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A blue 2020 Ford Escape, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford Escape vs 2019 Ford Escape, is parked in a wet parking garage.

Is Newer Better? The 2020 vs 2019 Ford Escape

The Escape consistently ranks second-most among Ford’s annual sales. It trails only behind Ford’s F-Series, the most popular and highest-rated trucks in the world. With the F-Series as a big brother, the Escape has a lot to live up to. So what is different between the 2020 Ford Escape vs 2019 Ford Escape? The 2019 Escape was an amazing vehicle, but does its newer iteration perform better?

While the 2020 Escape is the better buy over the 2019 model, the latter is no joke. The 2019 Escape provides fuel efficiency, maneuverability, and comfort in a small crossover SUV. The 2019 model year Escape is the last of the third generation. Where it will shine for you, is the affordability. While the price is none too far away from a newer and more advanced model, the price gives buyers a lot for their money.

The Escape’s Exterior

The fourth generation of the Ford Escape arrives in a sophisticated fashion. Beginning with the exterior, the suave curvature, large puppy-dog eye headlights, and regal rear trunk design, you’ll be in style for years to come. The 2019 Escape maintains rigid lines that give off more of a streamlined, no-no-nonsense attitude for the Escape. Head and taillights come to a point, and there is no particular wow-factor to the 2019’s exterior.

Each vehicle carries a hexagonal grill, but for the 2020 edition, the grill has been lowered, and it no longer features horizontal slats. Now, expect low-profile, high-gloss triangular studs to hover below the script ‘Ford’ emblem. Ford claims the new Escape is also more aerodynamic. This can be seen in the more organic sloping roofline.

A couple is putting a kayak in the water next to a red 2020 Ford Escape.

The Escape’s Interior

The interior of each Ford Escape is guaranteed to be unique and comfortable. The base model 2019 Escape S features what I would like to refer to as an ugly and unintuitive infotainment system that reaches far out of arms reach and far away from the sight of the driver. Some buttons were intentionally sloped upward, to create a unique interior. However, it was far from user-friendly.

In the 2020 model year, simplicity and space is the name of the game. The base model Escape offers an easier dashboard configuration. The driver will be able to access all of the vehicle’s controls on a more flat, front-facing screen. A rotary gear selector has replaced the stick gear selector from the 2019 model year. This change was made to allow more space in the front seat area. Think of hitting your coffee cup on the stick-shaped gear selector. Now, it is like just the lid of a coffee cup that you turn to move your car into park, drive, and reverse.

The interior of the 2019 Ford Escape is welcoming. It is, in no way, standard looking. With vertical strips of air vents and curved buttons, the inside of your 2019 Ford Escape will be a treat to step into. If you are interested in a bit more features on the 2019, upgrade only one trim higher, to the SE, to gain a much easier and user-friendly infotainment experience. This upgrade will feature closer controls and a larger screen.

As far as front row head, leg, hip, and shoulder room are concerned, expect no glaring difference between the two. Second-row legroom, however, is two more inches longer in the 2020 model, with headroom increasing by only 0.3 inches. The impressive benefit of using a 2020 model is the ability of the second-row seat to slide 6 inches forward. This nifty ability of your Escape increases your cargo capacity by 4 cubic feet. It will come in handy when you just need one more inch of clearance in order to close your tailgate.

The 2020 Escape has also gained a newly engineered suspension. Although ‘newly engineered’ does not always infer better, in this case, it does. Vibration absorbing subframe mounts will reduce your Escape’s response to potholes and divots on the road, creating a comfortable ride.

Technology/Safety Features on the Escape

An orange 2019 Ford Escape is driving around a lake.

The all-new Escape comes standard with a collection of new-age driving safety technology that Ford dubs Ford CoPilot360. It is for this reason alone that the 2020 Escape is superior to the 2019 model.

Concerning safety features, the 2019 Escape only comes standard with a rear-view back-up camera. More features, like brake assist and perimeter alarm, are available in the upgraded SE option. However, even a $2,395 upgrade to the SE trim still does not bring safety features as crucial as those included in Ford CoPilot360.

The standard Ford CoPilot 360 technology offerings make the competition between the 2020 and 2019 model a no-brainer. Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross traffic alert system is a standard feature that expands your eyes and ears when backing out of a parking spot and maneuvering tight corners. Amplified with rear brake assist, the cross-traffic alert system notifies the driver when someone or something is in their way of travel. This is also not just in front of and behind the car. Obstacles near the doorways can also be picked up. The 2019 Escape cannot be equipped with this tech.

Lane-keep assist is another standard available feature for the 2020, but not the 2019 model. Lane-keep assist is a parent’s godsend: it not only warns the driver when they are veering outside of their lane, but it alerts the driver when they have veered out of their lane too often. When this occurs, an icon will appear and suggest the driver take a break.

Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning all come standard on the 2020 Escape as well, as part of the CoPilot360 package.

Now standard on the 2020 Escape, but also available on the second-tier trim of 2019 Escape is Ford Pass Connect. This technology may be utilized on a smartphone, to remote start/stop your engine, lock the doors, and even set a GPS location of your last parking spot.

Another new-age feature of the 2020 Escape is its full digital gauge cluster and head-up display. This is a modern feature that does not come standard, but is worth noting because it is a common item in many luxury vehicles nowadays. While the all-digital display does not improve the practicality of the car, a head-up display most certainly will. By projecting the vehicle’s speed and incoming calls on the bottom of the windshield, below the driver’s line of sight, driving conditions are drastically improved from the inside of the car.

Which Car is the Better Buy?

If we may review the four large topics that have been covered (exterior, interior, technology /safety features, fuel efficiency), each help show how the 2020 Escape will offer a more user-friendly, aesthetically appealing, safe, and cost-efficient driving experience.

These aspects do improve not only a driver’s peace of mind on the road but also the resale value of the car. Consider the difference in base MSRP between the two models. With a disparity of less than $800 in price, the 2020 Ford Escape offers a small sum compared to the gain in driving experience. Overall, each vehicle will do the owner well. If a buyer is seriously interested in a 2019 model, do your research to find the best price, as the 2019 prices may drop once more 2020 Escapes hit the road.

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