By Veeno Dewan

For 2022 there is a real focus on technology and safety in the Ford line, and the compact- sized Escape CUV range is no exception. Handsome, stylish, and superbly made, for 2022, the updated confident exterior styling makes it one of the best-looking compact CUVs you can buy. The fourth-generation Ford Escape arrives with cool looks, more interior space, and an updated cabin, plus the hybrid powertrain as tested.
The Hybrid features a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission that incorporates the electric drivetrain. the 1.1-kilowatt/hour battery drives an electric motor. With both power sources working, the system has a net output of 200 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. It does not need to be plugged in as it is a self-charging hybrid. The non-plug-in hybrid is available with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) option. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is also available.
The 20221 Ford Escape Hybrid comes in three trim levels, from the SE, SEL to the top tier- Titanium. The mid-range SEL starts at $35,249 in front-wheel drive and increases to $36,749 for all-wheel drive.
The SEL comes with added, heated steering wheel, one-touch up/down on all windows, remote starter, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated mirrors, roof rails, and fog lights, plus 8-inch wheels. The SE gets 17-inch wheels; the Titanium 19-inch alloys. and includes a standard power tailgate with hands-free feature on the $2,500 Technology package that additionally included an upgraded stereo and other interior features. A panoramic sunroof is also available for $1,750.
All hybrid models come with dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, push-button start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot, and heated front seats. Optional Equipment includes: Panoramic sunroof, $1,750; Floor liners, $250; Class II towing package, $600; Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ with adaptive cruise control, lane centring, speed sign recognition, evasive steering assist, voice-activated navigation, and Sirius XM Traffic and Travel Link, $850; The SEL Technology Package offers: B&O 10-speaker sound system, hands-free liftgate, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster screen, memory package, and wireless charging pad.
Inside, the Fords Sync 3 infotainment system and its simple to use touch screen is updated and even easier to use and now supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and brings a Wi-Fi hotspot to the mix. Standout out is the stellar Bang & Olufsen sound system with 12 speakers comes and the 12.3-inch customizable instrumentation display.
The cabin has plenty of flexible space with 896-litres with the sliding back seat fully pushed back and 974L when moved fully forward. Folding the seats flat opens 1,852L of cargo space. Rear seat room is good, as is the headroom.
Safety is high, and the Escape arrives with features including forward collision mitigation with auto braking and blind spot monitoring, the Co-Pilot360 Assist option ($850) is also impressive, adding adaptive cruise control with lane centering and a high-end navigation system to the infotainment unit.
On the road, the Ford Escape impresses, , retaining its composure even through quick corners. The Sport has a firmer ride quality than the regular Escape Edge. Handling is also very good, and there is a comfortable, smooth ride for occupants. Ford has done a noticeable job of improving wind and road noise from inside the cabin. A supple ride and a tight turning circle make the Escape an easy to drive vehicle in urban areas.
There are Eco, Normal and Sport along with Snow/Sand Assist and Slippery driving modes for adverse conditions. Normal is the default setting that suffices for everyday clear weather driving. Put the Escape into Sport mode and things become more…well sporty with tightened throttle and steering feel.
Power goes to the wheels through an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The all-wheel drive system, optional on the SE and SEL, and standard on the Titanium, disconnects the rear wheels under most driving conditions for fuel economy, and pair up the drive shafts when traction is needed. The Ford can tow 680 kg (1,499 lb).
The all-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid is rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at 5.5 L/100 km in the city; 6.4 on the highway; and 5.9 in combined driving. To sum up, not a lot to complain about. The Escape is a great daily fuel- efficient ride. It offers a versatile layout for families, is comfortable, and well featured. Very impressive and highly
recommended.

2022 Ford Escape Hybrid priced from:$32,099
More info at www.ford.ca