As consumers continue to flock to crossovers en masse, the crossover space will get even more competitive, with automakers introducing models with fresh new styling, modern technologies, and a variety of powertrain options. GM’s Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are doing very well in their segment, enabling GM to become the best-selling automaker in the mainstream compact CUV competitive set. Case in point: the 2018 calendar year, GM delivered a combined 446,932 units of the Equinox and Terrain, roughly 20,000 units more than the next best-selling rival – the Toyota RAV4. Now, GM’s cross-town rival, the Ford Motor Company, is working on a next-generation its popular Ford Escape for the 2020 model year, and new information suggests that the all-new model will offer a hybrid model, making us wonder whether GM needs a Chevy Equinox Hybrid and/or a GMC Terrain Hybrid.
Out sister site, Ford Authority, recently caught up to a prototype of the all-new 2020 Ford Escape and captured spy shots that confirm, albeit unofficially, a hybrid variant of the compact SUV. That, in turn, brings up the question of whether General Motors should introduce hybrid variants of the Equinox and Terrain, which compete with the Escape. Currently, neither the Chevrolet Equinox nor the GMC Terrain offer a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain, though both models offer a turbo-diesel engine option that is unique to the segment. Even so, a hypothetical Chevy Equinox Hybrid or GMC Terrain Hybrid could be a good move, especially given GM’s
push head-first dive into new energy vehicles.
The 2020 Ford Escape is expected to offer at least four powertrain combinations. Two will be small-displacement gasoline models: a 1.5L EcoBoost three-cylinder engine good for about 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque and an optional 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine making about 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Then there will be two electrified variants – the Escape Hybrid and the Escape Plug-In Hybrid. A turbo-diesel engine is a definite for Europe, where the Escape is sold as the Ford Kuga, but it’s unknown whether the motor will make its way to North America.
At this point, it is unknown what powertrain will be used on the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid. It could use the Ford Fusion Hybrid powertrain, which consists of a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle setup that produces a combined 188 horsepower, with the engine itself being rated at 141 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque.
All that presents a golden opportunity for General Motors, as it could combat the upcoming Ford Escape Hybrid with a Chevy Equinox Hybrid and GMC Terrain Hybrid that utilizes the very capable advanced hybrid technology used in the Chevy Malibu Hybrid. That model, in fact, delivers fuel economy of 49 MPG city and 43 MPG highway, outperforming the 43 MPG city and 41 MPG highway of the Fusion Hybrid. In effect, the Malibu Hybrid’s powertrain in the Equinox/Terrain would outperform the upcoming Escape Hybrid, if that model ends up with the electrified powertrain of the current Fusion Hybrid.
By comparison, the Equinox and Terrain deliver 26 MPG city and 32 MPG highway in a FWD model with the base 1.5L LYX turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine. Hypothetical Chevy Equinox Hybrid and GMC Terrain Hybrid could offer significantly better fuel economy, while give shoppers in the highly-competitive compact CUV segment an alternative to the upcoming Ford Escape Hybrid.
Whether GM will actually do that is currently unknown, but the decision seems like a no-brainer. Stay tuned to GM Authority for more Chevrolet news and GMC news, and head on over to Ford Authority to check out 2020 Escape spy shots.