What are the Top Hybrids for Family Driving?
Looking for the perfect family-friendly hybrid? We took two closely matched rivals head-to-head in this compact crossover shootout. After much deliberation, we selected the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid and pitted it against the popular, redesigned 2019 Ford Escape Hybrid. These two hybrid crossovers are a close match when it comes to price, performance, size and equipment – but there are noticeable differences in terms of personality. Let’s take a closer look.
Ford Escape vs Honda CR-V: Overview
Head-to-head, the Honda has a more aggressive look design-wise while the Ford is the more mild-mannered looking of the two. The CR-V is more of a flashy SUV, but its profile looks big and impressive for a compact showcasing very sporty 19-inch wheels. The profile of the Ford is more car-like with 18-inch wheels and is reminiscent of Ford’s discontinued sedans in appearance.
Neither of these vehicles have the tough adventurous looks of the new Ford Bronco Sport or the Toyota RAV4. These are more sedate mini family movers primed to get the kids to school rather than bonk around off-road. The Honda is more fashion forward with sharp lines and details where the Ford takes a softer approach.
Escape vs CR-V: Interior
The newly redesigned Ford Escape Hybrid features an attractive, contemporary dashboard design with an 8-inch touchscreen and digital gauges. The controls are all easy to learn and use. While the door panels seem a bit thin and underwhelming, the rest of the interior is typical of Ford. It’s ergonomically pleasing and more high-tech-looking inside than the Honda with slightly less storage space in the center console than offered in the CR-V.
The inside of the CR-V shares its interior design with its gasoline-powered counterpart that debuted in 2017. However, the base model Honda only comes with a 5-inch screen and the infotainment system doesn’t allow for smartphone integration. Going with the upgraded trim levels bring you a 7-inch touchscreen. The cabin of the CR-V includes nicely padded seats and the driver’s seat has 12-way power adjustments for the driver on all but the base model. It also feels more spacious inside when compared to the Ford.
The Escape is comfortable but feels cramped next to the Honda and its thinner seats are less comfortable than those in the CR-V. Both hybrids give up some interior space to make way for electric batteries, but the CR-V comes out on top here. It has 32.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat and 68.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
The Escape’s storage capacity varies by how you position the rear seat. If you slide it forward, you’ll get 34.4 cubic feet of space. But if someone is sitting in the back seat, you are reduced to having 30.7 cubic feet of usable cargo space. Fold down the rear seat in the Ford and you’ll get a total of 60.8 cubic feet. Here, we have to give the winner’s edge to the CR-V in terms of roominess.
Safety and Performance
Both crossovers are fun to drive but one feels more expensive and solid. The Ford is smaller, lighter and has more horsepower than the Honda. The CR-V Hybrid has a 2-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that combine for 212 horsepower. The Escape Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that puts out a combined 221 horsepower.
Both drive well, but the CR-V uses its extra weight to give the driver a more solid and substantial feel while still offering agile handling. Both cars offer quick and exhilarating acceleration and handle the transition from all-electric to gasoline operation seamlessly.
When it comes to safety, these crossovers have strong safety records. They both come standard with automatic emergency braking, forward-collision alert, and lane-keeping assist. As far as crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named these cars as Top Safety Picks and they both earned Five Stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute (NHTSA).
The Ford Escape has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 44 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway for a combined figure of 41 miles per gallon overall. The Honda CR-V gets 40 mpg city and 35 mpg highway for a combined 38 mpg. However, the Honda comes with all-wheel-drive as standard, which is an option with the Ford.
Both SUVs let you accelerate gently or coast with the gasoline engine switched off, burning no gasoline at all. One handy CR-V Hybrid feature lets you manually lock in all-electric driving for short distances, but it isn’t enough to boost efficiency to the Escape’s level. The Ford wins this round.
The Verdict: Which Hybrid is Right for You?
To sum up this crossover comparison, the Ford Escape Hybrid gets slightly better gas mileage and has a more modern interior, but the Honda CR-V Hybrid offers more cargo space. On the plus side, the CR-V comes with AWD, which costs an extra $1,500 on the Escape. Both cars cost about the same.
The compact crossover you choose between these two is really up to your style and wants. They are both excellent cars and you’ll find them available on the GreenCars Marketplace powered by Driveway.
Average Price: $23,000 - $31,000
EPA-Estimated MPG: 44 city / 37 highway
Average Price: $31,000 - $39,000
EPA-Estimated MPG: 40 city / 35 highway