The 2022 Ford Escape will have either 6.8 or 7.3 inches of ground clearance, depending on its trim level. Of the ten trim levels offered, the S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims have the higher measurement. Interestingly, all of the hybrid Escape variants come with the lower ground clearance: These are the SE Hybrid, SEL Hybrid, Titanium Hybrid, SE Plug-in Hybrid, SEL Plug-in Hybrid, and Titanium Plug-in Hybrid.
Compared to other compact crossovers that usually have ground clearances that range from 7.5 to 7.9 inches, the Ford Escape has a surprisingly low ride height. It can handle certain rough terrain surfaces, but the Escape falls short of the recommended ground clearance of at least 8.5 inches for serious off-road adventures.
Ground clearance refers to the space between the road surface and the lowest point of the vehicle that must not come into physical contact with the ground. It is sometimes called ride height.
Most car manufacturers determine ground clearance by parking the vehicle in a flat location and measuring the distance between the axle and the ground surface. The axle must stay clear of anything that it might accidentally hit on a typical drive. Otherwise, it can get damaged and stop working properly, which would make driving much harder until you repair or replace it.
Ground clearance affects the vehicle’s stability and road handling. It adds to the overall height of the vehicle and helps determine where its center of mass lies. Low-slung machines have a lower center of mass, which makes them more stable and easier to control.
Conversely, taller vehicles with higher ground clearances have higher centers of mass. They are more vulnerable to rollovers, especially when turning too quickly or sharply. While the Ford Escape isn’t as tall as a full-sized SUV or truck, its center of mass is higher than on lower vehicles. You’ll likely find the SUV more challenging to maneuver and control than a smaller car.
Last but not least, ground clearance plays a role in determining the aerodynamic performance of a vehicle. The taller the car, the more air resistance it must overcome when speeding up. This is why the Ford Escape hybrid variants sit lower than the gas-powered ones. The hybrids can combine their lower ground clearance with the performance of their electric propulsion to accelerate better than other variants that sit higher. It might also further improve fuel efficiency.
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