Ford has been talking a lot lately about how they are shifting their focus primarily away from cars and putting their energy into trucks and SUVs. That shift is already apparent in the 2020 Ford Escape, which has a host of new features and options designed to move it ahead of its hefty competition. As a compact SUV, the Escape has to compete with popular vehicles such as the GMC Terrain and Honda CR-V, which leaves it with a lot to prove.
Fortunately, Ford’s engineers and designers seem to have pulled out all the stops this year, as the 2020 Ford Escape demonstrates its brilliance right off the bat. For beginners, there are five trim levels to choose from, which give you a lot of room for customization, and four different engines to be had. In addition to this, more safety features and tech items are standard than ever before, with new options and additional features at higher trim levels that really take advantage of everything the Escape can do.
But don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself…
Reason #1: The Trims
I love options – any vehicle that gives you more things to choose from is alright in my book. So it should come as no surprise that the first thing to really jump out at me about the 2020 Ford Escape is the number of trim levels available. Also, just to get this out there, every time I see the name of this vehicle, I hear the voice of a small blue and yellow fish pronounce it “es-cop-ay!” Moving on…
There are five trim levels to choose from with the 2020 Ford Escape, so pretty much every driver has a great option available. It starts with the S, which is the most affordable and effectively the “barebones” version of the Escape. From there you can step up to the SE, and the SE Sport is the next trim level available beyond that.
Then there’s the SEL, which provides you with a lot of options and features, but if you need even more, then you can go all the way up to the Titanium trim levels. The basic engine (keep reading) comes standard on the S, SE, and SEL models, while the SE Sport comes with a hybrid engine. The most impressive engine for the Escape is available on the Titanium, but it too comes with a hybrid engine standard.
Reason #2: The Engines
Speaking of the engines, there are four engines available, though they are limited by trim, as you saw above. The standard engine on most trim levels of the 2020 Ford Escape is a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder engine that can provide up to 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. It comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission and has a maximum towing capacity of up to 2,000 lbs.
If you opt for the more powerful standard engine on the Titanium trim level, then you get a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that offers up to 250 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. This engine gives the Escape up to 3,500 lbs. of towing capacity, so all that power certainly doesn’t go to waste. Fuel efficiency for these engines has not been determined yet, or at least not shared.
The standard engine for the SE Sport and the Titanium is an impressive hybrid model: a 2.5L 4-cylinder beauty that offers a combined 198 hp. This engine can go more than 550 miles on a single tank of gas. Early in 2020, a fourth engine will become available: a 2.5L 4-cylinder plug-in hybrid that delivers a combined 209 hp and offers up to 30 miles of electric-only driving. The plug-in model will take about 11 hours to charge at an 110v outlet or a little over 3 hours to charge at a 240v outlet.
Reason #3: The Exterior Design
The exterior design of the 2020 Ford Escape is actually what a lot of people will notice first because it’s hard to miss. While not necessarily revolutionary for an SUV, the overall design is definitely sleeker than you might expect, particularly the front end. According to Ford, the front grille is inspired by the current grille on the Mustang, while other aspects of the front end are based on the Ford GT.
For the record, no one is going to look at this and think it’s a Mustang or a GT, but I get where they’re coming from. The front is definitely sportier than what I see on a lot of SUVs. In fact, if you showed someone a still image of the 2020 Escape at a head-on angle, with the right perspective, they might confuse it with the front of a sedan rather than an SUV.
Reason #4: More Room Inside
And yet, that sleek design has not sacrificed interior room at all, in fact, the inside of the 2020 Ford Escape is more spacious than ever before. According to Ford, there is more headroom across the board for everyone from the front seats to the third row. In fact, early specs from Ford also indicate the 2020 Escape offers more hip and shoulder room for passengers too. It’s also worth pointing out that the second and third-row seats still slide forward and back, while some other SUVs on the market have abandoned this design.
Better yet, the amount of cargo space inside the 2020 Ford Escape is also greater than the previous model. According to Ford, they have added almost 4 cu.ft. of interior cargo space, increasing it to 37.5 cu.ft. behind the front seat. It’s still a compact SUV, but you can definitely get more into it than ever before.
Reason #5: Great Tech Features
One area where people have often been critical of the Ford Escape in previous years is with regard to tech and safety features, particularly what is standard and what costs extra. The tech features in the 2020 Escape have really been stepped up. Sure, the Titanium trim level still has features you won’t get on the S model, but you get a lot more at each trim than before.
Some of these features include an 8-inch touchscreen Infotainment display that includes dedicated control knobs for volume, radio adjustments, and changing heating and cooling settings. Other companies have tried to cut these knobs by changing them to controls on the touchscreen interface, and those alterations have been almost universally hated. There is also an available 12-inch digital driver information display, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and Waze.
Reason #6: Impressive Safety Options
You could say I saved the best for last because my favorite thing about the 2020 Ford Escape is that more of the safety features are standard than before, with new features to check out as additions. Things such as forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alerts have all become standard features on all models. There is also pre-collision assist with automatic braking to help you avoid collisions and automatic high-beam headlamps.
New safety features that are available as additional options include an updated active park assist function, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering, and evasive steering assist that gives the driver better steering control when a possible collision is detected. One of my all-time favorite safety features is also available: a head-up display for the driver, which lets you keep your eyes on the road instead of looking down at the display. This creates an image low on the windshield in front of the driver that can show information such as cruise control status, current speed, navigation, and even alert you to dangers on the road or incoming calls