2022 Ford Escape ST-Line Plug-In Hybrid (car review)