The 2020 Ford Escape debuts with new look and a PHEV option. This is the trend moving forward as automakers are making major shifts towards electrifying their lineups. The new Escape crossover adds a three-cylinder and two different options of electrification. Outside of Ford’s truck line, the Escape is their bread and butter. The compact crossover market is smothering sedans and small cars, and Ford embraces the opportunity to shine. The crossover market is tough and the new Escape will be competing with the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox.
The redesign of the Escape rides on the company’s new global platform of the Euro 2019 Ford Focus. This will be the automakers first car sold in the United States using the new underpinnings. Ford is offering four different variants of the Escape. The base 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a hybrid model and a plug-in hybrid. The Escape Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid are paired with a redesigned 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Ford hasn’t released any official numbers on the electric range of either, but the goal is 30-plus miles.
The PHEV uses a 14.4 kWh battery pack that fits under the rear seat. Like many hybrids, the floor sits a little higher to account for the additional parts, but there is no loss of space. The Hybrid powertrain produces 198 horsepower with 153 pound-feet of torque, while the Plug-In Hybrid has a system-combined 209 horsepower with the same torque. The Plug-In Hybrid won’t be available in all-wheel-drive, which is available on the Hybrid and all other versions of the Escape.
The new Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid has four modes to select from when driving. “Auto EV” means the car is in charge. “EV Now” puts the powertrain electric power only mode. “EV Later” transition the car to full gas power. And lastly, “EV Charge” is basically what it says, it charges while driving. Ford didn’t leave out the gas-only versions of the Escape, so they get an EcoBoost engine option. The three-cylinder creature cylinder deactivation allowing the engine to shut down one of the cylinders when not being used. Ford claims a six percent boost in efficiency from this technology. For a little more power and speed, the 2.0-liter turbo will deliver. The turbo has 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque when running on premium fuel. The gas powered engines are paired with an eight-speed transmission. There is a towing max of 3,500 pounds with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost, 2,000 pounds with the 1.5-liter engine, and 1,500 pounds for both hybridized options.
Aesthetically, the new Escape is lower, wider and longer giving it a much more dynamic driving experience. The weird grille will bring up some conversations with consumers, but otherwise the crossover looks great. The PHEV and Hybrid models have special badging and wheels. It’s subtle without the “Hey look at me, I’m Green.” On the interior, the visibility is improved with a lower belting. The sliding and reclining second row gives you the opportunity to choose between max legroom or max cargo room with 6 inches of adjustable space. An optional upgrade is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster from the Explorer. The Sync 3 infotainment system works on the 8-inch infotainment screen for SE models and up, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford has mentioned the intention to offer HUD in the Escape on the Titanium trim.
The Escape will feature the Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite of safety features standard at every trim level. This will include features like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist, but no adaptive cruise control or lane-centering. Those are available as an upgrade option. The new trim levels will include S, SE, SE Sport, SEL and Titanium. The Plug-In Hybrid will be available in spring 2020. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date later this fall.
Image Credit: Ford