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A red 2020 Ford Escape is driving past a white building.

Versatile SUVS: The 2020 Ford Escape vs 2020 Toyota RAV4

The compact SUV market is perfect for individuals and small families looking for a vehicle with a lot more versatility than your average sedan. They’re small, but still have enough space for passengers and/or cargo, and many of them will do just fine off the pavement. The only issue (not really an issue) is there are so many to choose from. Today, let’s compare these models: 2020 Ford Escape vs 2020 Toyota RAV4.

Both vehicles are from well-respected brands, although their countries of origin couldn’t be farther apart. Many prospective car buyers already have deep-lying tendencies towards or against different car brands for varying reasons, so comparing a Ford vs a Toyota can already cause for an immediate decision. However, to remain unbiased, one should take a good look at each vehicle and see what their different features and options may be. It’s also important to find out where the vehicle may excel and where there may be some shortcomings.

So, let’s dive into it.

The 2020 Ford Escape

The Escape is a well-known vehicle since it’s been around for 20 years now. It’s safe to say there have definitely been some improvements made on it since it was first released in the year 2000.

A red 2020 Ford Escape, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford Escape vs 2020 Toyota RAV4, is driving towards mountains.

Trims and Prices

The 2020 Escape comes in five different trim levels, including the S, SE, SE Sport Hybrid, SEL, and Titanium. Here are their starting prices, accordingly:

  • Escape S: $24,885
  • Escape SE: $27,105
  • Escape SE Sport Hybrid: $28,265
  • Escape SEL: $29,265
  • Escape Titanium: $33,550

Five different trim levels with almost a $9,000 difference from the lowest to highest and, it’s nice to note, there’s an available hybrid option.

Your barebones model (S) comes equipped with a 1.5L EcoBoost engine with Auto Start-Stop Technology and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is the only engine available at this level, but it’s interesting to see that All-Wheel Drive Disconnect is available at all trim levels, including the base one. The term for this technology (AWD Disconnect) is slightly confusing, but just know that it means you will indeed have an All-Wheel Drive system (if you opt for this add-on), and that system will be able to automatically disable the rear driveline when All-Wheel Drive isn’t needed. Overall, its purpose is intended to save fuel.

The SE Sport Hybrid comes with, of course, a hybrid engine. Specifically, the Hybrid 2.5L IVCT Atkinson-Cycle I-4 engine. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell from its name, the Titanium trim level also comes standard with the same hybrid engine, but it also has the available option of a 2.0L EcoBoost Engine with Auto Start-Stop Technology.

Safety Features

Ford’s suite of safety features, or Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology, is actually shown to be quite prevalent across the different trim levels, including on the base model (S). In fact, the Escape S comes equipped with nine specific safety features, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane-Keeping System, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert, and Auto High-Beam Headlamps. For a base model SUV under $30,000, that’s quite nice, considering a lot of model lines will have the majority of safety features tied to the higher trim levels.

Of course, the Escape Titanium has more safety features, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane Centering as well as Rain-Sensing Wipers. Still, you can always expect the top trim to have the most features.

2020 Toyota RAV4

Toyota isn’t a new name in the United States, or anywhere else, really. It’s a global power in the automotive world and an extremely popular brand in America, let alone in its home country of Japan. They’ve been leading the charge in innovative technology for decades now, especially with hybrids and safety features. According to Kelley Blue Book, the RAV4 was the best-selling SUV in 2018.

Trims and Prices

The 2020 RAV4 comes in with a whopping ten different trim levels, including the LE, LE Hybrid, XLE, XLE Hybrid, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, XSE Hybrid, Limited, and Limited Hybrid. Clearly, the fact that there are so many hybrid levels in the lineup really pushes up the total number of trims available. Although, that’s not a bad thing.

Prices range from $25,850 (LE) to $29,850 (XLE Premium) to $36,630 (Limited Hybrid). In contrast to the 2020 Escape, this is about an $11,000 gap from low to high ($2,000 more than the Escape), and the base model RAV4 LE starts about $1,000 higher than the base model Escape S. However, there are more models to choose from here, which would explain the gap price. For the base model discrepancy, we would need to look at the features.

The barebones model (LE) comes equipped with a 2.5L 4-Cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is the only engine available (that isn’t the hybrid option, of course), although you do have All-Wheel Drive available on every non-hybrid trim. All hybrid models come standard with Electronic-AWD and 2.5L 4-Cylinder Hybrid Engines.

The Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims come standard with All-Wheel Drive capability. In addition to having Sport, Eco, and Normal drive modes, they also have a multi-terrain select mode dial with Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, and Snow. Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and increased ground clearance (8.6 in) are also included. The TRD Off-Road also comes equipped with Falken all-terrain tires and a TRD-tuned independent MacPherson strut front suspension with stabilizer bar.

A sage green 2020 Toyota RAV4 is parked next to a lake with mountains behind it.

Safety Features

It’s come to be expected from Toyota, but all trim levels come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). This includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Road Sign Assist. However, there are still many other additional safety features included, as well. The base model (LE) won’t come with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert or Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking (only the Limited and Limited Hybrid models come standard with this feature).

The Outcome

Overall, the two vehicles are pretty close in this race. The 2020 Escape S may start off at a lower price than the 2020 RAV4 LE, but it’s not actually a huge difference, and you may not think the RAV4’s additional features (if any) make up for the change in price.

When comparing the safety features, it’s nice to see that both vehicles have a lot of features spread across all trim levels. Safety shouldn’t be a premium, which is the message manufacturers are starting to hear loud and clear. It should be noted that feature for blind spot detection comes standard on the Escape S, but not on the RAV4 LE (although it is an available option). It’s not clear if that would be make-or-break for most people, though.

What really makes the Escape stand out is its engine choices. With the RAV4, having only one engine can be a drawback for a lot of drivers who just need a bit more power. With the RAV4’s single-engine, you can get up to 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the 1.5L EcoBoost engine in the Escape, it’s a powerful option, but compared to the 2.0L EcoBoost engine on the Escape, it doesn’t stand a chance. The 2.0L engine gets up to 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to tow 3,500 lbs.

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