2020 Ford Escape-2

This is the all-new 2020 Ford Escape

When the Ford Escape debuted in 2000, the market for “softroaders” was still small. Unibody car based platforms were not yet a popular thing. Toyota’s RAV4 and Honda’s CR-V were the two big players in the segment.

Now, almost twenty years later there are twenty-two different vehicles in the segment. By the end of 2020, there will be thirty. Mid-sized crossovers are the number one selling section of the industry, and it’s importance to the market is only going to become greater. Multiple manufacturers are stating that outside of truck sales, the market has shifted to be 70% CUV/SUV and 30% passenger vehicle.

Where at one time Ford was one of the major volume sellers in the segment, in the last few years it’s fallen behind. While the Escape did sell a little over a quarter million units in 2018, Honda sold 388,000 CR-V’s and Toyota sold 427,000 RAV4’s. So, the all-new 2020 Escape comes at a time when it’s sorely needed.

Design

The 2020 Escape has a longer wheelbase and is wider than the outgoing model, though it is ten to twenty millimeters shorter overall. One of the big items here though is lost weight. While the number varies depending on the trim level, on average the new Escape lost two hundred pounds from the outgoing model.

The Escape makes no bones about being a “soft roader”. It is designed, in Ford’s words, to be “Progressively Urban” rather than a rugged off roader. The front end styling is right off the new Focus that we will not be getting in North America. Two welcome styling items are present though, a lower belt line and thinner A-pillars. You can thank extensive use of high strength steel for both.

Ford has taken a step back from the design focus filled with belt lines creeping higher and higher. That trend takes away side glass area. Not just for styling but to give occupants a “bank vault-like feel”. What you notice immediately when you step inside the new Escape, especially with the panoramic sunroof, is a very airy cabin that gives you a sense of a much larger space than exists. Ford has also taken steps with the styling and trim designs to try and give the new Escape a more premium feel.

Powertrains

Big news for this fourth generation Escape is not just the return of a hybrid option, but a plugin model as well. Both are powered by a revised 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine. The hybrid gets a 1.1-kWh battery pack while the plugin model gets a 14.4-kWh unit. While Ford did not announce specific numbers at this event, it did say that the front-wheel-drive hybrid Escape should do 550 miles on the highway while the plugin will have at least thirty miles of range. In the hybrid, you will be able to drive up to 85 mph on battery power alone.

The “standard” hybrid will be available with all-wheel-drive, the PHEV will be Front Drive only.  They will also be rated to tow 1,500 pounds thanks to an oil cooler for the CVT transmission.

Tradition ICE power is offered in two choices. A 1.5-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine developing 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. This engine also comes with cylinder deactivation. It will run on two cylinders when the engine load allows. The other option is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder developing 250 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque. They will both be backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission and able to tow 3,500 pounds.

All models come with a rotary shift selector and five drive modes. Normal, Sport, Eco, Sand/Snow and Slippery are the choices with the tech filtering down from the new Explorer.

Tech

All models come with Ford’s CoPilot360 system, which includes Auto-Emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear camera, lane keep assist, auto high beams, and pre-collision.

Active Park 2.0 is available on the Titanium trim level.  Adaptive cruise control with stop/go and lane centering along with evasive steer assist are available as an option on SE and SEL and standard on Titanium.

The instrument panel is handled by a 12.3-inch display, which changes appearance based on the drive mode selected. All trims but the base S will get an eight-inch centrally mounted touch display with Sync 3 for infotainment. It comes with usual items like CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Ford Alexa and Waze.

Interior

As mentioned earlier, the cabin has a very open feel. The materials are of good quality. Maybe not quite up to the level of the class-leading Mazda CX-5, but very close. A change that came from owner feedback is the steering wheel now featuring an additional 1.3 inches of rearward adjustment. The rear seats also slide fore and aft to adjust for rear seat room or cargo space. The rear seats, which are 60/40 split seats, now have six inches of travel.  In the furthest rearward setting, they provide more rear seat space than a Chevy Suburban according to Ford.
[Editor’s note: Hmmm… we’ll have to test that claim, Ford.]

Ford was also proud to point out the cargo capacity of the Escape. Not only can it handle four large suitcases, but it can also take a 36″ dog crate or four adults and four golf bags.

Thoughts

The new Escape looks to be a solid entry into this very crowded segment. Having owned a 2005  Escape and spending time in the outgoing model, this is a large step forward. How does it stack up to the class leaders like the CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, or Hyundai Tucson? On the surface, it’s right there. The real answer will come when I or another member of the Hooniverse team have the opportunity to drive it.

For now, we will wait and see.

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29 responses to “This is the all-new 2020 Ford Escape”

  1. crank_case Avatar

    What does progressively urban mean? Is that like hip hop/r&b that respects women or just with 20 minute Rick Wakeman keyboard solos?

  2. Jakub Kdzirski Avatar

    What were they thinking with the styling? Not only does the whole car look painfully generic, but what’s worse the front end is simply hideous. And did they really put a 3cyl engine in a mid-size American cuv? I think this is going to be a pretty big flop for Ford.

  3. Josh Howard Avatar

    I’d like to point out that the CRV and Rav4 are constantly talked about in this segment.

    However, the leader the past few years has been the NISSAN ROGUE.

    2015- 287,190
    2016- 329,904
    2017- 403,465
    2018- 412,110
    =1,432,669

    CRV #s

    2015- 348,720
    2016- 359,673
    2017- 378,600
    2018- 379,021
    =1,466,014

    *Sales data from goodcarbadcar.net*

    Give a little credit where credit is due. This was a hard, forced change for Ford. Their fuel economy was not up to snuff and everyone else was killing them in the value segment. This is a great change, but let’s not forget that higher end Focus buyers will head here. (That should help.Lower end will go elsewhere or go EcoSport) This is the new bread and butter class and we should get used to seeing new body style roll outs more and more frequently.

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    Looks like a very solid offering – Ford has been doing a lot of things right for a long time. Strange that this doesn’t necessarily translate into improved sales.

    The cheery, colourful crowd presenting the car is really giving these photos an eerie feel. Especially with a few soldiers mixed in.

    1. onrails Avatar

      Just looking at the pictures, I’m guessing that was a painfully awkward reveal to be present at. Marketing gone mad trying to show it’s all things for all people.

    2. onrails Avatar

      Just looking at the pictures, I’m guessing that was a painfully awkward reveal to be present at. Marketing gone mad trying to show it’s all things for all people.

      1. Victor Avatar

        Wouldn’t that be the objective ? The car for almost everybody ?

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          I think it’s more the in-your-face-approach that is a bit…off. Maybe an attempt at recreating 1990s cool with all the colours and “end of history”-happy faces? Still not getting the soldiers though. Unless this was in Russia…

    3. Batshitbox Avatar

      Future Classic Caption photos, to be sure. Or we could start now.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        When Truman woke up to a blue road and a bunch of insanely cheerful people twirling umbrellas under clear skies, he was sure that something wasn’t right

        1. Batshitbox Avatar

          What do we read into the fact that those umbrellas spell out “P-I-L-O-T”?

  5. GTXcellent Avatar

    Thinner A pillars? Bigger glass/greenhouse? I wonder if any GM designers were on hand for this reveal – if they were I hope they took scrupulous notes.
    Rear seat on an adjustable track – at this price point? Damn!

    My father just traded his ’14 Escape in on an Edge – he was furious that Ford would only put the 2.0 Ecoboost in Titanium trim. I wonder if that will be the same going forward?

    1. onrails Avatar

      Looking at the head on pictures, the inside A pillar trim sure looks like it’s covering up a lot of sheet metal. You may not see much pillar from the outside, but I’m guessing from the inside you’re staring at a couple of upright tree limbs like most of the market these days.

    2. onrails Avatar

      Looking at the head on pictures, the inside A pillar trim sure looks like it’s covering up a lot of sheet metal. You may not see much pillar from the outside, but I’m guessing from the inside you’re staring at a couple of upright tree limbs like most of the market these days.

  6. crank_case Avatar

    What does progressively urban mean? Is that like hip hop/r&b that respects women or just with 20 minute Rick Wakeman keyboard solos?

  7. Jakub Kdzirski Avatar

    What were they thinking with the styling? Not only does the whole car look painfully generic, but what’s worse the front end is simply hideous. And did they really put a 3cyl engine in a mid-size American cuv? I think this is going to be a pretty big flop for Ford.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      “Painfully generic” describes 95% of the crossovers out there, but this one doesn’t strike me as hideous. Bland, yes, but far too indistinctive to be called ugly. To me, it looks like a surprised version of the current Escape’s wincing face.
      Considering that the Escape is actually a compact crossover (and that Ford’s mid-sized Explorer is available with a 4-cylinder engine), the 3-cylinder doesn’t surprise me at all.

      1. neight428 Avatar

        Is the Edge midsized and/or continuing beyond 2019? I lose track. I rank them along the continuum like so, though I probably have missed a couple. I think the Flex is dead after 2019.

        Eco Sport
        Escape
        Baby Bronco
        Edge
        Bronco
        Explorer
        Expedition
        Expedition Max/EL

        That’s a lot of crossing over for companies that were loathe to have two coupe anythings in their lineups for the last 20 years for fear of cannibalizing sales.

        I’ll also add that Ford could sell plenty of Super Duty based Excursions if they brought them back. Down here, it would cannibalize F250 sales, not Expeditions.

      2. neight428 Avatar

        Is the Edge midsized and/or continuing beyond 2019? I lose track. I rank them along the continuum like so, though I probably have missed a couple. I think the Flex is dead after 2019.

        Eco Sport
        Escape
        Baby Bronco
        Edge
        Bronco
        Explorer
        Expedition
        Expedition Max/EL

        That’s a lot of crossing over for companies that were loathe to have two coupe anythings in their lineups for the last 20 years for fear of cannibalizing sales.

        I’ll also add that Ford could sell plenty of Super Duty based Excursions if they brought them back. Down here, it would cannibalize F250 sales, not Expeditions.

  8. Ross Ballot Avatar

    That’s a strange looking Hyundai Kona.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      Funny you would say that, because my first inclination was to contrast it with the Kona– one of the few compact CUVs out there that currently catches my eye. I think the Hyundai looks somewhat sinister with its narrowed “eyes” and aggressive chin, perhaps what Darth Vader’s mask would have been if Star Wars had been released in 2017 instead of 1977. The Ford’s mug looks more like an emoji, or an uninflated pufferfish swimming at 70 knots.

  9. Josh Howard Avatar

    I’d like to point out that the CRV and Rav4 are constantly talked about in this segment.

    However, the leader the past few years has been the NISSAN ROGUE.

    2015- 287,190
    2016- 329,904
    2017- 403,465
    2018- 412,110
    =1,432,669

    CRV #s

    2015- 348,720
    2016- 359,673
    2017- 378,600
    2018- 379,021
    =1,466,014

    *Sales data from goodcarbadcar.net*

    Give a little credit where credit is due. This was a hard, forced change for Ford. Their fuel economy was not up to snuff and everyone else was killing them in the value segment. This is a great change, but let’s not forget that higher end Focus buyers will head here. (That should help.Lower end will go elsewhere or go EcoSport) This is the new bread and butter class and we should get used to seeing new body style roll outs more and more frequently.

  10. outback_ute Avatar

    I wonder if they will have a 3-row version, like the CRV, Tiguan Allspace, Outlander, etc.

  11. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    Smart move considering the upcoming Bronco and Baby Bronco.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      The Escape didn’t exactly have a rugged image to begin with, but it does make sense that Ford is emphasizing the softer, urban aspects of the CUV. However, I doubt seriously that the “Baby Bronco” is going to be anything more than an Escape wearing a cowboy costume. It likely won’t even be as off-road capable as the (relatively pathetic) Jeep Renegade.

      1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

        As much as us enthusiasts may hate it, an Escape wearing a cowboy costume will most likely sell very well. Very well. The Bronco is widely reported to be a true Wrangler fighter with a 2 door, 4 door, and removable roof options. Let the baby Bronco appease the posers.

  12. I_Borgward Avatar

    That reveal. It’s like a ghost dance to summon the spirits of dead hipsters to dwell among the living.

    That said: reCAPTCHA is the devil spawn of Satan. A sign that we are no longer loved, nor wished a life of happiness.

  13. salguod Avatar

    Ford: No one is buying cars anymore, so we’re only going to sell SUVs.

    Also Ford: You know what will make our little SUV sell? Let’s make it more like a car!

  14. Batshitbox Avatar

    …hybrid Escape should do 550 miles on the highway while the plugin will have at least thirty miles of range.

    What if the charging station is 15 miles from home? Hoist the spinnaker?

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