Ford Says Goodbye to the Escape Hybrid

Ford will unveil the redesigned 2013 Escape SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month and details are already beginning to emerge about the carmaker’s plans for the third generation of its popular crossover. Sadly for hybrid fans, Ford has announced that the Escape Hybrid will be discontinued for 2013.

In its place will be two variations of the carmaker’s EcoBoost turbocharged gas engine: a 2.0-liter model that will aim to match the performance of competing V6s while handily beating their fuel economy, and a 1.6-liter model that is expected to beat the highway efficiency of the current Escape Hybrid. Styling for the new Escape will be based on the Ford Verterk concept, which debuted last January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Escape Hybrid has been on the market since 2004, selling as many as 21,386 units in 2007 before gradually declining to just 11,182 units last year, when cumulative sales for the model crossed the 100,000 mark. It was the first hybrid to be manufactured in the United States, though technology and powertrain components were purchased from Toyota.

Replacing the Escape Hybrid in Ford’s green vehicle lineup will be the C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid small minivan models, which are slated to launch next year. The C-Max hybrid will achieve fuel economy improvements of more than 25 percent compared with the Escape Hybrid. Both the C-Max and Escape (as well as eight other vehicles including the Focus and Focus EV sedans) will be built on Ford’s new C-car platform. Building everything from sedans, to crossovers, to SUVs on the same platform enables Ford to use many of the same components, saving money and adding versatility to its production line.

But even with a variety of multi-powertrain options spread across several C-car models, the demise of the Escape Hybrid means that Ford—for the time being—will be without an all-wheel drive family hybrid.