Ford presses forward in 2019 with scheduled planning and production development for a lineup dominated by Sport Utility Vehicles and trucks. As is the case for the majority of auto manufacturers in the United States, the Ford Motor Company is strategically shifting gears by ramping up production to meet the increasing market demand for SUVs and trucks while simultaneously discontinuing their sedan lineup. This is partly due to vehicle sales for traditional smaller sized cars continue to slump. Ford car sales have continued to plummet, declining to a record low in the first quarter of the new year. However, in spite of an expected 5% drop in auto sales as predicted by J.D. Power Associates and LMC Automotive, sales figures for Ford SUVs remain strong, increasing by a respectable 3.5% with Lincoln, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. It is no wonder that Ford SUVs have increasingly become a top priority given the current state of the automotive market as well as a consumer demand that shows no signs of slowing down. According to Ford, “Customers continue to choose high series and the latest technologies,” and the automotive giant looks to capitalizing on these consumer desires as noted by a 2020 vehicle lineup and release schedule predominantly made up of their increasingly popular Ford SUVs.
The expanded offerings in the crossover and SUV market have already included the rising star EcoSport sub-compact which was finally released domestically last year to much success already sporting strong sales figures with 54,348 domestic deliveries in just a short time frame. And on the docket for Ford SUVs in 2019 and 2020 are brand new models as well as impressive updates to some old favorites that include the reintroduced Bronco, a still-under-wraps Mustang-inspired SUV, and the redesigned 2020 Escape with not one but two hybrid engine options.
Bucking Trends By Bringing Back The Bronco
2020 will see the re-introduction of the Bronco nameplate, which has sat on the sidelines since its retirement in 1996. It seems Ford is hedging their bets as they dust off an old favorite to make some change off of the vehicle’s past notoriety, and given the popular reception since the announcement, it appears to be a successful bet. Details about the new Bronco are still being kept under wraps, but the recent emergence of spy photos has only added flames to the fire of high expectations. Will it be a two or four door? What about off-road capabilities? All questions that Ford is wisely keeping secret until its major unveiling, so only time will tell. If increasing consumer interest and the vehicles’ general nostalgia are any indication, the 2020 Bronco will be in high-demand and a top-selling Ford SUV that can stick the landing.
Another secretive and yet to be unveiled project coming from Ford is the Mustang-inspired electric SUV. Initial reports had us all a little perplexed and intrigued. Confusion and intrigue aside, our hopes remain that these new Ford SUVs will arrive and exceed expectations, perfectly blending two distinctly different cultural identities. Ford’s recent announcement that it will be investing $850 million at their Michigan plant in order to build Electric Vehicles (EVs) does bring some sincerity to these claims of an electric Mustang-inspired SUV, since previously only hints have been given by the automaker about the impending all-electric model, tentatively titled the “Mach-E” (after the Mustang Mach 1). Reportedly set to compete with the already-at-market Tesla Model Y, Ford has revealed that the SUV will be capable of driving up to a record-setting 370-mile range while also providing fast-charging capabilities.
Redesigned 2020 Ford Escape
By its very nature, news generally contains a high degree of secrecy and speculative claims. This is all well and good to bolster excitement and retain interest in the automotive industry, where purchases involve big ticket items that are not bought with the frequency of, say, household items. Ultimately talk is cheap though, and Ford is well aware that a carrot held in front of its customers will only motivate consumers for so long before demanding the delivery of some concrete goods. Ford enthusiasts will not be held waiting in bated breath on the SUV front until some unannounced speculative release date as details were recently unveiled on the completely redesigned 2020 Escape. The redesign brings a sportier edge to the outer appearance of the ever popular model while stacking the interior with the latest upgrades on the technology front. To add to an already impressive amount of improvements and the new assortment of driver options, Ford is also offering the Escape in both a hybrid and a plug-in electric option so there are Ford SUVs for everyone.
Ford has yet to provide details on pricing but estimates suggest it will remain close to its previous retail value that currently stands with a budget-friendly starting MSRP, ranging from $25,000-$30,000. A large part of the appeal that initially drew consumers to the Ford Escape was its no-fuss approachability from the first-look, family-friendly cost to its more traditional design and size, all the way to the extensive number of standard features included. With the 2020 debut, Ford maintains and reasserts the previous allure of their mid-sized SUV while amping up the number of driver-selected options.
The more traditional combustion-based 2020 Escape will come equipped with the option of two variant engines. The base trim will come standard with a 1.5-Liter EcoBoost engine under the hood with buyers having the option of upgrading to the more powerful 250 horsepower 2.0-Liter EcoBoost on other trim levels. As mentioned previously, Ford is also bringing the Escape into the next generation of electric vehicles by reintroducing a hybrid configuration for these Ford SUVs. The plug-in variant will eventually be added to the lineup around spring next year which will be a first for the flagship SUV.
Bringing Back Hybrid
A hybrid setup was initially offered on the Escape from 2004-2012 with average sales of 114,000 units delivered before being retired. But it looks like the new variant of the hybrid model comes with some serious advancements sure to bring in a larger crowd. The driving range has been significantly increased with Ford claiming that the front-wheel drive, hybrid configuration equipped on the Escape will carry with it an EPA-estimated range of 550 miles. It seems technology is finally catching up to the idea of hybridization finally allowing Ford to post figures that will surely draw, rather than deter, potential buyers previously concerned about recharging on longer drives. And if you are already intrigued by the hybrid’s long-range capabilities, the plug-in hybrid variant might be worth the wait with an expected 30 miles of range on purely electric; combined with an 11-gallon fuel tank, this configuration all but ensures the plug-in Escape will be able to travel more than 400 miles before needing either a recharge or fuel to top off the tank. This is the second Escape generation offered in a hybrid setup, but the first with a plug-in variant. The Escape will be available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations with some exceptions when it comes to variant models and engine selection. For example, the plug-in hybrid is currently only being offered with the front-wheel drive options, while models upgraded to the 2.0L EcoBoost engine will come standard with all-wheel drive.
As far as the interior, Ford has expanded the roominess of the new Escape with what they claim will be best-in-class second-row legroom. This may reduce some of the Ford SUV’s previous storage room, but passenger comfort has always been a bigger priority in our books. Ford has also managed to maintain this roomy interior on their hybrid models by placing the battery pack under the rear seat, so it won’t take up too much storage space or cramp the space in the second-row of seating. On the tech-front, an eight-inch touch screen will come standard on all SE trim models and above operating with the user-friendly Ford’s Sync 3 system. And of course, the Escape will come equipped with an allotment of the best standard and optional driver assist features including Ford’s Co-Pilot360, automatic emergency braking, rear-view camera, and blind spot monitoring system. Other driver assist features that are assumed to be optional include parking assist, heads-up display, and adaptive cruise control.
The redesign is a clear sign that Ford has made the Escape a priority vehicle in the SUV market of today, and with the addition of a hybrid and plug-in option, Ford all but ensures that the escape will be a leader in the Ford SUVs of tomorrow as well.
Whether you’re looking for news on the nostalgic Bronco, the mysterious Mustang-inspired SUV or the new Escape with its hybrid options there are Ford SUVs for everyone and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on each.