unless you really wanted off road & AWD or have bad winter weather, I would stick with the lower base priced hybrid AND considerably higher mpg AND most likely higher resale of the hybrid.I have the same situation- living in a rural area and commute to work without stop and go driving (50 miles each way).
I bought a 2020 Escape Hybrid a year ago and have been astonished with the MPG in town /city driving, and happy with my commute's MPG. I now have 28k on the Escape. If I drive the interstate to work and back, I get a little better mpg than my 2008 Focus did with a much more comfortable ride in a bigger /heavier vehicle (in KS, the interstate speed limit is 75). If I drive a highway route (65 mph, with some drops to 45 / 30 going through a few towns for very short distances -maybe a mile each time, x's 3 towns), I am getting about 5-8 mpg better than my 2008 Focus did. In town driving, to the grocery store for example, I get 50+ mpg in the Escape hybrid, where I would get 13-18 in the Focus (a lot of traffic lights).