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2020 Ford Escape: First Look

  • The 2020 Ford Escape is totally redesigned.

  • Four powertrain choices include two hybrids.

  • Scads of available safety/driver-assist technology like CoPilot360 (standard) and Active Park Assist.

With Ford’s focus turning almost exclusively to trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the complete makeover shown at the New York Auto Show for the 2020 Ford Escape is a big deal. Also a big deal is what Escape sales mean to the carmaker’s bottom line. It is the second-best selling vehicle in Ford’s stable behind the F-150 pick up. The need to get this redesign right can’t be overstated. This isn’t merely a freshening — it is a ground up redo that touched on virtually every component.

Wide View

Ford says it turned to high-performance models in its showroom for exterior-design inspiration. The grille, for instance was drawn from that of the latest Mustang, while the lower front end was influenced by the Ford GT. Whatever triggered Ford stylists, the end result is an Escape that is lower, wider and longer than the current model. Its exterior design is much more car like than today’s Escape.

The 2020 edition is also the most aerodynamic Escape to date. Its sloped roofline, lift gate spoiler and uncluttered underbody conspire to cheat the wind. Moreover, the reimagined Escape benefits from a wider use of high-strength, lightweight steel rendering it 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Every Escape rides on an all-new suspension with improved isolation.

Speaking to Power

Standard on the S, SE and SEL grades is an all-new 180-horsepower 1.5-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine with cylinder deactivation mated to an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. Available on the SEL and standard on the top-grade Titanium is the new 250-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost, also swapping cogs with the 8-speed tranny. Models with either of these gas engines can be fitted with all-wheel drive. When appropriately equipped versions with the 2.0-liter engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Available propulsion for SE Sport and Titanium grades is Ford’s fourth-generation hybrid system consisting of a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine, an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. Combined output is 198 hp with a top-speed in electric-only mode of 85 mph. This standard hybrid has a range of 550 miles between fill-ups. A plug-in version of the hybrid system (PHEV) is offered in every grade but the S and SE Sport. Ford says it will operate in electric-only mode for up to 30 miles. Completely recharging the battery requires between 3.5 and 11 hours, depending on the electric source.

Both the Hybrid and PHEV have four EV modes to tailor for a driver’s individual needs. Auto EV allows the car to decide whether to run on battery or gasoline power. EV Now keeps the Escape running on battery power. EV Later mode allows the driver to choose to drive on gas only. EV Charge lets the car continue to charge the battery while driving, generating electric-only miles for later use.

Slide Inside

Ford’s major goal in penning the 2020 Ford Escape interior was to achieve the greatest flexibility. In that spirit, it engineered the second-row seat to slide fore and aft by roughly six inches. This means up to six additional inches of legroom or that much extra cargo room, depending on immediate needs. The benchmark for rear cargo space was the capacity to hold four sets of golf clubs or a full-size dog crate.

In hybrid models, the battery is significantly smaller than the current hybrid’s battery and stows under the second-row seat, eating up very little interior space. The Escape is furnished for four adults comfortably or five in a pinch.

The Toys

Every Escape comes with Ford Co-Pilot360, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, a rear backup camera and auto high beam lighting. Available tech includes Active Park Assist 2.0 for parallel or perpendicular parking. Ford also offers Evasive Steering Assist that detects a slow-moving or stationary object in front and provides steering support to avoid collision.

FordPass Connect is another standard feature on all grades, providing 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot for up to 10 devices. It also provides remote access to the vehicle allowing lock, unlock, locate and remote start through a smartphone app.

When and How Much?

Ford has yet to set pricing for the 2020 Ford Escape, but figure a starting price somewhere between $24,000 and $25,900. Assembly will take place at Ford’s Louisville plant. All but the Escape PHEV are scheduled to go on sale fall of 2019. Looks like spring 2020 for the PHEV models. Find a Ford Escape for sale

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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  1. Like the old one better.  I hate the navigation screen, looks like an after thought just stuck on top of the dash and cheaply done.  Mazda, BMW, Hyundai, and Mercedes are all just as guilty.

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