It’s easy to sit and brainstorm a list of your favorite vehicles, but the discussion of favorite trim levels is an entirely different discussion. Because of trim levels, two of the same vehicles can be wholly different, although this night and day difference comes at a higher cost. This isn’t always the case since manufacturers can sometimes offer one engine across a list of trims, or in a rarer case, only one trim level. Why do we mention this? Because, when you visit your local Ford dealer, we want to give you an idea of the best trim levels that you can choose from within Ford’s most popular vehicles.
From base models to the best of the best, Ford has a variety of trim levels designed to satisfy drivers. The three trims that we want to discuss today consist of the 2022 Ford Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid, the Expedition XL STX, and the Mustang Shelby GT500. We’ve got two SUVs and a sports car, so we’ll give you all of the info you need to know about the best trim levels associated with these models.
Ford Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid
The Ford Escape is a fully capable SUV that has been met with exceptional fanfare over its twenty years on the market. A few short years after launching the Escape, Ford designed a hybrid model in a time where most large manufacturers began getting their feet wet in the world of hybrids and electric vehicles. For many years after this, the Escape Hybrid was firmly nestled next to the regular Escape model, which is something that continues today. More recently, the Plug-In Hybrid was introduced, which adds a larger battery to the hybrid powertrain. The trim that we admire the most is the Titanium, and there are a few reasons as to why we say this.
The first reason why we recommend the Titanium Plug-In Hybrid is because you’ll be operating a hybrid powertrain with electrical elements. With the 2022 Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid, your powertrain will consist of a fairly standard 2.5L I-4 engine, but it is paired with a 14-kWh battery and electric motor. The result is 221 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque, but perhaps the main advantage stems from its efficiency. EPA-estimated ratings of this vehicle are 105 MPGe, and this SUV has a total range of 520 miles, 37 of which come from the battery alone.
Why we recommend the Titanium trim, more specifically, is because it includes Ford’s Co-Pilot360 Assist+. This includes all of the safety features associated with the regular Co-Pilot 360 Assist and comes with extras such as Adaptive Cruise Control to turn cruise control into a more automated process by adjusting your vehicle’s speed adaptively. Speed Sign Recognition is also built-in, and it’ll display the current speed limit on your dashboard. The Titanium trim also comes with a Hands-Free Liftgate, which allows the holder of the keyfob to open the trunk by simply passing their foot under the bumper.
Ford Expedition XL STX
A full-size SUV such as the Expedition is the perfect vehicle for you if you want a vehicle that can comfortably seat five or more people. The Expedition is also the kind of SUV you’ll want if you’re going to be storing cargo more often than not. However, the trim that we want to discuss is none other than the XL STX, also known as the base model. The XL STX is unlike your average base-level trim because the Expedition is a highly capable vehicle regardless. Starting at an MSRP of $50,595, the Expedition XL STX may be a tad on the pricey side, but this price gets you a massive SUV with a maximum cargo capacity of 104.6 cu ft.
As we mentioned, other base models can be void of the more extravagant features, but not with the Expedition XL STX. This base model comes standard with an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat that also has lumbar support. It’ll also come with a standard integrated 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot and a feature-packed SYNC 3 infotainment center with features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto coming standard.
Another notable reason as to why the XL STX is a valid trim level is the turbocharged 3.5L V6 engine that it comes with. This V6 engine will come with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and its performance is exceptional for any base model at 380 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. With this base engine, even the XL STX can garner a maximum towing capacity of 9,300 lbs.
Mustang Shelby GT500
When talking about our favorite trim levels that Ford has to offer, it’s difficult not to mention the Mustang Shelby GT500. It serves as the priciest yet most performant trim level for the highly popular Mustang sports car. For performance coupled with one of the most sporty designs on the market, the Shelby GT500 has so much to offer, including standard sports seats with leather trim and a stunningly sleek exterior complete with 20-inch wheels. When you’re driving down the street in a Mustang of any kind, you’re bound to turn some heads with its massive amounts of appeal, and this is just the beginning of what makes this trim level such a phenomenal choice for drivers who are interested in this legendary vehicle.
Purchasing the Shelby GT500 nets you a supercharged 5.2L V8 engine providing an immense 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. This is undoubtedly a fast vehicle, and it encapsulates everything that you want in a sports car. The SYNC 3 infotainment center is par for the course, but numerous other features are worth mentioning, such as the 12-inch Digital Cluster that takes up the instrument cluster of your Mustang. With this Digital Cluster, you can have the freedom of customizing your panel with different metrics and themes that are entirely personalized, thanks to the introduction of MyColor.
Scratching the Surface
The trims that we’ve just discussed with you are merely three of the countless available trim levels that are spread across Ford’s lineup. These three trims just so happen to be our favorites, but that’s not to say that they’re the only three viable options. Ford produces a plethora of vehicles, including SUVs, pickup trucks, electric vehicles, and the Mustang sports car. It’s a manufacturer with a long history that has earned the trust of millions of households, all through longevity that lasts for multiple generations. Not every manufacturer has that benefit, and it’s something that isn’t easy to achieve, nor is it something that will form over a short period.
Picking three trims out of Ford’s whole list of available options isn’t supposed to be easy. It has to take time and consideration to peruse the available options. However, the three trim levels that we have brought into the discussion, the Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid, the Expedition XL STX, and the Mustang Shelby GT500, are all bound to impress any driver. Trim levels such as the Titanium Plug-In Hybrid can mix brand new technologies with familiar favorites, while the Expedition XL STX proves that often the base models can suffice. Lastly, the Mustang Shelby GT500 is a prime example of a vehicle that can give you a true run for your money, both literally and figuratively speaking.