Fresh powertrain options include two gas-only and two hybrids

The Ford Escape has been around since 2000, and now there’s a new fourth generation heading down the pipeline that’s simply chock-full of updates. Given the popularity of the compact crossover segment, it makes sense Ford is going above and beyond with this big-seller nameplate, throwing in revamped styling, a new platform, four engine options, and the very latest infotainment goodies that the Blue Oval can muster. It’s all impressive stuff, but this segment is nothing less than cutthroat - does the Escape have what it takes to come out on top?

New Generation Brings Everything But The Kitchen Sink

The 2020 Ford Escape Is Smarter But it Looks Like a Focus or Fiesta With an Upside-Down Grille
- image 833557
Note: 2020 Ford Escape pictured here.

The Escape compact SUV is absolutely critical to the Ford brand. Not only does it compete in a wildly popular segment, but as Ford moves away from the sedan body style, its crossovers and trucks will need to pick up the slack.

Thus we have Ford’s zealous drive to keep the Escape feeling as fresh as possible, especially when placed head-to-head against competitors like the Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, and Chevrolet Equinox.

left right
Note: Fourth-generation Ford Escape pictured on the left, third-generation Ford Escape pictured on the right.
For starters, the new generation brings new styling, including a front end that Ford says was inspired by the Mustang and Ford GT.

We’re not convinced we see either of those sports machines in the new Escape’s nose, but we do see bits of the Focus and Fiesta.

More importantly, the 2020 Ford Escape comes with redesigned aero bits that help it cut through the air more efficiently, thus increasing average fuel returns. The exterior dimensions are also longer and wider than before, with an overall length of 180.5 inches and an overall width of 74.1 inches. Compared to the 2019 model year, the 2020 Ford Escape gains 2.4 inches in overall length, 0.8 inches in wheelbase, and 1.7 inches in overall width.

2020 Ford Escape exterior dimensions

Wheelbase 106.7
Length 180.5
Width, excluding mirrors 74.1
Width, including mirrors 85.6
Width, mirrors folded 78.7
Vehicle height (w/o roof rack) 66.1
Vehicle height 68.6
Track, front curb 62.4
Track, rear curb 61.8

2020 Ford Escape vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Under the new body panels, the 2020 Ford Escape was equipped with a new platform and new suspension bits. Thanks to new underpinnings and a bevy of lightweight materials, the overall curb weight is 200 pounds lighter than that of the outgoing model.

The 2020 Ford Escape Is Smarter But it Looks Like a Focus or Fiesta With an Upside-Down Grille
- image 833568
Note: 2020 Ford Escape pictured here.

The larger dimensions and new platform also provide more interior space, with improvements made to the average headroom, shoulder room, and hip room compared to the outgoing model.

In back, you’ll find a sliding second row. Put it in its full-forward position, and you’ll reveal as much as 37.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat.

That’s about on par with the 37.6 cubic-feet offered in the Toyota RAV4, but just under the 39.3 cubic-feet offered in the Nissan Rogue.

The 2020 Ford Escape Is Smarter But it Looks Like a Focus or Fiesta With an Upside-Down Grille
- image 833565
Note: 2020 Ford Escape pictured here.

Per usual, Ford threw in a ton of new infotainment goodies for the fourth-gen update, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and a heads-up display with a 6.0-inch projection. There’s also a 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection for up to 10 devices, plus remote features like door lock/unlock, vehicle start, and vehicle locator for your smartphone. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen is standard higher in the range, and there’s driver-assist tech like Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist included as well.

Toyota is still the leader when it comes to autonomous safety tech thanks to the inclusion of its Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suit as standard across its entire line, but at least Ford is starting to catch up with the 2020 Escape.

The 2020 Ford Escape Is Smarter But it Looks Like a Focus or Fiesta With an Upside-Down Grille
- image 833551
Note: 2020 Ford Escape pictured here.
Th 2020 Ford Escape is offered with four engine options, starting with a base-level 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost.

Output is rated at 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, which ain’t bad for a three-cylinder. Also impressive is the 1.5-liter’s 2,000-pound towing capacity, besting the base-model Toyota RAV4’s 1,500-pound rating.

Above the ‘three is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost, which doles out a heavy-handed 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, upping towing capacity to 3,500 pounds. That matches the towing capacity of the 2019 Toyota RAV4 in its top-spec Adventure grade, and definitely makes the 2020 Ford Escape one of the more-powerful compact crossovers currently on the market. Spec-wise, the Escape bests both the the Toyota RAV4 (203 horsepower) and the Nissan Rogue (170 horsepower) in terms of raw peak output.

The 2020 Ford Escape Is Smarter But it Looks Like a Focus or Fiesta With an Upside-Down Grille
- image 833558
Note: 2020 Ford Escape pictured here.

Beyond the ICE-only powertrains, the 2020 Ford Escape is also offered with a pair of hybrid engines. The standard hybrid mates 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion with electric assistance, and creates a combined 198 horsepower and 153 pound-feet of torque. There’s also a plug-in model with 209 horsepower and 153 pound-feet of torque, which also includes up to 30 miles of all-electric range and an all-electric top speed of 85 mph, all thanks to a 14.4-kWh battery pack mounted under the rear seat. The plug-in hybrid can top off its battery in 3.5 hours when plugged into a 240-volt source.

2020 Ford Escape drivetrain specifications

1.5L EcoBoost 2.0L EcoBoost 2.5L FHEV 2.5L PHEV
S, SE, SEL SEL,Titanium SE Sport, Titanium SE, SEL, Titanium
Configuration Aluminum block and head, In-line 3 cylinder Aluminum block and head, In-line 4 cylinder Aluminum block and head, Atkinson-cycle I-4 Aluminum block and head, Atkinson-cycle I-4
Bore and stroke 3.31 x 3.54 in. 3.44 x 3.27 in. 3.50 x3.94 in. 3.50 x3.94 in.
Displacement 91.4 cu. in./1,497 cc 122 cu. in./1,999 cc 152 cu. in./2,488 cc 152 cu. in./2,488 cc
Compression ratio 10.0:1 9. 3:1 13.0:1 13.0:1
Horsepower (targeted) 180 hp 250 hp 198 hp 209 hp
Torque (targeted) 177 lb.-ft. 275 lb.-ft. N /A N /A
Transmission 8-speed automatic 8-speed auto with SelectShift® with paddle shifters PowerSplit: Electronic Co ntinuous Variable Transmission PowerSplit: Electronic Co ntinuous Variable Transmission

It’s interesting that Ford is back to offering a hybrid powertrain, an option which it discontinued for the 2013 model year. However, with the segment now filled to bursting with rival options, including several electrified variants from the likes of Nissan and Toyota, the time is right for Ford to bring the hybrid Escape back into the fray.

The 2020 Ford Escape Is Smarter But it Looks Like a Focus or Fiesta With an Upside-Down Grille
- image 833560
Note: 2020 Ford Escape pictured here.

As for the drivetrain, the ICE-only EcoBoost models get an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrids use a CVT. All models come standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is an available option for all models except the plug-in hybrid. That’s about par for the course in this segment, but the Subaru Forester’s standard all-wheel drive still makes it the right pick if extra traction is a necessity.

Ford will offer the 2020 Escape in five trim levels, listed from low to high as the S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium. So far, there’s no official pricing info available just yet, but for reference, the current 2019 model year starts at $24,105.

Further Reading

2017 Ford Escape High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Escape.

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Completely redesigned new 2020 Escape best offers four new propulsion choices – including two all-new hybrids; standard hybrid targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles*; plug-in hybrid targets a best-in-class EPA-estimated pure-electric range of 30+ miles
With unrivaled flexibility, all-new Escape introduces new sliding second-row seats that enable best-in-class second-row legroom and as much as 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space
Ford’s smartest-ever small SUV features new selectable drive modes and Ford Co-Pilot360™ driver-assist technology; available features include a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, a first-for-Ford in North America heads-up display and first-in-class driver-assist features Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist
DEARBORN, Mich., April 2, 2019 – With today’s reveal of the stylish new Escape, featuring the small SUV’s best-ever performance, flexibility and smart new technology, Ford is reinventing the model that helped drive the popularity of the segment.

Escape, which debuted the world’s first hybrid SUV in 2005, brings back two hybrid choices for 2020, a standard hybrid and a plug-in variant, and introduces technologies ranging from drive modes and driver-assist features to electric vehicle ingenuity and on-board connectivity.

“This all-new Escape brings a sleeker, sportier design with the capability to take you on just about any of your life’s adventures,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president, North America. “With our class-leading hybrid powertrains, customers will spend less time at the gas station and more time on the road.”

To create a sportier look for the all-new Escape, designers turned to some of the most high-profile sports cars in the Ford showroom. The shield-shaped trapezoidal grille is inspired by the sixth-generation Mustang, while the lower front end borrows from Ford GT. Compared to the current model, the all-new Escape stands lower, wider and longer.

With a sloped roofline, optimized liftgate spoiler and strake, and efficient underbody, the all-new Escape is the most aerodynamic to date. Meanwhile, it sheds more than 200 pounds from the current model, due in part to the extensive use of high-strength, lightweight steel.

Every model in the lineup, whether powered by one of two EcoBoost® engines or the all-new hybrid powertrains, targets an EPA-estimated range of at least 400 miles per tank.** The standard hybrid with front-wheel drive targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles.*

Best-performing Escape ever

New powertrains and transmission systems, a reduction in weight, improved aerodynamics and updated suspension system all contribute to one undeniable fact: this is the best-performing, most fun-to-drive Escape ever.

Gas engine-powered models as well as the standard hybrid are available with all-wheel drive. EcoBoost-equipped models get a new quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission for smooth, responsive shifting, while every Escape receives an all-new suspension and improved isolation with a new isolated rear subframe.

“This new vehicle performs like no other Escape before,” said Jim Hughes, Escape chief program engineer. “It’s quick, it’s responsive and, in staying true to the standard set by three generations of Escapes before it, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to drive.”

The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, available on Titanium, is projected to produce 250 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel, while turning in a 0-60 mph time up to 10 percent faster than the outgoing Escape 2.0-liter. When properly configured, it is rated to tow 3,500 pounds.***

The all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost, standard on S, SE and SEL, is projected to produce 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel. When properly configured, it is rated to tow 2,000 pounds.*** To help conserve fuel, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost debuts cylinder deactivation, a Ford first for North America, which senses when one cylinder isn’t needed and shuts it down automatically. The system can activate or deactivate a cylinder in 14 milliseconds to maintain a smooth ride.

SE Sport and Titanium models come standard with Ford’s innovative fourth-generation hybrid propulsion system, which includes an all-new 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The front-wheel-drive hybrid model is projected to produce a combined system horsepower of 198, and a top speed of 85 mph in electric-only mode.

The plug-in hybrid variant, available on every trim level except S and SE Sport, projects a best-in-class EPA-estimated range of at least 30 miles in electric-only mode. Escape Plug-In Hybrid has a Level 1 / Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charge, charge time drops to roughly 3.5 hours.

Hybrid models feature four EV modes that allow customers to select the settings most suitable for their individual needs. This means:

In Auto EV mode, the vehicle decides whether to run on gas or electric power
In EV Now mode, drivers can operate on all-electric driving
In EV Later mode, drivers can switch to full gas-powered driving to conserve electric miles for later
In all-new EV Charge mode, drivers can continue to charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles to use later
Unrivaled flexibility

Sliding second-row seats in gas engine-powered models allow rear-seat passengers to enjoy best-in-class maximum second-row legroom with the seats in the full rearward position, plus increased knee clearance and footwell length for a more comfortable ride.

With the second-row seats in the full forward position, the rear cargo area extends roughly six inches to offer 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space in gas engine-powered models (cargo and load capacity limited by weight and weight distribution). The cargo area was designed to accommodate four sets of golf clubs or a full-size dog crate.

The all-new Escape Hybrid packages its liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery smartly below the second-row seats rather than occupying a significant portion of the cargo area. The briefcase-shaped battery in the standard hybrid measures approximately one-third the size of the old Escape Hybrid battery.

Despite a slight drop in vehicle height and with the hybrid battery packaged below, the engineering team was able to increase headroom throughout. First- and second-row headroom, shoulder room and hip room all improve versus the current Escape.

Smartest Escape Ever

With a selectable drive mode system standard across the lineup, Escape makes it easy for Escape owners to create the ride experience they desire – or the one that conditions demand. Modes are tailored for normal, eco, sport and slippery, plus snow and sand conditions.

Titanium models are available with an all-new heads-up display, a first-for-Ford in North America. The feature that projects information onto a 6-inch screen, giving drivers easy access to important information such as vehicle speed without taking their eyes off the road.

Class-exclusive driver-assist technologies include available Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist. Active Park Assist 2.0 allows the driver to park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with the touch of a button, without having to work the steering wheel, gear shifter, gas or brake pedal. Evasive Steering Assist detects a slower-moving or stationary vehicle ahead and provides steering support that can assist the driver to avoid an imminent collision.****

Escape comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360™, and makes available other driver-assist features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering.

FordPass Connect™ is a standard feature that provides 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices with compatible wireless subscription service. FordPass Connect also gives drivers remote access to their Escape, allowing them to use their smartphone to lock, unlock, locate and start the vehicle, as well as monitor key vehicle diagnostics.

Drivers and passengers can keep compatible mobile devices charged with an available wireless charging pad in the front center console. Also available are type A and type C USB charging ports as well as three 12-volt charging sockets.

An 8-inch touch screen – standard on SE models and above – shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, which displays important vehicle information such as speedometer and fuel level. It uses 3D animated graphics to indicate the drive mode.

Available SYNC® 3 is compatible with available features such as Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, Ford+Alexa and Waze navigation. For music lovers, Escape offers an available 575-watt 10-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen.

The all-new Escape, available in S, SE, SE Sport, SEL and Titanium series trim levels, is built at Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Vehicles are due to reach showrooms this fall. Plug-in hybrid units are due to arrive next spring.

History of Escape

Escape debuted on North American roads for the 2001 model year, introducing drivers to a unique blend of style, convenience, efficiency and capability. In its first full year on sale, Escape became America’s best-selling small SUV.

For the 2005 model year, Ford became the first U.S. manufacturer to offer a hybrid when it introduced the Escape Hybrid, the world’s first-ever hybrid SUV. Between 2004 and 2012, 114,000 Escape Hybrids were sold.

For the 2013 model year, Ford introduced a third-generation Escape, with European styling shared with its global cousin, Kuga. The change proved popular, and Escape remained one of the top-selling vehicles in the Ford showroom – and in the fast-growing small SUV segment. To date, Ford has sold more than 4.5 million Escapes in North America; more than 98 percent of them are still on the road today.***** Escape is the company’s second best-selling vehicle in the United States, trailing only F-Series.

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