The 2020 Ford Escape is all-new with a wide range of options, including the return of two hybrid powertrains. The Escape was the world’s first hybrid sport utility back in 2005, so this is something of a return to its roots. Over the years, however, the Escape has grown up offering better overall performance, increased fuel efficiency, and an array of advanced safety technologies.
You have a choice of two gas or two hybrid powertrains. While the standard hybrid is available now, the plug-in hasn’t yet arrived, but is set to be in dealerships this spring. We spent out drive time with the more powerful of two available gas powertrains. The base S and SE trims feature a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque.
That’s also the engine found on the SEL, but it includes the option for the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque that becomes standard on the top Titanium trim. The base engine also offers front-wheel or all-wheel drive while the more powerful engine is all-wheel drive only.
We drove the top Titanium trim and it proved a spirited ride. This is a 5-passenger SUV so it’s not overly huge, but it’s still a substantial vehicle. The 2.0-liter engine responded well to inputs accelerating smoothly and making it easy to merge into highway traffic.
Noise was kept to a minimum under all but the hardest acceleration. The standard 8-speed automatic transmission made good use of the Escape’s power with well-timed shifts. It’s not a sporty SUV, but it’s responsive and engaging. There are also drive modes of Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, or Snow/Sand to tailor the drive to current road conditions.
The Escape makes it easier to manage passengers with a sliding second-row. Move it back to give rear passengers more legroom or forward if you need more room for cargo. There’s seating for three adults in the second-row with good headroom and legroom so even longer drives are doable.
When it’s time to carry cargo, there’s 37.5 cubic feet behind the second row or 65.4 cubic feet behind the first row.It can also tow up to 3,500 pounds with the 2.0-liter engine or 2,000 pounds with the 1.5-liter.
Staying connected is easy with FordPass Connect and available 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity for up to 10 devices. That’s more than enough to keep the whole family connected and entertained on road trips. There’s also available wireless charging in the center console and up to four USB ports.
Infotainment includes a standard 8-inch touchscreen with all but the base trim featuring SYNC 3. This includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Ford+Alexa to keep a seamless connected experience right from your home to your car.
The Escape has Ford Co-Pilot360 with a wide range of standard and available safety features. Automatic high beams, blind-spot with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, and post-collision braking are standard. Available features include adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centering, reverse and front parking aid, and evasive steering assist.
The 2020 Ford Escape offers a combination of safety, technology, and versatility that makes it an attractive crossover option. A wide range of powertrains from gas to hybrid increase that attractiveness by offering combinations designed to suit every buyer.
Pricing starts at $24,885 for the base SE and tops out at $33,550 for the top Titanium trim. Look for the 2020 Ford Escape at your local dealership today.