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.
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.