The 2020 Ford Escape is a well-rounded entry in the competitive compact SUV class. It has engaging handling, a roomy cabin, a user-friendly infotainment system, and lots of standard features and driver assistance technologies.
Base Price: $36,685
As Tested: $40,370
Mileage: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/26 mpg combined
The Escape got a makeover for 2020, including the addition of new engines and standard blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert and other driver assistance tech. The exterior gets sportier styling.
The five-passenger Escape comes in four trims: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. Starting prices range from $24,885 to $36,835. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on all trims.
There are two new engines for 2020. Standard is a three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost that makes 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. My tester has a turbocharged EcoBoost 2.0 four-cylinder that generates 250 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque. Both of these engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Escape is also available with two new hybrid powertrains, traditional and plug-in.
The Escape is almost right up there with the Mazda CX-5 when it comes to being fun to drive. Acceleration is peppy, there’s plenty of power for everyday driving situations like merging and passing, steering is responsive, and the Escape has little body lean when turning. However, the transmission can be slow to shift and the stop/start system can feel abrupt. The ride is smooth with most bumps kept at bay. Visibility is good all the way around.
When properly equipped, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Fuel economy is good for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with a combined rating 26 mpg. I got 26 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is exceptionally roomy for a small crossover/SUV. Even taller adults will be comfortable in both rows. Seats are comfortable and supportive even on longer trips. While the interior is pleasant, it’s not as upscale as some rivals. There are lots of soft-touch materials but also a fair amount of hard plastics.
Models with the EcoBoost engine get new sliding second-row seats that make for lots of passenger room in the second row. Put the seats in the full rearward position to create maximum legroom. Or if you are hauling gear, you can put the seats in the full forward position to create more room for cargo.
Standard features include rearview camera, cloth upholstery, the Ford SYNC infotainment system with 4.2-inch display, six-speaker audio system, and a USB port.
Available features include push-button start, single- or dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic or real leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, SYNC 3 infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, panoramic moonroof and a head-up display.
Standard driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, curve control, and driver drowsiness monitor. Ford’s MyKey also comes standard which lets you limit speed and audio volume for your teen drivers.
Available driver assistance technologies include adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, lane centering assist, rear parking sensors, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.
Cargo space is good for the class but some rivals boast more. The Escape has 33.5 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place, and 65.4 cubes with the rear seats folded. A power liftgate and hands-free power liftgate are available. The cabin also has several bins, cubbies and pockets for storing smaller items.
Fun to drive
Roomy, comfortable cabin
User-friendly infotainment system
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Interior not as upscale as some rivals
My tester starts at $36,685. The Star White Metallic Tri-Coat paint is $595. The Titanium Premium Package is $1,995 and adds a head-up display, panoramic vista roof, AC power outlet and black roof-rack side rails. Destination fee is $1,095 bringing the grand total to $40,370.
The 2020 Ford Escape gets a lot of things right and should be on your list if you’re looking for a good compact crossover/SUV. It’s fun to drive, comfortable, roomy, has a user-friendly infotainment system and lots of standard and available safety and driver assistance tech.