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2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape: What’s the Difference?

  • The Ford Escape compact SUV is all-new for 2020.
  • The new Escape has a hybrid variant, the first since 2012.
  • Plentiful technology and impressive performance are part of what makes the 2020 Escape a nice upgrade over its predecessor.

The compact SUV market is one of the most competitive segments in the automotive world. There are so many small SUVs available today that are so good that it’s hard to stand out. That’s why Ford came out with an all-new Escape for 2020 to go toe to toe with the toughest competitors in this crowded segment.

So how good is the new Escape, and how does it compare to the previous generation? Let’s take a closer look at what’s new with the 2020 Ford Escape.

2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape exterior


The Escape got a pretty major change to its exterior with the 2020 redesign. The new model has a big, gaping grille and soft, curvy body lines, giving it a pleasant and inviting look. The 2019 Escape is also a nice-looking crossover, but it wore an older version of the Ford corporate design language and was starting to look a little stale. See the 2020 Ford Escape models for sale near you

The Escape also got a little bigger for 2020. The new Escape is three inches longer and two inches wider than the 2019 model while retaining the same height. See the 2019 Ford Escape models for sale near you

2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape interior


The interior of the new Escape is an improvement over the previous generation, but it’s not leaps and bounds better on the inside. The interior quality is a bit of a mixed bag in both the 2019 and 2020 models of the Escape. It can be a bit cheap-feeling on the lower trims, and even in the higher trims you get some nicer seating, but it’s still around the middle of the road for this class.

Where the Escape excels is in interior space. The Escape is one of the roomier options in the compact SUV segment. The 2019 and 2020 models have plenty of room to comfortably seat four adults, and there’s a very generously sized cargo hold.

A couple of big differences you’ll notice between these two model years are that the 2020 Escape has a tablet-style infotainment system, rather than the one that’s more flush with the center stack in the 2019 model, and a shift knob, rather than the more traditional stick-style shifter in the previous generation.

2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape mechanicals


There are actually some pretty big changes under the hood of the new Escape. A new turbocharged 3-cylinder is the new base engine, replacing the naturally aspirated 4-cylinder of the 2019 model. The 2019 Escape has two turbo fours available and the 2020 Escape has one, but it’s more powerful than any of the available engines for the 2019 model. A new hybrid model, which was never available in the previous generation of the Escape, is available for 2020. A plug-in hybrid variant of the new Escape, with a claimed 30-mile all-electric range, is on the way, but it’s not available as of this writing.

Par for the course for this segment, the Escape comes standard with front-wheel drive and has available all-wheel drive for 2019 and 2020.

2019 Ford Escape Engines

  • 2.5-liter inline four; 168 horsepower, 170 lb-ft of torque; up to 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy
  • 1.5-liter turbocharged inline four; 179 hp, 177 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg city/30 mpg hwy
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four; 245 hp, 275 lb-ft of torque; up to 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy

2020 Ford Escape Engines

  • 1.5-liter turbocharged inline three; 181 hp, 190 lb-ft of torque; up to 27 mpg city/33 mpg hwy
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four; 250 hp, 280 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy
  • 2.5-liter hybrid inline four; 200 hp; up to 44 mpg city/37 mpg hwy

Going by the numbers, the engines in the new Escape are just plain better than the ones in the outgoing model. The new base engine beats the old one in performance and fuel economy despite only being a 3-cylinder. The higher-performance 4-cylinder is also slightly improved in performance and fuel economy compared to the similar engine in the 2019 model. Of course, if you want the most efficient Escape you can get, the hybrid is the way to go, thanks to its outstanding fuel economy numbers.

2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape tech


One of the most significant updates to the new 2020 Escape is the standard driver-assistance technology. The 2020 Escape comes standard with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, curve control, lane-keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking and a rearview camera. Additional available tech includes a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, evasive-steering assist, lane-centering assist and parallel and perpendicular parking assist.

As for the 2019 Escape, it has a standard rearview camera and that’s about it. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, active park assist, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and assisted pre-collision braking are all optional.

Infotainment technology is surprisingly similar between the two model years. Each comes standard with a 4.2-inch SYNC system with Bluetooth, which is upgradable to a much more advanced SYNC 3 system that’s user-friendly and feature-rich, giving you Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. No matter which model year you go with, the SYNC 3 system is a very worthwhile upgrade.

2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape pricing


The 2020 Escape has a starting MSRP of $24,885, and the 2019 Escape starts at $24,105. The top trims are in the mid-$30,000 range. Pricing for the 2020 Escape Hybrid starts at $28,255 and goes up to the mid-$30,000 range as well.

2019 vs. 2020 Ford Escape conclusion 


The upgrades under the hood and the huge upgrade of standard and available driver-assistance technology are more than enough to justify buying a 2020 Escape over a 2019 model. The 2019 Escape is a good compact crossover, but the improvements to the 2020 model make it more modern and more competitive with the best in this segment. We also love that the Escape Hybrid is back as an option for drivers who want a super efficient SUV that won’t break the bank.Find a 2019 Ford Escape for sale or Find a Ford Escape for sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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