Fresh European design. The 2020 Ford Escape is all-new for the model year. The most obvious tell that the Escape is new from the ground up is its exterior design, which is now more car-like than before.
Instead of opting to make a rugged SUV, Ford has embraced the crossover aspect with a soft, handsome design that’s more indicative of a European car. For the compact segment, the Escape is one of the more stylish options on the market.
The interior of the Escape has been overhauled, too. The new design brings a more simplistic blueprint that puts usability first. Once again, we think it’s clearly a design that's more European, as it combines sweeping lines with soft edges for an upscale look. If there’s one gripe, it’s that the all-black interior can make things a little somber.
Interior space is up from before and the rear seats offer loads of flexibility thanks to their ability to slide fore and aft roughly 6 inches. The Escape also has an impressive 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 65.4 total. While down on options like the Honda CR-V, the Escape has more space than a lot of other competitors.
Multiple powertrain configurations. At the time of writing, the Escape is offered with three powertrains, though a fourth – a plug-in hybrid – is coming soon.
The base powertrain is a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that makes 181 horsepower. Despite being a three-cylinder engine, it has a good amount of power for daily use, though it can feel a little lackluster on the highway. Still, the engine makes up for that with fuel economy ratings that are among the best in the class.
A more powerful 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that produces 250 hp is available, which gives the Escape much more thrilling acceleration. It also matches its smooth and planted feel around corners better. The trade-off for the extra performance is poorer fuel efficiency.
The hybrid version of the Escape, which has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor puts out a total of 200 hp. Fuel economy is rated at an EPA-estimated 41 miles per gallon combined, making it the class leader.
Packed with safety. In IIHS testing, the Escape did well enough to be named a Top Safety Pick. It missed out on the "Plus" designation because of its headlights.
Furthermore, Ford offers the Escape with the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite as standard. It brings blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and more. Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist Plus is standard on the range-topping Titanium trim, which also includes adaptive cruise control.
Much improved technology. Toward the higher end of the lineup, the Escape comes with more tech than before. The base Escape comes with a 4.2-inch LCD screen, two USB ports, and Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, which are all par for the segment.
Higher trims come with SYNC 3, an 8-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wi-fi hot spot capability, and navigation.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Ford Escape offers consumers in the market for a compact crossover everything they could want. It’s spacious, comfortable, fuel-efficient, and packed with tech features. It’s even available in hybrid and (soon enough) plug-in hybrid variants.
The main let down with the new Escape is the interior. The cabin is filled with low-rent trim pieces and unsupportive seats. While it has a good design, we were hoping to see nicer materials, especially on high-end trims.
There are numerous options in the compact crossover segment. The aforementioned CR-V continues to be the perennial leader, offering more cargo space and a more spacious cabin.
The Toyota RAV4 is available as a plug-in hybrid, has an off-road Adventure trim, similar standard safety features, and a larger cargo area. The major downside with the RAV4 is its radical styling.
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