New 2020 Ford Escape SUV
Ford Escape SUV
The 2020 Ford Escape delivers solid dynamics, high tech safety features and a comprehensive new design language to the compact SUV segment.
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2020 Ford Escape KBB Expert Review
The completely redesigned 2020 Ford Escape drops 200 pounds and gains 2nd-row passenger space, making it best-in-class for the segment. A completely retuned suspension that gives the Escape a smooth and comfortable ride adds to its appeal. Co-Pilot360, Ford’s suite of driver-assistance features, now comes standard across all trims.
Four engine options, including a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, offer buyers a variety of solid powertrains. Exterior design language takes on a performance-crossover-SUV spin with sloping roofline and reimagined front fascia, but tends to the generic side, and a simple, economical, but intuitive interior full of tech pleases without fuss.
You'll Like This Car If...
- Completely redesigned compact SUV with four powertrain options including Hybrid & PHEV models
- Sliding 2nd-row seats with expanded passenger & cargo room
- All-new suspension delivering excellent ride quality
- Ford Co-Pilot360 standard
You May Not Like This Car If...
- Generic exterior design language
- Steering lacks feeling
- No sport or ST option
What's New for 2020
- Co-Pilot360, Ford’s driver-assistance package, now standard
- The Escape Hybrid returns
- New architecture reduces weight by approximately 200 pounds
- Second-row sliding seats
The Ford Escape comes with four engine options, a 1.5-liter EcoBoost inline-4 making 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost that makes 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a 2.5-liter hybrid making 200 horsepower and a 221-horsepower plug-in hybrid coming in the spring with a pure-electric range of 30 miles.
Power in the 2.0-liter EcoBoost feels good. The engine has great pep; it’s a feisty little thing. The hybrid mates to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but the EcoBoost gets a new 8-speed automatic transmission that pairs really nicely with the 2.0-liter. Shifts are smooth and well measured, and more important, it doesn’t have trouble finding the right gear. If you are looking for a little extra burst of power, paddle shifters come with the 2.0-liter engine. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost, on the other hand, lacks that zest and energy, feeling a bit lethargic. The weight reduction helps it over the previous generation, but when driving, one still feels this engine working overtime.
The hybrid 2020 Ford Escape pairs to an electronic CVT that we can’t complain about. It mimics the gear ratios of an automatic transmission nicely and lacks that usual rubber-band quality and droning noise of a lot of CVTs. Power comes on instantly and strongly with the hybrid, though we’d like to see paddle shifters on this engine option. The hybrid’s regenerative brakes enjoy a natural feel and aren’t a distraction when driving.
The electric power-assisted steering in any engine option feels effortless if a bit dead at center. However, the weight is decent and it’s quite precise. Pick your poison with drive mode options on the Escape; there are five of them. Normal and Eco modes feel subdued but still dynamic, and Sport livens up the throttle response a bit. There are also modes for Slippery and Snow and Sand, even with the FWD Escape. AWD is an option for those looking for improved grip from all four corners.
The suspension on the Escape is all-new, including vibration-absorbing rear subframe mounts for a more comfortable ride. The Escape absolutely succeeds here. It’s wider and lower than the previous gen, so it doesn’t feel top-heavy, especially around corners. With 200 pounds gone, acceleration is quicker and feels nimbler. It has refined shocks, springs and bushings and overall feels comfortable without being floaty or sloppy. The ride is surprisingly good — we’d even venture to say it’s punching above its class.
SECOND-ROW SLIDING SEATS
Compact SUVs aren’t known for their capacious interiors. The all-new 2020 Ford Escape combats that issue with a sliding seat that gives 2nd-row passengers added legroom. With the recline function and supportive seat cushions, the Escape becomes a great road-trip crossover SUV.
Ford’s suite of safety and driver-assist features comes standard across all trims and includes post-collision braking, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. Available features include parking assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering and an evasive-steering assist.
The 2020 Ford Escape gets both longer and wider affording more cargo and passenger space inside. There’s enough room in the back for four bags of golf clubs. The center-stack design keeps things simple, but intuitive, with a nice balance of touchscreen and physical buttons. An 8-inch touch screen on the SE trim and above plays the starring role here. Interior materials err on the cheap side, however, including lots of hollow plastic and questionable-looking faux-wood grains. Seats are comfortable and visibility is excellent, if a bit hampered by large C-pillars. The rotary shifter is greatly improved over the previous-generation’s shifter, and there’s now a rear center armrest in the base S model.
For 2020 the Ford Escape sees a major redesign, so much so that it might be unrecognizable to some buyers. The front fascia imitates some European sports-crossover-SUV styling and the blue oval’s own Focus. Instead of making it unique, it appears more aerodynamic, but also parodies a lot of competitors. The grille drops significantly with new slanted and slightly squinty headlights extending from the top corners. The body takes on a curvier, more athletic shape to help with fuel economy, especially in the hybrid iterations. Even the roof racks are low profile to cut wind resistance. The Escape’s stance gets lower and wider with the crossover SUV’s revised dimensions.
Notable Standard Equipment
Standard features include a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine mated to an excellent 8-speed transmission. The powertrain features five selectable drive modes for conditions such as Slippery and deep Snow and Sand. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist features, a 2nd-row slide seat, LED taillights, two smart USB charge ports and Wi-Fi hotspot all come on the base S trim.
Notable Optional Equipment
Climb up the trim ladder and get extras such as a power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, navigation, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go as well as parking assist. Leather seats, a B&O premium sound system, chrome exhaust tips, USB-A and -C charging ports, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, as well as leather-trimmed sport contoured bucket seats are also included.
Under the Hood
On the base S, SE and SEL trims, a 1.5-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine comes standard and produces 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. This engine still feels a bit lackluster, though losing weight in the car overall helps it. We wish it felt more energetic. The 1.5-liter features a cylinder-deactivation system, which automatically shuts down one cylinder when cruising to conserve fuel, so that’s an upside here.
The SE Sport trim comes standard with the 2.5-liter hybrid setup. With 198 horsepower this engine is a great re-entry for the Escape into the hybrid space. Power never feels lacking, though we would have preferred paddle shifters on this option, especially since this is being touted as a Sport trim.
Our favorite engine tested was the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four. This little hustler never disappointed nor lacked personality. Its 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque hungrily gobbled up the road with what felt like little effort. Available on the SEL and Titanium trims, this is the engine to beat.
1.5-liter EcoBoost inline-4
181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
190 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 mpg (FWD), 26/31 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-4
250 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A (FWD) 23/31 mpg (AWD)
2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid
155 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 44/37 mpg (FWD), 43/37 mpg (AWD)
2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle plug-in hybrid
155 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a base 2020 Ford Escape S model starts at $24,885, an increase of only $780 over the previous model year, but offers much more in the way of options including Ford Co-Pilot360 and selectable drive modes not offered on the 2019. The top-line Titanium trim with the hybrid engine will cost closer to $33,400. That’s still only a $780 increase over the 2019 Titanium trim model. The Ford Escape is a lot of ute for the money.
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