2020 Ford Escape First Drive Full Report

Ford’s evergreen Escape is renewed with sleeker styling and hybrid power.

2020 Ford Escape first drive

Spacious interior

Great powertrains

Intuitive infotainment

Sloppy handling

Cheap interior materials

The original Ford Escape introduced its first compact crossovers, implementing Ford’s experience with traditional SUVs just like the Bronco and Explorer to what would become one of the hottest segments in the industry. The Escape has battled the Honda CR-V,Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4 for almost two decades, but now the crossover faces its biggest challenge yet.

Escape room

The compact crossover segment is a lot more crowded than it was when the first-generation Escape made its debut for the 2001 model year, or even when the outgoing-generation Escape arrived for the 2013 model year. To stand out from the crowd, Ford took the 2020 Escape’s exterior styling in a different direction than either of the previous generations.

Room for tech, too

The tech changes aren’t as dramatic as the changes to the vehicle itself, but they do make a difference. The 2020 Escape still runs the Sync 3 infotainment system used in the previous-generation model, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot that can support up to 10 devices.

Doing more with less

Ford led the trend in engine downsizing with its turbocharged EcoBoost engines, which aimed to maintain power while shrinking displacement, all in the name of fuel economy. But Ford is taking the concept to a new level with the 2020 Escape.

Hybrid power

The 1.5-liter engine returns decent gas mileage, at 30 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive, and 28 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 31 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive. The 2.0-liter engine, which is only available with all-wheel drive, returns 26 mpg combined (23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway). But if fuel economy is the priority, Ford has other options.

Final Conclusion

The 2020 Ford Escape aims to soften the blow of Ford’s car culling, but first it needs to prove that it’s better than the legions of other compact crossovers on sale today. It may not even be able to do that.

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