Ford Lets Journos Drive The 2020 Escape; What’s Their Verdict On The New Compact Crossover?

Redesigned from the ground up, the 2020 Ford Escape has replaced its predecessor, which stayed in production for seven years.

The new SUV is longer, wider and lower, though the first change you notice is its design. Some say that it looks like a Focus on stilts, but Andrew Bazinski, the man who sketched it, says he actually looked at BMW motorcycles for inspiration. Moroever, he also wanted to differentiate it from the so-called Baby Bronco, which will be the more rugged member of Ford’s compact SUV family.

On the inside, it offers enough space both front and rear. Freeing up more legroom at the back is the sliding seat which, in turn, can make the boot bigger or smaller just by pulling a lever, with cargo space being between 33.5 and 37.5 cu-ft (949-1,061 liters) with all seats in place, and up to 65.4 cu-ft (1,851 liters) with the rear ones folded down.

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The 2020 Escape is offered in a choice of five trim levels. The base S starts at $24,885, $765 less than the most affordable Toyota RAV4, whereas the SE and SE Sport Hybrid come at $27,095 and $28,255, respectively. The SEL boosts the price to $29,255, and the top-of-the-line Titanium will set you back $33,400.

Equipment is decent, with all versions, bar the entry-level, getting the 8-inch SYNC 3 infotainment system. The SE Sport Hybrid adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, the SEL brings ActiveX premium seating material and the Titanium treats users to electrically adjustable and heated front seats, leather trim and a B&O premium sound system.

Customers can choose between four different powertrains, with the S, SE and SEL getting the 180 HP, 1.5-liter EcoBoost, and the SEL and Titanium packing the 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 250 HP. The 2.5-liter hybrid, which makes 198 HP, is available on the SE Sport and Titanium, whereas the SE, SEL and Titanium will launch with a 209 HP PHEV powertrain next spring. The conventional engines come paired to an eight-speed auto gearbox, while the electrified mills to an eCVT (electronic continuously variable transmission).

Specs and prices and all that are useful, but the real question is whether Ford’s new compact crossover should be on your shopping list. CNET’s Roadshow took a trip to Kentucky,, where the Escape is being put together at the Blue Oval’s Louisville plant, to see what it’s made of, and their verdict lies on video below.


  • Callanish

    For all its advancement over the old model, it looks bland as hell on the outside.

    • Seats & a steering wheel

      Was thinking that too, it looks REALLY soft, especially compared to something like Mazda CX-5 which has a much more premium look and aggressive front end.

      • FordMopar

        Can’t have two similar bodies with baby Bronco. Just take your pick when both are on the lots.

    • FordMopar

      They did that for a reason. Do you want similar body style with baby Bronco? Senior citizens, administrative people, others will eat this up big time.

  • Just me, or does it not look just like the new Ford Kuga?

    • charlotteharry57

      Kuga is the same thing.

    • 85ZingoGTR

      Its the same vehicle. In Europe its badged as the Kuga while in the US its badged as the Escape.

      • I don’t understand? So this is the an American car for Europe?

    • MarketAndChurch

      Maybe its the American version of the Puma

  • charlotteharry57

    I don’t have time to watch videos. I like this one, but don’t love it. Let’s hope Ford gets this ramp-up right, after the atrociously poor one for the Explorer/Aviator (still can’t believe that story never appeared in here. It was everywhere else.). This just goes to show that a jacked-up compact can yield $5K in added sticker price if it’s called a CUV. It’s price is on par with the competition, but it has that 3-cylinder turbo that other reviewers have already called a slug off the line and barely adequate from then on. Don’t expect this one to rise to the top of the pecking order.

    • MarketAndChurch

      Not to mention the safety features standard on Toyota’s, Honda’s, Hyundai/Kia’s, and now even Nissan, Ford will charge you an arm and a leg for. You have to spend 28290 dollars on the SE trim before you have access to Ford’s suite of safety tech, which bring you up to almost 29,000. Most of this tech is standard on the cheapest Rav4 or a $600 dollar option that is still almost $3,000 less than the Escape. Ford is treating their products like luxury items, and the new Explorer is proof of this.

  • Kitty Pourquoi

    What a dull looking thing. Looks too happy on the front, rear lights could be from the new RAV4 and interior is nothing special. Rather the more upscale CX-5

  • thejohnnycanuck

    Thanks all the same Ford but I’ll hold to my ’05 V6 AWD for a few more years.

    Still the best looking Escape if you ask me.

  • TheBelltower

    Even though the design isn’t going to set the world on fire, it does look like a substantial crossover. Hopefully there’s enough substance that it will be meaningful to buyers.

  • Rocket

    I get that they wanted this to be a little more car-like to clear plenty of room for the baby Bronco, but I wonder if it’s a bit too tame? Or maybe it should be more car-like?

    At the very least, they should offer the Kuga’s monochrome treatment. There, that’s better.

  • ediotsavant

    I have two issues with it:
    1. The 3 cylinder turbo engine. Competitors offer a larger engine with similar or better efficiency.
    2. The dashboard looks like it belongs to an entry level fuel miser car.

  • ThatGuy

    Base Hyundai Tucson $20,850 Est. Net Price in the US. Why would i get an below average, overpriced, potential fire hazard(lets hope they dont burst into flames again) Ford.

    Here is my gripe the Escape and Tucson are basically high Hyundai Elanta GT’s and that retails at $18k.
    Overpriced is an understatement also its not like the Elantra GT is cheap either.

    Car prices are at a point of outstripping outcome.

    But anyway, dont buy the Ford ever!!!

  • 85ZingoGTR

    I saw it at the NYIAS. Though I am certainly not a fan of the plain vanilla styling, I do really like the interior on the platinum. I find it warm and inviting. And the exterior is a bit better in person with the LED headlights. What I didn’t like however, watching TFLs Roman Mica driving it was how loud, raspy, and unrefined the 3-cylinder engine sounds. It does however have more power (180 HP) than the 2.5L 2AR-FE in my Rav (176 HP). So passing power seems like it wouldn’t be an issue. I would have to test drive one to see how its like to live with one of these 3-cylinders.

  • WalthamDan

    That front still looks too guppy-like. The grille still looks classy on the Fusion, but just has not transitioned well to the other models. Worse though is the prospect of Ford launching another Escape that suffers 4-5 recalls out of the gate. The current one had a disasterous launch. People may want to wait two years til everything gets straightened out.

  • Marc Gruben

    I love the low beltline and expanse of glass. So much better than a lot of the rolling machine-gun bunkers that so many SUV’s have become. I also like the front end, much better than the RAV4’s angry, frowning, “who farted in church?” face. However, after the shocking botched launch of the Explorer / Aviator, I too would hold my money until the initial round of recalls has passed.

  • I really don’t get it… So this called Kuga but based on a big suv, just downsized in Europe, space wise?

    • 85ZingoGTR

      No. They’re identical. There are no differences between the two except in name and maybe powertrain options.

      • identical? One got Orange side lights… I don’t think they’re the same car, but they do look – a- like 🙂

        • 85ZingoGTR

          Well thats what I meant by minor differences. NA vehicles have side reflectors. Although more often these days they leave the side reflectors in even on international models so they don’t need to make separate lights for different markets. Kinda how many british cars have the hood release on the right side even is the car is left-hand drive.

          • So it got the same name, just a different platform for the US marked.? 🙂

          • 85ZingoGTR

            Other way around. Now I’m guessing you’re toying with me…

          • 😛

  • MarketAndChurch

    Pretty solid looking car, I’d take it over a Crosstrek or Forester. The interior is ;very comfortable looking.

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