2020 Ford Escape first drive evaluation

2020 Ford Escape first drive

“The 2020 Ford Escape acquired an in depth total, however that wasn’t sufficient to make it chief of the pack.”

Spacious inside

Nice powertrains

Intuitive infotainment

Sloppy dealing with

Low cost inside supplies

The unique Ford Escape was one of many first compact crossovers, making use of Ford’s expertise with conventional SUVs just like the Bronco and Explorer to what would develop into one of many hottest segments within the business. The Escape has battled the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4 for nearly twenty years, however now the crossover faces its greatest problem but.

Ford is eliminating all automobiles besides the Mustang from its American lineup in favor of vehicles and utility automobiles. Along with competing with different compact crossovers, the 2020 Escape can be aimed toward conserving present sedan and hatchback house owners within the Ford fold.

To do this, Ford gave the 2020 Escape a extra car-like look, up to date its tech, and introduced again the hybrid powertrain that hasn’t been seen within the Escape lineup since 2012. To search out out if that was sufficient, Digital Traits traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to drive the brand new Escape a stone’s throw from the manufacturing unit that builds it. We examined SE ($28,985 as examined), SE Sport Hybrid ($30,240), SEL ($36,025), and Titanium ($39,475) fashions, masking each trim stage besides the bottom S.

Escape room

The compact crossover phase is much more crowded than it was when the first-generation Escape made its debut for the 2001 mannequin 12 months, and even when the outgoing-generation Escape arrived for the 2013 mannequin 12 months. To face out from the group, Ford took the 2020 Escape’s exterior styling in a special path than both of the earlier generations.

The Escape has at all times tried to faux to be a standard, truck-based SUV, somewhat than the car-based crossover it really is. With the 2020 mannequin, Ford is completed pretending. The brand new Escape adopts a glossy look, with a sharp nostril and sloping roofline. It’s a stark distinction to the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4, that are nonetheless going for stereotypical boxiness, and places the Escape extra consistent with the Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage. If Ford desires to win over sedan house owners, that’s a wise transfer.

Ford made some essential modifications beneath the pores and skin as nicely. The automaker claims to have diminished weight by a mean of 200 kilos. Slicing kilos improves all the things from acceleration to gas economic system, in order that’s undoubtedly factor. As a substitute of going with an all-aluminum physique, as with the F-150 pickup truck, Ford used a number of metals. The hood and a few suspension elements are aluminum, however all the things else is a mixture of completely different metal grades.

2020 ford escape review sel 2 0Stephen Edelstein/Digital Traits

That method has a aspect profit. Using high-strength boron metal within the roof pillars means these pillars will be thinner with out compromising crash security, Jim Hughes, international chief engineer for the Escape, advised Digital Traits. The thinner pillars cut back blind spots, Hughes famous. Thick roof pillars, that are sometimes required to move crash assessments, are certainly a bane of recent automobiles. We felt the Escape’s thinner pillars made a distinction in visibility, however your outcomes might differ relying in your peak. We additionally felt that the Escape’s lengthy hood and the steep rake of the windshield compromised ahead visibility considerably.

A glossy design normally compromises inside area, however we didn’t have any points with the Escape. We discovered ample headroom and legroom – even within the again. Up entrance, the sensation of spaciousness was partly right down to the truck-like dashboard, which doesn’t intrude in your private area. Within the again, the Escape is offered with a sliding rear seat that may liberate extra cargo area, or passenger legroom, relying on what’s wanted. The Nissan Rogue is the one different car on this phase with that characteristic.

2020 ford escape review sel 2 0

Not all the things concerning the inside was nice, although. Each trim stage we checked out had an excessive amount of unappealing-looking plastic, together with door playing cards with a weird pockmarked texture on our SEL tester. The Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan additionally supply extra cargo area, whereas the Subaru Forester has considerably extra total passenger area.

Room for tech, too

The tech modifications aren’t as dramatic because the modifications to the car itself, however they do make a distinction. The 2020 Escape nonetheless runs the Sync Three infotainment system used within the previous-generation mannequin, with an eight.Zero-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, and a built-in Wi-Fi sizzling spot that may help as much as 10 gadgets.

Sync Three is among the most intuitive programs available on the market, and we admire Ford’s inclusion of analog controls for issues like temperature and audio quantity. The 2020 Escape is offered with as much as 4 USB ports, and the glovebox can accommodate a laptop computer, Ford claims

2020 ford escape review sel 2 0

New for 2020 is an non-compulsory 12.Three-inch digital instrument cluster, which replaces conventional analog gauges with a reconfigurable show. It’s not as fancy because the model used within the 2020 Ford Explorer, however that’s to be anticipated given the Escape’s lower cost level. A head-up show is offered as nicely.

Additionally new for 2020 is a 10-speaker, 575-watt Bang and Olufsen audio system. This non-compulsory additional makes use of an externally coupled subwoofer, which Ford claims is smaller and lighter than a traditional sub. We didn’t detect any points with audio high quality, which appeared akin to the top-level audio programs in competitor automobiles.

Doing extra with much less

Ford led the pattern in engine downsizing with its turbocharged EcoBoost engines, which aimed to keep up energy whereas shrinking displacement, all within the identify of gas economic system. However Ford is taking the idea to a brand new stage with the 2020 Escape.

Are you able to think about a crossover with room for 5 folks, and their stuff, powered by a three-cylinder engine? That’s what you get with the 2020 Escape. Displacing simply 1.5 liters, however sporting a turbocharger, the bottom engine makes a decent 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. That’s simply Three hp lower than the naturally-aspirated 2.Four-liter four-cylinder engine you get in a base Honda CR-V, and simply 1 hp lower than the Subaru Forester’s naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer-four. Whereas our drive time in an Escape SE geared up with the 1.5-liter engine was temporary, we weren’t left asking for extra energy. Even with the tiny engine, acceleration felt peppy.

It could appear to be a automobile, however the Escape handles like a truck.

We didn’t even miss the 2o20’s Escape’s non-compulsory 2.Zero-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, which makes 250 hp and 280 lb-ft. That’s much more energy than the 190 hp the CR-V makes with its non-compulsory 1.5-liter turbo-four. However the Ford is not any match for the Jeep Cherokee and its 2.Zero-liter turbo-four, which makes 270 hp (Jeep provides a V6 engine as nicely).

Nonetheless, the Escape’s 250 hp is loads for a car of this dimension, and we have been impressed by how refined each the engine and the car itself have been. The one noise we might hear was a whistle from the turbocharger, which made it sound like there was a ghost beneath the hood.

2020 ford escape review se sport hybrid

It’s too unhealthy the remainder of the Escape couldn’t measure as much as these two gasoline engines. It could appear to be a automobile, and share its fundamental platform with one, however the Escape handles like a truck.  The suspension gives a easy experience on straightaways, however on corners it’s fully overwhelmed.

The Escape could also be 200 kilos lighter, however you wouldn’t comprehend it primarily based on how the suspension is tuned. Mix that with lifeless steering, and the motive force merely has no thought what the automobile is doing. We don’t count on a crossover to deal with like a sports activities automobile, however given the burden discount, we did have larger expectations for the Escape.

Hybrid energy

The 1.5-liter engine returns respectable fuel mileage, at 30 mpg mixed (27 mpg metropolis, 33 mpg freeway) with front-wheel drive, and 28 mpg mixed (26 mpg metropolis, 31 mpg freeway) with all-wheel drive. The two.Zero-liter engine, which is barely out there with all-wheel drive, returns 26 mpg mixed (23 mpg metropolis, 31 mpg freeway). But when gas economic system is the precedence, Ford has different choices.

A hybrid powertrain returns for the primary time since 2012. Ford provided one on the first-generation Escape, however ditched it for the second-generation mannequin (apparently the hybrid proved extra common with taxi drivers than retail patrons). Ford may also supply an Escape plug-in hybrid for the primary time, though that mannequin gained’t be out there at launch.

The hybrid powertrain combines a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with electrical help, for a complete system output of 200 hp. The plug-in hybrid mannequin makes use of the identical fundamental powertrain, however with a bigger battery pack. It’s rated at 209 hp, and Ford expects to realize a minimum of 30 miles of electrical vary. That might beat the 22-mile vary of the Mitsubishi Outlander – the one different plug-in hybrid crossover on this worth vary.

Ford didn’t have a plug-in hybrid readily available for us to drive, however we have been happy with the SE Sport Hybrid mannequin we did get to check. The powertrain may be very responsive, and seamlessly switches between gasoline and electrical energy. The Escape is a bit down on energy in comparison with the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which is rated at 219 hp, however we didn’t miss these 10 additional horses. The distinction does present up in tow scores, nevertheless. The Escape hybrid is rated to 2 1,500 kilos, in comparison with 1,750 kilos for the Toyota.

We nonetheless don’t understand how the Escape will evaluate to the RAV4 on fuel mileage, nevertheless it must beat the Toyota’s 40 mpg mixed. The RAV4 is barely out there with all-wheel drive, however Ford may also supply a front-wheel drive Escape hybrid. That would give Ford a bonus, as all-wheel drive normally comes with a penalty in gas economic system.

The sensible stuff

The 2020 Escape will get the Ford Co-Pilot360 bundle of driver aids as normal gear. Co-Pilot360 consists of computerized excessive beams, blind spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, and post-collision braking. Adaptive cruise management is an non-compulsory additional, nevertheless it’s normal gear on the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Ford does supply a lane-centering characteristic the Honda and Toyota don’t have, however the Nissan Rogue provides related functionality with its non-compulsory ProPilot Help system. One characteristic the Escape has that the competitors doesn’t is Energetic Park Help 2.Zero, which may again the crossover into parallel or perpendicular areas with just about no intervention from the motive force, Ford claims.

Ford provides a three-year, 36,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper guarantee and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain guarantee. That’s pretty good for this phase, however Hyundai and Kia supply longer protection intervals.

2020 ford escape review se sport hybrid

As a result of the Escape has been redesigned, it’s troublesome to foretell future reliability. Nevertheless, it’s price noting that some first-generation Escape hybrids are nonetheless on the street as taxis. Ford lately purchased again an Escape hybrid that did 400,000 miles as a New York Metropolis taxi, and claims the Massive Apple refugee nonetheless has its authentic powertrain. So Ford can construct a sturdy hybrid, when it desires to.

Crash-test scores from the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration and Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security aren’t out there but, owing to the 2020 Escape’s newness.

How DT would configure this automobile

We appreciated all three Escape powertrains we sampled, however we predict the hybrid provides the very best steadiness of energy and gas effectivity. The particular hybrid Escape we drove was an SE Sport mannequin with the Premium bundle, and that’s how we’d equip our superb Escape. The SE Sport will get each the eight.Zero-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the 12.Three-inch digital instrument cluster, whereas the Premium bundle provides adaptive cruise management, an influence tailgate, distant begin, panoramic roof, and 19-inch wheels. Whereas we appreciated the sound from the 10-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system, we don’t assume it’s price the additional cash, as getting the system requires a step as much as the Titanium trim stage.


The 2020 Ford Escape goals to melt the blow of Ford’s automobile culling, however first it must show that its higher than the legions of different compact crossovers on sale at this time. It could not even have the ability to do this.

Provided that that is the primary redesign the Escape has acquired in seven years, we have been anticipating huge issues from the 2020 mannequin. However whereas the brand new Escape has loads going for it, together with a spacious inside, well-engineered powertrains, and wise tech, it’s no game-changer. Ford gave the Escape extra car-like styling, however the Mazda CX-5 has been there, performed that. The Honda CR-V has a nicer inside, and extra normal driver-assist tech. Ford introduced again the Escape hybrid, nevertheless it’s unclear if the Escape will have the ability to match the gas economic system of the Toyota RAV4.

The Escape is an effective all-around car that ought to meet most crossover patrons’ wants. But it doesn’t redefine the phase it helped create, and that’s what Ford wanted to do with a view to persuade patrons to splurge for an Escape over an everyday sedan or hatchback.

Must you get one?

Sure. Different compact crossovers might supply extra in particular areas, however the 2020 Ford Escape is an effective total bundle.

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