Ford’s best-selling SUV
Fifteen years ago, I drove the first Ford Escape. The difference between that SUV and today’s Escape is measurable, and it is all for the better.
Today’s fourth-generation Escape is sleeker, quieter, and more responsive. The new Escape will offer five trim levels; S, SE, hybrid-only SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium and four powertrains; two gasoline engines, a hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid, eventually. My ride is the 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD wrapped in Sedona Orange Metallic exterior car color with ebony black leather seats. The Titanium trim level includes shiny 19-inch aluminum wheels that gives the exterior an upscale feel.
The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, available on the Titanium trim level, produces 250 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, with a 0-60 mph time 10 percent faster than the outgoing Escape 2.0-liter. When properly configured, you can tow up to 3,500 pounds, the most of any Escape trim level or powertrain (the hybrid can only tow 1,500 pounds). All trim levels feature five drive modes (Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Snow/Sand). Through a button on the console, you can pick the driving mode that will then adjust the response of the engine and transmission.
The interior has a spacious feeling due in part to the lower beltline that allows for bigger windows. The sliding second-row seat allows rear-seat passengers to increase legroom for a more comfortable ride and best-in-class legroom. With the second-row seat in the full-forward position, the rear cargo area extends nearly six inches to increase the cargo area to 37.5 cubic feet. With the second-row seat positioned furthest back, the cargo area measures 34 cubic feet.
The all-wheel-drive aptly comes with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Ford added a couple of USB charging ports and a 110V AC power outlet for that long journey up the hill to go skiing.
Standard safety on the Escape includes automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assistance. The Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of active safety tech includes the optional adaptive cruise control.
Active Park Assist 2.0 allows the driver to park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with the touch of a button without using the steering wheel, gear shifter, gas pedal, or brake pedal.
Evasive Steering Assist is an option that detects a slower-moving or stationary vehicle in front of you and provides steering support that can assist the driver in avoiding an imminent collision.
Titanium models are available with an all-new heads-up display, a Ford first in North America. The system projects information onto a 6-inch screen that protrudes from the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. I found the heads-up display to be redundant since the 8-inch touch screen mounted gave the same information.
For music lovers, the Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker & the subwoofer sound system is standard on the Titanium edition. The Sync 3 Ford system has upgraded with each generation of Ford and now includes features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Waze navigation, and Ford+Alexa. The FordPass Connect is a standard feature that serves up 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices with a compatible wireless subscription service.
The competitive segment for the Escape is Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Shopping for deals in this segment is highly recommended, especially now. Ford will want to do everything it can to maintain its best-selling status.
2020 FORD Escape Titanium AWD
VEHICLE TYPE__________________ 5-passenger small 4WD SUV
BASE PRICE_____________________ $36,685 (as tested: $39,775)
ENGINE TYPE___________________ EcoBoost WITH START/STOP In-line 4 cylinder
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 250 @ 5,500 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_________________ 280 @ 3,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION________________ 8-speed automatic with SelectShift® with paddle shifters
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 180.5 in.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,566 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY_________________ 15.8 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, 26 combined