We get up close and personal with the new Ford Escape.
The 2020 Ford Escape launches into the most fiercely competitive crossover segment around. In fact, there are new fewer than twenty different models competing for your hard-earned cash in this segment, including titans like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. While Ford’s offering has held its own in the segment, this new generation comprises a major redesign, aiming at making the car more competitive, and ideally more successful, against the current leaders. Ford brought TFL’s Roman Mica out to Louisville, Kentucky to get a closer look at what’s changed, from the design to the engineering.
One of the most significant changes to the 2020 Ford Escape lies with its powertrains. At the entry-level end of the spectrum, there is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Available on S, SE and SEL models, the base engine makes a respectable 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque on 87-octane fuel. On SEL and Titanium models, a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder is available. The bigger engine manages 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, according to Ford’s technical spec sheet. Both standard gasoline models come mated to an eight-speed transmission.
The Escape Hybrid model also returns for 2020, marking its first appearance since the Escape emerged as one of the first hybrid crossovers back for the 2005 model year. Now, there are two versions — a standard hybrid model with a targeted 198 horsepower, and a plug-in hybrid with 209 horsepower. Both mate up to an electronic CVT, while the plug-in Escape Hybrid aims for over 30 miles of all-electric range.
One of the drawbacks to the previous generation Escape was its space, or rather the lack of it. As other automakers redesigned their models, the Escape’s interior became a bit cramped by comparison. Now, there are more clever engineering solutions at play, particularly to bolster rear-seat leg room. With the seats slid back, rear passengers get a maximum of 40.7 inches of rear legroom. The standard Escape’s legroom is now best-in-class, beating out the RAV4 and Rogue by nearly three inches and just edging out the CR-V by 0.4 inches. It’s worth noting that space also improves on the old Escape’s rear legroom by 3.4 inches.
The Escape Hybrid model does lose some rear legroom, managing 38.9 inches.
While the 2020 Ford Escape does ride on a slightly longer wheelbase, it actually loses a marginal amount of front legroom. Now, you get 42.4 inches, whereas the old model provided 43.1. Ford did redesign the Escape’s interior, however, focusing more on creating an open cabin than gearing controls toward the driver. That helps the car feel less cramped, as does the increased hip and shoulder room.
Whether you buy a front or all-wheel drive 2020 Ford Escape, you have the option of five available drive models. Pushing a button changes the driving dynamics, from the Normal setting through Eco, Sport, Slippery and Deep Snow/Sand.
Standard technology in the 2020 Ford Escape includes the Ford Co-Pilot 360 system. That includes automatic high-beams, Ford’s Blind Spot Information System, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking, and an auto brake hold and hill start assist. Available safety tech goes further, to include Active Park Assist, Evasive Steering Assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering.
At the center of the 2020 Ford Escape, the shifter has been redesigned to a dial from a standard lever. That frees up more space, but also makes the infotainment system more prevalent. Standard S models only get a 4.2-inch LCD display, while SE and higher models get an 8.0-inch display. A 12.1-inch digital instrument cluster comes on the SE Sport Hybrid and Titanium trims.
Pricing and availability
The 2020 Ford Escape will go on sale near the end of September 2019, with prices starting from $24,885. That’s before destination charges for the base S trim with the 1.5-liter engine. Moving up to the SE will set you back $27,095. The SEL starts out at $29,255 while the Titanium starts at $33,400. If you want to get into the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, that starts with the SE Sport Hybrid at $28,255.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more 2020 Ford Escape news, views and real-world reviews coming soon!