Inside the 2020 Ford Escape: Is It Worth the Wait?

In 2018, when Ford announced that they were discontinuing most sedan and passenger car models, they put the newly freed-up resources from the discontinued line towards crossovers and trucks.

The 2020 Ford Escape is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this new plan.

Completely redesigned for the 2020 year, the Escape provides a balance between a crossover SUV and the passenger cars of old.

Trims

  • S: $24,885
  • SE: $27,095
  • SE Sport Hybrid: $28,255
  • SEL: $29,255
  • Titanium: $33,400

Performance Specs

The 2020 Ford Escape is centered around the idea of modernity. This idea is especially evident when you consider the various choices in powertrains.

The Escape’s options begin with a base 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that comes standard on the SE, SEL, and SEL trims. In past years, the Escape’s base engine has been a 2.5-liter I4, but the 180-horsepower on the new base engine is leagues above the base powertrain from previous years. You’ll see vast improvements in engine power if you upgrade to the Titanium trim, where a turbocharged I4 fetches 250-horsepower and establishes an impressive towing capacity of nearly 4,000 pounds. Both gas engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters come standard on the Titanium trim for a semi-automatic ride.

Hybrid powertrains carry a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I4. Atkinson-cycle engines, developed in the late 1800s to increase efficiency for internal combustion engines, work here to ensure that your 2020 Ford Escape gets you where you need to go without increasing your carbon footprint or using too much gas. In fact, the shiftless transmission and electric motor manage to boast 198-horsepower. The plug-in equivalent uses larger lithium-ion batteries and active noise cancellation technology to sit at 209-horsepower but removes the option for all-wheel-drive.

Fuel Efficiency

The 2020 Ford Escape has yet to hit the market. As such, there’s not much information on the gas mileage we can come to expect from these stellar engines.

With that said, the reasonably high mileages of recent years and Ford’s focus on efficiency indicates that mileages will be quite satisfactory. It’s been estimated that the plug-in hybrid is expected to get approximately 39 mpg on the electric-only mode, making short rides around urban areas a gas-free and cost-free endeavor.

Comfort, Infotainment, and Safety

The Escape’s full redesign for the 2020 year resulted in a sleek new style and aerodynamic body molding. Wider than most predecessors from this line, the 2020 model benefits from a more spacious second row of seating and a rotary dial transmission that makes changing gears easy.

Inside the cabin, a wide variety of infotainment options make your Ford Escape endlessly customizable. All trims above the S feature eight-inch touchscreens with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa functionality. An optional 10-speaker audio suite ensures that you’ll be able to hear your music from every side. Additionally, the available Wi-Fi hotspot allows up to 10 mobile devices to connect without lagging or decreasing the overall connection speed.

If you’re the kind of versatile driver that finds themselves navigating a variety of road conditions, the Escape’s five driving modes (Normal, Eco, Slippery, Sport, and Deep Snow/Sand) might be the key to ensuring your safety during long drives to come. These settings alter your vehicle’s traction and suspension stability with a flick of a button, improving handling on any road surface.

The 2020 Ford Escape’s safety features are meager at the base trim but become more substantial with each upgrade. The Ford Co-Pilot360 system comes standard in even the S trim and includes such features as blind-spot detection and automatic emergency brakes. You will also benefit from automatic high beams and lane-keep assistance with a standard base Escape.

Higher trims will benefit from features like active parking assistance, which finds a parking spot that will fit your vehicle and then pilot you into it automatically. Adaptive cruise control that adjusts to traffic ahead is also available, as is an active steering assistance feature that gives you added steering power when you’re dealing with a system warning.

How Does It Stack Up Against the Competition?

Ford’s position as a titan of the automotive industry means that they face strong competition. Some of which is designed to specifically to counter their yearly developments.

This year, the biggest challenges come from the 2020 Kia Sportage and the 2020 Buick Encore GX, both members of the crossover SUV family.

2020 Kia Sportage

Like the Escape, the Kia Sportage was redesigned for the 2020 year. Unlike the Ford Escape, it was not a total redesign. Therefore, similarities to the 2019 model reduce the freshness of the new decade’s offering.

With a starting price of $23,990 for the base trim, you’ll save money in comparison to the Escape. Unfortunately, the Sportage offers fewer engine options, trim levels, and standard features. The Kia Sportage’s maximum horsepower in its most powerful engine is 240, which is 10-hp less than the similar statistic on the Ford Escape. Also, the Sportage does not have any hybrid powertrain options.

2020 Buick Encore GX

An estimated starting price of $26,500 means you won’t save much money taking the 2020 Buick Encore GX over the Ford Escape.

With that said, the offerings seem roughly comparable. Projections for the Buick Encore GX’s powertrains speculate that they’ll put forth between 138 and 153 horsepower, giving the Escape an edge in performance. However, standard safety features are similarly broad between the two vehicles and both feature modern styling with a comfortable interior.

The decision between these two crossovers comes down to individual choice and brand loyalty.

Final Thoughts

The 2020 Ford Escape will be available in the fall of 2019.

If you decide that it’s worth the wait, don’t think you have to pay full price. Car dealerships and the manufacturers themselves sometimes offer special deals like a percentage off the overall price or lower interest rates. These incentives change often, so make sure you know the best deals available when you go looking for your brand new 2020 Ford Escape.

Edmunds / YouTube

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