-  Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

The 2020 model year has brought a complete redesign to Ford’s Escape.

The compact SUV has borrowed some of the exterior design elements from its sporty sedan siblings such as the Mustang and GT and now features a sportier and more streamlined appearance.  

But it’s not just the exterior that’s different in the newest model year, the 2020-MY Ford Escape has also received improvements to fuel economy, second-row legroom, driving performance, and safety technology.

Four Engines, Five Trims

 -  Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

The 2020 Ford Escape comes in five trims: S, SE, SEL, SE Sport, and Titanium. Alongside those five trims, Ford offers four engine options available to different trims.

The S, SE, SEL trims can be configured with a 1.5L EcoBoost Engine mated to an automatic eight-speed transmission that produces 180 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. Ford is debuting cylinder deactivation in its North American vehicles with this engine. This means that when the engine sense that a cylinder isn’t needed, it will shut down that cylinder automatically. According to Ford, the system can activate or deactivate a cylinder in 14 milliseconds to maintain a smooth ride.

The SEL and Titanium trims can be configured with a 2.0L EcoBoost engine mated to an automatic eight-speed transmission that produces 250 hp and 275 lb.-ft. of torque.

The SE Sport and Titanium trims can also be configured with a 2.5L hybrid engine mated to an electronic continuously variable transmission that produces 198 hp that has an EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles on a full tank (14.2 gallons).

Lastly, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims can be configured with a 2.5L plug-in hybrid engine mated to an electronic CVT transmission that produces 209 hp. The plug-in variant is expected to deliver at least 30 miles of range in electric-only mode. The vehicle can be charged with a Level 1 or 2 AC charging. It should take 10 to 11 hours to charge the battery using a Level 1 charger and roughly 3.5 hours on a Level 2 Charger.

All trims, including the S trim, are available in all-wheel-drive configuration.

In-Vehicle Technology

 -  Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

Ford Co-Pilot360 comes standard with on every trim of the 2020 Ford Escape.

Standard features that come with Co-Pilot360 include automatic emergency braking, cross traffic alert, a lane keeping system, auto high beam, and a reverse camera.

Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go and lane-centering is an available option, as well.

FordPass Connect is also a standard feature that provides 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices with a compatible wireless subscription service.

FordPass Connect also provides remote access to drivers using the FordPass Connect smartphone app. The app allows drivers to lock, unlock, locate and start the vehicle, and monitor key vehicle diagnostics through their phone.

Behind the Wheel

The 180 hp, 177 lb.-ft. engine that powered our Escape provided a confident drive.

It never felt like the Escape struggled to get to speed and it was quick off a stop. It may depend on what type of brakes you're used to, but braking did feel rather sensitive. 

Driving in both city and highway roads felt smooth, which was likely the result of the new eight-speed automatic transmission and all-new suspension that’s come to the 2020 Ford Escape.

Backseat passengers were comfortable and had plenty of space to move around, thanks in part to the sliding second-row seats that are available in this year’s Escape. And, the 33.5 cu.ft. of cargo space in the back gave me plenty of storage room for long errand runs.

The seats in the front row were also comfortable and the infotainment system had pretty much everything I needed.

Adaptive cruise control continues to be one of my favorite features in newer vehicles and I was happy to have it on the Escape.

While this is a nitpick, I wasn’t a big fan of the rotary gear shift dial in the escape. It might be something that would become less of an issue after extended use, but I longed for a traditional shifter while using it.

Overall, the 2020 Ford Escape was fun to drive, gas mileage was good, and cargo space met my needs.

2020 Ford Escape SE Specs

  • Engine: 1.5L EcoBoost engine three-cylinder (180 hp, 177 lb.-ft.)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Cargo Space: 33.5 cu.ft., 65.4 cu.ft. with rear seats folded
  • Fuel Economy (FWD): 27 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
About the author
Eric Gandarilla

Eric Gandarilla

Senior Editor

Eric Gandarilla is a former Bobit editor who worked on Automotive Fleet and Vehicle Remarketing.

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