2020 Ford Escape Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Redesigned compact SUV
  • Sporty new look
  • Spacious and tech-forward interior
  • New plug-in hybrid model
  • Two gas powertrain options
  • 200 lbs. lighter than previous model
  • New sliding second-row seats offer 37.5 cu. ft. of cargo space
  • Selectable drive-mode system
  • Available fall 2019 (plug-in hybrid available spring 2020)
  • Built in Louisville, KY

Introduction

The Ford Escape has been fully redesigned for 2020, thus launching the fourth generation of the popular compact SUV. The family-friendly SUV that sits between the EcoSport and Edge in Ford’s crossover utility lineup features a sporty new look as well as new powertrains and technology. Ford focused heavily on giving the new Escape more versatility and comfort with its reconfigured back seat and cargo area.

2020 Ford Escape photo
2020 Ford Escape

The 2020 Escape also benefits from a refined interior with some of the most modern technology Ford has to offer. A welcome addition to the Escape lineup is its new selectable drive-mode system that affords drivers the ability to customize the Escape’s driving demeanor in virtually any road condition.

Exterior Features

The Ford Escape will look dramatically different for 2020. The new model gets a grille that’s reminiscent of the automaker’s prized Mustang, plus a rounded front end, curved roofline, redesigned liftgate, and a lower, longer, wider body, all lending themselves to the SUV’s improved aerodynamics.

Ford also reconfigured the underbody to make it more aerodynamically efficient. And with a lightweight steel construction, the Escape loses about 200 lbs. of body weight to improve both handling and efficiency.

Interior Features

A look inside the 2020 Escape reveals that Ford spent considerable time enhancing the SUV’s interior to make it classier, more refined, and more convenient for passengers. All gas-powered models will receive a sliding second-row seat that, when pulled forward, increases cargo room to 37.5 cu. ft. Push the seats all the way back and passengers can enjoy extra legroom with more space to get in and out of the vehicle. The rear seats also feature a 60/40 split-fold design for added cargo versatility.

Optional Features

The 2020 Escape will come in five trim levels: S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium. On higher trim levels, drivers can get a standard panoramic moonroof, a 12.3-in. digital instrument cluster with an 8-in. touch-screen display, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Other available options for the Escape include a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system (standard on Titanium), adaptive cruise control, USB charging ports, and 12-volt charging sockets.

Under the Hood

Ford insists that the 2020 Escape will be the “best-performing Escape ever,” thanks to its improved aerodynamics, lower weight, and most importantly, brand-new powertrains.

Escape S, SE, and SEL trims include the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, good for up to 2,000 lbs. of towing power. Meanwhile, the Titanium gets a 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque, capable of towing up to 3,500 lbs. Both engines come mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, but the lower trim levels have front-wheel drive while the Titanium comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD). Note, however, that AWD is optional on all other trim levels.

For vehicles thus equipped, an available disconnect feature automatically turns off AWD when it’s not needed, thus saving energy.

The new Escape also comes in two hybrid variants: An electric-assist version that comes standard on SE Sport and Titanium models, plus a new plug-in hybrid that’s available on SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels. Both versions include a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid engine and an electronic continuously variable transmission. Hybrid models offer four EV modes, including an EV Now mode that operates the vehicle on electric only, and EV Charge mode, which allows drivers to charge the vehicle’s batteries while driving.

Fuel Economy

As of this writing, official EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2020 Ford Escape’s gas engines and hybrid powertrains have yet to be released. Ford did say, however, that every model in the lineup—including the hybrid variants—should be able to travel at least 400 miles on a full tank of gas, with the standard hybrid able to travel in excess of 550 miles, allaying any “range anxiety” fears that potential customers may be harboring.

Safety

In addition to making over the Escape’s structure by employing high-strength steel (and thus reducing weight), Ford also added some high-tech safety features for 2020. Occupants now benefit from automatic emergency braking, pre-collision assistance, lane centering, and other driver-assist and collision-avoidance technologies, thanks to the standard Ford Co-Pilot 360. This advanced suite of high-tech systems propels the Escape into the new decade offering items like a rearview camera, automatic high-beams, and blind-spot monitoring as standard features on all models. Evasive steering assist helps to identify slower-moving or stationary vehicles ahead and helps steer the Escape clear of potential road hazards.

Technology

Every new Escape includes FordPass Connect, which allows passengers to remain connected to the internet wherever they go. The system consists of an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot from AT&T that users can connect to within a 50-foot radius outside the SUV, plus available connections for up to 10 people at once. With the click of a few smartphone buttons, drivers can even lock, unlock, and start their car and check their vehicle’s diagnostics.

One of Ford’s most exciting announcements for the 2020 Escape is its inclusion of an all-new selectable drive-mode system that gives the SUV a taste of all-terrain flexibility that it has lacked in the past. All trims come standard with five drive modes—normal, eco, sport, slippery, and deep snow and sand—to let drivers tailor each outing to their need for adventure or to meet the conditions of the road.

The Titanium trim will be Ford’s first vehicle in North America to receive a head-up display that projects essential driving information onto the windshield so drivers never have to take their eyes off the road to check directions, calls, speed, and more.

Also of note, active park assist will do the parallel or perpendicular parking for you—no need to even operate the steering wheel, shifter, or pedals. Easy, right?

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