2020 Ford Escape (Kuga): Looks, Tech, Engines And Everything Else We Know

Ford’s strong-selling Escape (Kuga in Europe) is an interesting kettle of fish. It’s an honest compact SUV with competent handling and strong powertrains. The interior isn’t its strongest suit as the styling looks like it was penned by a schizophrenic and rear passenger space is a bit narrow.

Overall, it’s showing its age, but fortunately Ford are ripping up the template and stating with a clean sheet – or is that two clean sheets? Let’s explore further.

A More Focus-ed Design

Now styling is subjective; on first impressions, many may find the Escape’s soft, rounded new looks a bit of a surprise. It’s almost the polar opposite of the more rugged Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester, which begs the question, why?

The answer lays with Ford’s upcoming and similarly sized Baby Bronco (rumored to be called Puma). The Puma/Bronco Jr targets those seeking a tough-looking SUV, whilst the Escape wants to appeal more to the blue oval’s displaced passenger car buyers. It’s a twin-prong strategy that will attempt to cater to all tastes.

A Closer Look

Dominating the front is a trapezoidal grille similar to that found on the latest Focus (the one North America isn’t getting). It’s flanked by horizontally positioned fog lamps beneath large LED headlamps. Interestingly, the lower intake also has hints of Ford Edge and GT Supercar in its execution.

Side profile surfacing is characterized by lower door scallops and a rounded shoulder line, eschewing hard creases often found on many other cars. Rear-styling features twin exhausts (no fake tips here), RAV4-esque LED taillights and recessed vertical cutouts for the reflector lenses.

Interior Improvements

The current Escape lags behind the competition in interior styling and packaging. Luckily, its fussy cabin will be binned in favor of a much cleaner layout with nicer materials. A tablet-style infotainment system running Sync3 sits high on the upper dash area, whilst Ford’s Co-Pilot 360, active park assist and B&O audio will headline some of the tech goodies on offer.

Another criticism that will be addressed is the cramped interior, as rear seat occupants in particular will enjoy additional leg and shoulder room. There’s even conjecture around a (longer?) 7-seat variant being offered in future – watch this space.

EcoBoost Power

Starting out the range will be a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. Higher specification variants will utilize a revised 2.0-litre turbo four and a plug-in hybrid version. European and Asia-Pacific markets will also have access to an EcoBlue diesel in varying outputs.

Power will be fed to the tarmac via a nine-speed automatic with rotary-style shifter, in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations.

Launch Timing & Alternatives

We expect the all-new Escape to debut later this year as MY2020 offering, with the New York Auto Show in April being a prime candidate for its reveal.

Rivals in the hotly contested compact SUV segment will include Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, VW Tiguan and the Nissan Rogue.

What’s your view on the new Escape – have Ford made it too soft? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes


more photos...

Spy photo credits: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for Carscoops

  • Nordschleife

    Oddly enough (well not really) I am more interested in a rendering of the Corsair. I am interested on how Lincoln Navigator/Aviator styling translates to a smaller package.

    The Aviator is my personal favorite (along with the Velar) but of Lincoln can thrill me with the Corsair it will be my next vehicle.

    • charlotteharry57

      I’m worried that the Navigator styling won’t translate this small. Kind of the reverse of how the Civic styling created one ugly vehicle in the current Accord.

      • Nordschleife

        I think the Civic is not attractive at all and I think the larger scale of the Accord helps in that case. I guess time will tell but maybe CS can render it.

  • danno

    Found them always overpriced, and tight inside vs competition.
    I see a ton of them out there in SE FWD 1.5L fleet configuration.

  • SpongeBob99Swell

    To be honest, judging by the render, the body kind of looks a tad bit short and narrow, for both an Escape, and small SUV. Needless to say that I like how everything is layed out.

    ..hoping the final product however to exceed my expectations and not just in the design perspective…. in the meantime, please Ford, for the love of Karl Benz, unveil the Bronco! 🙂

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      It’s the new Toyota Supra!

      • SpongeBob99Swell

        ….what do you mean?

        • Loquacious Borborygmus

          A long gestation period.

          • SpongeBob99Swell

            I see.

  • ThisDecepticonWillFU

    At least General Motors new vehicles look like vehicles. I tell you that these new Ford vehicles are looking like body parts these days.

  • Bo Hanan

    Are you sure those aren’t 15 year old pictures of a 2nd generation Honda CRV?

  • Tom

    Why do 99% of SUV’s look like soccer mom rides? If you’re a man you have to spend north of $50,000 to get something that doesn’t look gender-fluid. Would SOMEBODY please build a $30,000 SUV with some testosterone? Thanks in advance.

    • MarketAndChurch

      Ford has masculine options coming out with the baby Bronco and Bronco.

    • Momogg

      Because SUV are for women!

      For men you have pick-up and real 4×4 only (G-class, Defender and Lada Niva 😬)

  • Vangelis Goulis

    poor man’s Cayenne

  • Liam Paul

    while I like Big and Midsize suvs , I hate compact suvs like these. They offer no advantage to a midsize sedan that is bigger and priced same.

  • rover10

    There is nothing about the rendering that says a slow seller to me. This will maintain Kuga as a strong selling SUV, especially in Europe and the UK. Tom’s comment about testosterone is valid to a point, but SUV’s in the main are driven by moms who don’t want to be seen driving a butch vehicle.

    • charlotteharry57

      The larger ones – midsize and up – yes. But the small ones are often driven by an empty-nester man that has difficulty entering and exiting a sedan.

      • MarketAndChurch

        Like my parents lol.

  • Rocket

    With the Baby Bronco on the way, softer and more car like is the right move for the Escape. That render looks like a pretty good guess at what an Escape ST might look like. Well done.

  • charlotteharry57

    As long as it really does look like this, I love it. It’s a winner. LOVE the nice big side windows; a refreshing change. However, I disagree on some of the info in the article. The Puma is supposedly the Fiesta-based EcoSport replacement and the Bronco “Jr.” is still tentatively called “Maverick”.
    Expect the new Escape will be in New York late next month, along with numerous other exciting reveals.

    • MarketAndChurch

      New York or Geneva. I want to say ny but I don’t know if Ford wants all of the debuts it has left for this year to only be in the US.

  • sidewaysspin

    Looking somewhat like a Porsche SUV.

    • ErnieB

      I thought the same thing.

    • MarketAndChurch

      That’s what I want, something the size of the Q5, with car-like styling, and in this case, a Porsche. All of the other small SUVs have really grown in size and Ford already has the edge and the upcoming baby Bronco for those looking for something bigger.

    • Navy Pier Morroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      I was just about to write the same!

  • Fred FlockF2013

    As a designer with 50 yrs experience I think Ford has it right; the Escape is not an ORV, Ford has or will have shortly plenty of macho vehicles. The new Rav-4 is a design disaster of creases and slashes that do nothing to enhance its lackluster performance, the Chevy Equinox is a mass of swoops and unrelated curves that go nowhere. Interestingly the best on-road performing small SUVS are Mazdas that are also the best styled, perhaps Ford took a lesson when they owned Mazda.

    • charlotteharry57

      The Mazda bit is up for debate. I’m not a fan of Mazda’s current styling.

      • Alduin

        Mazda trying to be a “premium” brand is laughable. You can’t be a premium brand with a Made in Mexico Mazda 3 with a torsion beam rear suspension setup. Go home Mazda you’re drunk!

    • MarketAndChurch

      The equinox is forgettable, like the Cruze. I personally like the new RAV4, it’s what a small Jeep should look like.

      • Alduin

        The new RAV looks impressive but the stick on tablet on top of the dash kills it. Why oh why do some manufacturers not blend the screen or mold it nicely into the overall design of the dashboard? Instead they tack it on top of it as if it was a last minute afterthought.

        • nellydesign

          Because the screens are getting bigger. This increase in size helps in their usability. But as they get bigger it gets harder and harder to integrate them into the dash and keep them in your eye line without the dash becoming overly tall and massive, or sinking them below your eyeline, causing you to have to look further away from the road to operate them. In order to keep the cockpit open and airy and functionally efficient, they opt to just let the screen be what it is without needing to ensconce it with plastic. It’s just a screen. Let it be a screen.

    • disqus_SWe1pH5gM2

      The RAV 4 hybrid gets an average of 40mpg nearly. Ford has its work cut out for them to compete with that. But I agree, Toyotas have to many lines and owners will start getting annoyed sooner than later when trying to clean it.

  • SteersUright

    Aside from hideous, alien eyes for headlights, it looks pretty good.

  • erly5

    Potentially looks a lot better than the current version, but that wouldn’t be difficult.

  • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

    it’s starting to look like the sportage

    • Salih Ahzem

      I also see a hint of Jeep GC in that taillight graphic design too.

  • Jawohl

    Looks like a Sportage – which is not a good look.

  • MarketAndChurch

    As for Lincoln, think… Q5. Which is about this size.

  • Alduin

    Bring on the ST and RS variants. Hopefully Ford ditched their craptastic dual clutch automatic.

    • Incog Nito

      Craptastic (krap-tas-tik)
      incredibly terrible or extreme; exorbitant:
      Ford has a craptastic transmisson.

  • Pauric Mcginley

    The Ford puma was a fiesta based sports car from 1997 to 2002 and Ford are reusing the name puma but this time in a SUV I like that Ford has plans to bring the American cars here in Ireland like the mustang and edage but the bronco would look nice beside my classic puma even better oj Simpson in the passenger seat lol .. so Ford please bring out another sports car called puma not a SUV called puma https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f833b78641d1055574463c0eb815e32f6954252806f6383b527e5d2cf867ead8.jpg

    • Salih Ahzem

      I wouldn’t call that Puma a sports car, it was a sporty looking car riding on the Fiesta platform of the day, with a sportier suspension.


    will be a fast seller and rav4’s biggest rival in the united states

  • Vottek Mäxle

    Is that a Mercedes-Benz license plate on the rendering?

    • Salih Ahzem

      S and MB, couldn’t be a coincidence, may be a note from the artist.

  • Yishay

    Gosh I’m getting sick of small suv’s. They all look the same! Only thing that changes is the grill and emblem.

  • Benjamin B.

    Ford doesn’t have a 9 speed automatic. Why would the next generation Ford Escape come with a 9 speed? Ford only recently started rolling out an all-new 8 speed transaxle. Why spend all the research and development money on a new 9 speed. That’ll be a waste of money. Unless Ford bothers GM’s 9 speed and why the hell would they do that. Stupid if you ask me. I expect an 8 speed.

    • metric

      Actually the 8 speed Ford utilizes, is the GM 9 speed. As part of a co-development agreement between the two companies, Ford took the lead on the 10 speed and GM the 9. Ford found that the 9 speed didn’t yield and efficiency benefits and opted to forgo one gear, this saved weight and complexity.


    Is Ford now taking Porsche’s design

  • Rick Vasquez

    This looks like a tall focus. Horrible

  • Jorge Salazar

    looks good…wait and see for real pics

  • Major Lee Gassole

    Way to ruin the Focus front end and then apply it to another car. I hope that head unit is a fake for the sake of anyone who buys this monstrosity.

  • jfalckt

    Impressive article, I was very out of favour regarding the looks, but now I get the reasoning and look forward to seeing the Bronco. Ford will have all bases covered.

    The SUV trend must be a win-win for car makers, The price premium must be way higher than the additional production costs of a regular hatchback.

  • jfalckt

    Damn, I thought you meant the Fusion we had in Europe for a second there!


  • Aaron_007

    I own a 2017 Escape Titanium, and I will not buy another Escape. As far as the 2020, it went too soft.

  • Ford need new designers

  • B Cuz

    Escape outsells every Ford vehicle except F150.
    308,296 Units a year. It’s a smash Hit Mini SUV by any measure.This update will undoubtedly be just as successful.
    The new Broncos will be FoMo’s beefy butch high ground clearance off-road at nearly same cabin size I expect. Thx.

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