The compact crossover segment in America is absolutely red-hot and that’s why, for 2020 Ford has completely redesigned their popular escape crossover, so this model shares virtually nothing with the previous generation escape it’s a little bit bigger.
It’s definitely a lot more luxurious and we finally have a hybrid back in the escape again for 2020, if you’re, hoping that this generation of the escape would return to mini truck styling for Ford that you may be a little bit disappointed by this. But there’s a good reason for that. The big reason that Ford won’t talk about yet, of course, is that we expect forward to give us a more off-road, capable compact crossover within about a year or so coming soon. Ford.
Shoppers will likely have the choice between this. Overall style and something that’s a little bit more aggressive in that upcoming crossover, the side profile is also not shrunk and Explorer, so we definitely have a sleeker profile overall, something that looks a little bit more aerodynamic at 180 point five inches long. This is almost exactly the same size as the RAV4 and CRV, so this is longer than something like the Hyundai Tucson and longer than the 2019 Escape by about two inches. But this is still shorter than some of the larger entries in this segment like the rogue or the Tiguan.
Ford has really decided to focus on active safety lately, and the 2020 Escape is no exception. We have standard features like blind spot monitoring, Lane, Keeping assistance, autonomous, braking, auto brake hold and Hill Start Assist even on the absolute bass trim of the escape. Now Ford is going after active safety a little bit differently. You’ll notice that adaptive cruise control is not on that base model.
However, we do have blind spot monitoring, which is something that we don’t generally find in base models of. The competition Ford offers two different adaptive cruise control systems with spent most of our time in the top-end system, which is what we find in this titanium trim right here. This also has autonomous parking and their new evasive steering assist system moving to the back the rear end design is definitely a little bit cleaner than what we see in the current generation RAV4. We still have a sloped rear window.
That’s definitely something that we see in most to our crossovers these days. Unfortunately, it does reduce overall cargo practicality in the rear versus that first-generation escape that had a very, very vertical rear end. We have combination LED tail lamps in the rear, so the brake, our LEDs, but the turn signals and the backup lights are incandescent bulbs. Then we have dual exhaust tips down at the bottom, when properly equipped, towing capacity comes in at 3,500 pounds and there’s even a rated towing capacity for the Escape Hybrid.
We do have a factory available receiver right here and then a four pin, wiring harness over there on the left under the hood 2020 brings us some pretty major changes. The base engine in the escape is no longer a naturally aspirated engine. It’s now a 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. It can be combined with the all-wheel-drive system.
If you want and it’s available in the S SE and SEL trims, then we have this engine right here. It’s a 2-liter turbocharged engine, bumps things up to 250 horsepower and 275 pound feet of torque making this one of the most powerful options in the compact crossover segment, notably more powerful than the RAV4 or CRV, and you’ll find this engine in the SEL or titanium trims. Then we have the return of the Escape Hybrid. Obviously, the hybrid is going to be the most fuel efficient, but the 1.5 liter turbo is quite efficient for this segment overall and it features cylinder deactivation.
So, instead of running on three cylinders all the time it can run on just two when it comes to front seat, comfort, I’ll give these seats 9 out of 10 points. We don’t have a four-way adjustable lumbar support and I do find the seat bottom cushion a little bit short for my tastes, but this is probably going to be a little bit more comfortable for shorter drivers out there. The seats also pretty adjustable. I like the range of motion, and I like the fact that we can really give the seat bottom cushion a pretty decent tilt, which is my preference.
We also have a tilt telescopic steering column with a good range of motion and a three-position driver memory over there. On the door hopping into the back, we definitely find more legroom than we found in the last generation escape and legroom overall is towards the top of the segment. Now, in addition to that, they’ve designed the front seats with sort of a dish right here. So that way, your legs can go right in that area, and you have a little bit more effective legroom if you have really long legged rear passengers.
Headroom is also very Jenna back here again, one of the reasons that you’d want to buy a crossover, even with this optional panoramic roof. I still have about an inch of headroom left. This is definitely the kind of vehicle where you could more easily put a rear-facing child seat back here. That’s something that we had a little bit of a problem with the Toyota RAV4, I suspect, based on the overall leg room figures here in the escape.
This is going to be a little bit easier to put those rear-facing seats in if I move over to the center. This is obviously still a compact crossover, so we don’t have the width that we would find in something like a Ford Edge, but overall this is still relatively comfortable and again. Headroom is a little bit more generous than I had anticipated. Moving all the way over to the right, where I had a taller person set up front the seats, not all the way back in his tracks, but you can see, I still have about two inches of legroom left and everybody was pretty comfortable there.
We have a fold-down center armrest with two cupholders in it, and these seats are 60/40 folding and they go almost completely flat with the cargo area in the rear. In addition to the folding, they also have a recline functionality and they scoot forward and backwards. So this is very cargo practical, because if you had some shorter people in here or you were willing to give up a little bit of legroom, but you needed to put more cargo in the back, you could scoot these seats further forward, still put someone back here And have a little bit more cargo room speaking of cargo space, that is an area where the escape Falls a little bit behind some of the mainline competition. If those seats are moved all the way forward, we find 37.5 cubic feet of storage space in the non-hybrid model that drops down a little bit.
If you get the hybrid, that’s notably below entries like the RAV4 and the Chevy Equinox, and even the Hyundai Tucson has a little bit more space, even when those second row seats are all the way back now on the bright side, unlike many of the competition, we Do have a temporary spare available in the escape and it’s right there under the load floor, you can see that there’s a very small amount of additional storage space on either side. Let’s go for a quick spin around the interior since we are driving the titanium trim. We have this large panoramic moonroof that extends just over to the rear passengers heads as you can see right there. We have height adjustable shoulder belts and two-way adjustable headrests for the driver and front passenger.
The model that were driving has leather upholstery and the center sections are perforated, but we don’t find ventilated seats in this top and trim just yet. It does, however, look like there’s a button blank in the dashboard, and Ford has been known to give us ventilated seats in a wide variety of different models. So I’d expect them to happen at some point soon in the escape we have fairly minor, bolstering on the seat back and seat bottom cushion, so shouldn’t have be any problem for larger drivers or larger passengers to find a comfortable seating position. And then, if we move on over the doors, we find a high percentage of soft touch materials for an entry in the segment.
So have a soft touch upper section right there, some imitation wood trim. Some folks may not like this, but I don’t mind imitation wood trim as long as it’s well done, and this is quite believable, as you can see. Moving down from there. We find a soft touch panel with little diamond indents in it, to give it a little bit more visual interest.
That reminds me an awful lot of what things look like after you’ve hardness tested them. We have a bottle holder right next to the speaker, grille. This particular vehicle does have the optional end. Uplevel, Bang & Olufsen sound system, so you can see the B & O logo right there.
I know what some of you are. Thinking hang on. That’s a B & O system, not a Bang & Olufsen system. It’s all the same company – and this is just the slightly less expensive version of these systems that you find in top-end, lugs or vehicles.
We have a pretty large bin style glove compartment over here on the passenger side. You’d have no problem fitting a large tablet. Computer in there, and then we have more of that same imitation, wood trim on the dashboard. The dash has a pretty linear theme and as we scoot on into the center, this is where we start seeing a little bit of a relationship between the escape and the larger Explorer.
This does remind me a little bit of that larger Ford crossover. We have the 8 inch color touchscreen infotainment system here on the top of the dashboard. This is optional, but you’ll find it on the vast majority of escapes that are on the dealer lot below that we have some physical controls for the system. Power and volume knob tune a button to turn off the display, which takes you back there to the clock and if you press the button a second time, it turns the display completely off below those buttons.
We find two large air vents and then to the left of that we find the engine start/stop button, it’s kind of oddly tilted towards the driver. I did find that a little bit less convenient than I had thought it would be below that we have a 12-volt power port and a single USB input, there’s also a large storage area right there, two large cupholders down from there, the rotary shifter that we find In other Ford vehicles button for the electric parking brake, auto brake hold system. This is the drive mode selector button autonomous parking button. This is the parking sensor enable/disable button and then a button to turn on and off the auto start/stop system.
Between the front seats. We find a softly padded armrest. This opens to reveal a moderately sized storage compartment with a standard USB input there, rather than the USB see both of these inputs work with the smartphone integration system. Ford has gone all-in on big LCDs in their latest models, so most trims of the escape on the dealer.
Lots will also have this twelve point. Three inch full LCD instrument cluster. This is definitely bigger than what we see in the RAV4, CRV, etc. It’s not quite as snappy as the full LCD display that we find in some Volkswagen crossovers, but, as you can see, the animations are definitely considerably better.
The display is also a little bit more adjustable in terms of the overall theme versus what we see in the Volkswagen product line, but not as adjustable as what we see in the Audi product line. The escape also gets Ford’s latest steering wheel design. It has a split bottom spoke and paddle shifters on the back in this trim down on the left and up over here on the right. On the left side, we find the controls for the radar, adaptive cruise control system and the lane centering function.
We then have volume, up/down and mute over there on the left as well on the right we find track forward and backward these also double this phone hang up and pick up voice command and then buttons that relate to that multifunction LCD right there in the instrument Cluster, the button with the unusual icon in the upper left that controls the heads-up display the heads-up display is not projected on the window like we see in more expensive vehicles, but rather on this sheet of plastic that pops up from the dashboard. Very much like we see in some of the minis available in America. If I press the button on the steering wheel and turn off the heads-up display, then you’ll see that it will fold down there into the dashboard and out of the way, then has a cover that slides over to keep it from getting dusty. The display also drops down when you turn off the car and then pops back up when the car turns on.
You can see that it gives us the status of the vehicles active safety systems as well as turn-by-turn navigation directions when using the factory navigation and our current speed out on the road. The first thing you’re going to notice is the acceleration Ford tells us that this generation of the escape is going to be about 10 % faster than the previous generation, whether we’re talking about the 2-liter turbo or the 1.5 liter turbo. That means that this should be going 0 to 60 around 6.4 seconds, based on our last test with the 2 liter Ford Escape that’s a pretty respectable 0 to 60 time and the 2-liter turbo as a result will be one of the fastest entries in this segment. Obviously, you will have to wait until we can get our one of these four complete leak, so we can run it through our official tests.
I suspect that the 1.5 liter turbo is likely going to be a pretty solid entry as well. It’s likely going to be faster, 0 to 60 than the naturally aspirated engine that we find in the RAV4. The rev, for acceleration was a little bit below what I thought it should be for this segment definitely slower than the Honda CRV. It’s important to remember.
Of course, that the CRV doesn’t get the 1.5 liter turbo standard, it is optional. So if we’re talking about the absolute base trims of this versus the competition, this is likely going to be faster than what we see in the base. Honda for some reason in the compact crossover segment optional high horsepower engines are just no longer very available. We do have a 2-liter turbo in entries like the equinox, this vehicle right here and, of course, the Jeep Cherokee.
But at the moment we don’t have a turbo Forester, we don’t have a v6 RAV4 anymore or a high horsepower version of the CRV. So if you’re looking for a little bit more oomph, you don’t have too many options in this segment. We do have the new cx-5 turbo and, of course, the Kia Sportage turbo, but remember that both of those have a six-speed automatic, not the 8-speed that we find here. This 8-speed has a much wider gear ratio spread than we find in those older 6-speed designs.
Interesting point of trivia, the Mazda 6 speed automatic transmission traces, its lineage back to ford’s old 4-speed. The cx-5 definitely has a little bit more steering feedback, and this like most crossovers out there with electric power steering, is a little bit numb. Stopping distances are likely going to be average for this model, whether we’re talking about the 1.5 liter turbo or the 2-liter turbo, because we have 225 with tires on all versions of the escape. That surprised me a little bit because in previous generations of the escape Ford put wider tires on their top and trims and wider tires likely would help the 60 to 0 stopping distance as well as the overall handling ability.
These tires are certainly eco focused on this model, so we start driving a little harder out on your favorite winding road. These do get a little bit of squeal going on, but overall handling ability is still very good. This is definitely the sporty option in the segment at the moment. Volkswagens Tiguan used to be that option, but in its latest version it got an awful lot bigger and that has reduced its overall handling ability.
If you’re looking for a combination of added thrust and good driving dynamics, this is going to be an excellent option. But if you want optimum handling ability, then you’re, probably going to, want to swap these tires out aftermarket overall, I, like the suspend TuneIn the escape they’ve, done a good job. I think, of sitting right on the fence and giving us a ride. That’s neither too firm nor too soft body motion seems to be well under control.
We don’t find too much tip and dive or too much body roll in the corners. Obviously, we haven’t had the opportunity to do our official sound testing in here, but I suspect this is also going to be pretty in keeping with the competition. One thing worth noting is that we definitely get less engine noise in this cabin than we hear in something like the RAV4 fuel economy is obviously a little bit difficult to talk about, but so far we’ve been averaging about 20 mpg. I suspect that the EPA rating is going to be a little bit higher than that, although we don’t have any official EPA numbers for this or the 1.5 liter turbo just yet there’s no free lunch.
Making 250 horsepower requires a certain amount of fuel. So the harder you drive, this, the more fuel you’re going to be consuming. You should also keep in mind that the hybrid model is unlikely to be as efficient as the RAV4 hybrid because it uses a mechanical all-wheel drive system. Not an E all-wheel drive axle in the back.
Fortunately, Ford also had a 1.5 liter turbo available to drive, and the first thing you’ll really notice when you hop inside this model, is how quiet and smooth this three cylinder engine is. So if you were concerned that this engine would be a little bit rough around the edges, fear not. This is, I think, actually a little bit smoother than the four cylinder. To be honest, at least, we hear a lot less engine noise from under the hood.
Now, it’s not that we hear that much in the four cylinder, but we hear somehow even less out of this three cylinder now when we’re at an absolutely complete standstill, then you do get just the barest hint of additional vibration over the four cylinder engine. But it is very, very well controlled that shouldn’t surprise. You too much because Ford has been making three cylinder engines in Europe for some time, and this is the latest and newest generation of their 3 cylinder turbo now from a stoplight here. If we really rub on the throttle, obviously we get less acceleration than we get in the forest’ cylinder engine, but we also get a very different exhaust note.
Personally, I like the way this 3 cylinder sounds. It sounds perhaps a little bit more like a v6 engine and a little bit less like the typical four cylinder out there. That’s logical, of course, because we’re hearing about half of the harmonics that normally go on in a six cylinder engine. You might be wondering why did Ford choose to make a 1.5 liter 3-cylinder rather than a 1.5 liter 4-cylinder?
Why didn’t they just shrink down the other engine? Well, there are a few reasons for that. Some scientists, especially German scientists, believe that half a liter per cylinder is the ideal cylinder size for overall efficiency, power, delivery, etc. Just has a really good balance overall for all the various features that you’re expecting in a passenger car.
The final logical reason for a three cylinder engine is that there is a scavenging benefit when we’re talking about power delivery to a turbocharger, although, theoretically, a three cylinder engine like this has moments of dead time, where the power cycles don’t overlap or don’t immediately abut one Another like in a 4-cylinder engine, supposedly the scavenging dynamics of the exhaust gas pulses to the turbocharger, are just about ideal, and that’s also why we see things like twin turbo v6 is because we get that same sort of scavenging benefit on those engines. Now that said, you can tell when this engine goes into two cylinder mode. We get a slightly different exhaust note harmonic, and it does sound a little bit unusual. We see something very similar going on when the eight engines go into 4-cylinder mode, but again, because this engine is overall, so quiet.
It is a little bit difficult to tell this engine does seem pretty aggressive at going into that cylinder deactivation mode. However, and if I move this over to the Eco mode, then it’s going to be even more aggressive at shifting to the highest gear as soon as possible and deactivating that cylinder for better fuel economy. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to spend much time in this 3 cylinder model, so I don’t really have any fuel economy estimates just yet, but according to Ford, this should be getting about 20 % better fuel economy than the previous generations base engines. They also tell us that, even though we’re getting 20 % better fuel economy, we should be getting 10 % better zero-to-sixty acceleration performance, and that is definitely believable, because we get a pretty healthy amount of torque out of this engine and we don’t have to rev the Nuts off of it in order to get that torque, we also have the 8-speed automatic transmission here, the same 8-speed that we find in the 2-liter version of the escape.
That also has a benefit when it comes to overall 0 to 60 acceleration. We get the ability to have more aggressive ratios at the bottom end. Some slightly less aggressive ratios at the very top end to give us better fuel economy and overall ship speed, definitely seems to be an improvement over the outgoing 6-speed. Although the 1.5 liter turbo is the base engine in the escape line, if this doesn’t feel like a discount engine and that’s a little bit different than we see in the competition, for instance the Honda CRV, if you get the bass engine, you definitely get much lower Performance, this 1.5 liter turbo.
However, despite being a three cylinder, is probably one of my favorite engines in this segment. I really hope that, when Ford sends me an escape to do our full testing at home that they send me one of these 1.5 liter turbocharged models, because this is the one that I’m really intrigued by over all out on the road. The Escape is certainly a solid option in the compact crossover segment, and this definitely feels like it has the bones to be a sporty option if Ford were to create an additional trim later, I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point soon, we discovered that Ford had Created an escape ST or something along those lines. This could be an entertaining vehicle if they dumped the 2.3 liter turbo under the hood or just crank the dial up on the 2-liter turbo.
To give this a little bit more power, but certainly wider tires bigger tires. Would definitely be an order there, because the handling could be a little bit better in the escape. This is again good for this category, but a little bit more wouldn’t hurt either for 2024 decided to be pretty aggressive with pricing. The base S trim will start at twenty four thousand eight hundred eighty five dollars now – that is a $ 780 bump over 2019, but we get the 1.5 liter turbo standard, copilot 360, the built in LTE modem and sync for that base price.
It’s worth noting that most of the competition does not have a turbocharged engine standard, so even in options like the honda CRV, where you do have their excellent 1.5 liter turbo the base CRV does not have that engine and the escape will for 2020. The next step up from there is the SE trim that starts at 27,000 $ 95. That’s almost a $ 600 bump over 2019. That gets you the same eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that we saw in this model.
It also gets you adaptive cruise control, so you only have to step up one level to get adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring again, something that we don’t see in all of the competition. This eight inch, touchscreen LCD, is also going to give you apple, carplay and android, auto support. We have auto climate control, heated seats and a power driver seat in that model. I suspect a lot of shoppers will stop right there for the SE trim, because it is a pretty decent value for twenty twenty.
Depending on how you want to look at it, the hybrid model could be a no charge hybrid, the SE. Sport is the hybrid version and that’s one thousand one hundred sixty dollars more than the regular S II trim. But you get about a thousand dollars of extra equipment. You can choose between front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, just like you can with the regular turbocharged engine.
But we also get the twelve point. Three inch LCD instrument, cluster, a leather steering wheel and you can optionally add in the Premium Package the next step. Up from there is the SEL trim for twenty nine thousand two hundred twenty-five dollars. That’s about an $ 800 jump over twenty nineteen, but again we get more standard feature content for 2020 than we did the previous year.
We get the power, lift gate, we remote start back up. Sensors memory seats, fog, lamps, and this is the trim where the two-liter engine becomes optional feature for feature compared to most of the competition. The SEL is also again a pretty decent value, especially when you realize that the Ford Escape is likely going to have a slightly larger discount at the dealer than some of the competition. Next up, we have the trim that I’ve spent most of my time in today.
The titanium trim that started at thirty three thousand four hundred dollars and, interestingly enough, has the hybrid system standard. You can then option up into the two-liter turbo. The titanium trim is where we find everything all the features that we’ve been taking a look at today and, as I’ve said before, both the 2-liter turbo and the hybrid are available with the optional all-wheel-drive system. As always for our detailed comparison section, you will have to wait until I can get my hands on one of these for a complete week, so we can run it through our usual battery of comparisons and tests.
But I can easily say that the Escape is an absolutely excellent option in the compact crossover segment right now. This is definitely more engaging to drive than something like the CRV or the Toyota RAV4, even though the new RAV4 has really turned over a new leaf for 2019 and for 2020, the Escape is also a pretty darn good deal. The RAV4 starts at twenty five thousand. Six fifty, which is a little bit more than the escape, and we don’t find all the same feature content in that model.
Now Toyota does give us things that Ford does not, but Ford compensates with things that we don’t get standard in that RAV4. If you want the Escape Hybrid, that’s going to cost you a little bit more than the RAV4 hybrid, but we’ll go into that in greater detail in the full. Axle is that it is not like super handling, all-wheel drive, so the RAV4 does not handle like an Acura, RDX or anything along those. The big thing is that, although it can send power left and right across the rear axle, it can never direct more than 50 % of engine power to the rear unless the front wheels are slipping.
That’s basically the same thing that’s going on here in the Ford, except that for torque vectoring we’re sending power across the rear axle Ford would use the brakes in slippery situations, whereas the RAV4 has that mechanical action, but only in the top two trims. So for most folks out there, people that are shopping for the SEL se, trims, etc. Those cross shops in the total lineup there’s not going to be a big difference, and then it comes down to more of the suspension tuning and just the overall vehicle design, which is definitely superior. I think in the Ford this has a more solid, more Germanic feel to it out on the road.
The Germanic feel is something that I’ve also noted in the Hyundai and Kia competition in this segment in their latest generations, but they don’t feel quite as fresh as the escape does in this generation. We also have a little bit less room on the inside and we don’t have a standard turbocharged engine. Another thing definitely missing from those models is an 8-speed automatic. So, even though we have a reasonable amount of horsepower in the top-end version of the Kia Sportage, it’s probably not going to be as fast 0 to 60 as this escape because of its older six-speed Automatic design.
Then we have entries like the CRV and Forester, which are very efficient thanks to their continuously variable transmissions, but they’re not going to be as engaging as the automatic transmission that we find in the Ford. The interior in the Honda. CRV is very, very well done, and it has aged incredibly well. So, even though it is not as new as the Ford Escape, I think it is a very similar quality on the inside, but the gadget factor is definitely a little bit behind the Ford.
We get that large L, so the instrument cluster here we get the heads-up display for the driver, features that we don’t find in the Honda CRV at the moment. In terms of overall driving dynamics, the Ford Escape is definitely more fun to drive than the current generation CRV. The CRV is a little bit softer a little bit more comfortable, not quite as engaging. Ford says they had a very deliberate staggered launch of that particular model.
So it’s not like it’s delayed or anything. They decided to focus on the turbocharged and the regular hybrid entries first and then around the second quarter of 2020. That’s when we should see the plug-in hybrid version of the escape. That’s going to be a very interesting entry in this segment, because at the moment, if you want to plug-in hybrid in a compact crossover, you have to get a luxury entry or you have to step up a size and get something like the Outlander plug-in hybrid, which Was originally designed as a three row, but the plug-in hybrid battery pack deletes the third row. So it’s not really a true competitor to this escape right here.