2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

Ford is shifting away from sedans and hatchbacks to go all in on pickup trucks and SUVs, and the latest Escape epitomizes that. The 2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker, more car-like styling to help attract a wider range of buyers, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain options to increase fuel efficiency, and a wider range of tech features. But Ford insists the redesigned Escape still has the utility traditional SUV buyers want.

Launched for the 2001 model year, the original Escape was one the first crossover utility vehicles. The segment has exploded since then, with several new models hitting showrooms even since the outgoing-generation Escape’s 2013 model year debut. Ford sought to use exterior design to differentiate the 2020 Escape from that hoard of competitors, Craig Patterson, Ford SUV marketing manager, told Digital Trends.

“It’s important to have a point of view,” Patterson said. For the Escape, that point of view is less truck boxiness, and more car-like sleekness. The 2020 Escape is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor, with a sleeker roofline and none of the fussy detailing that cluttered the old version. Buyers who want a more traditional SUV look can wait for Ford’s upcoming small off-roader, which will share basic underpinnings with the Escape. The same basic platform is also used by the latest Ford Focus (which won’t make it to the United States) and the upcoming Lincoln Corsair.

The 2020 Ford Escape will be offered with four different powertrains. A 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard on S, SE, and SEL trim levels. It produces 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, but only on 93-octane fuel. The other gasoline powertrain option is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four. Available only on the Titanium trim level, this engine produces 250 hp and 275 lb-ft (again, only on 93-octane fuel) and can tow up to 3,500 pounds, when properly equipped.

The Escape also gets a hybrid powertrain option for the first time since 2012. Indicating great confidence in hybrids, Ford made it standard on the SE Sport and Titanium trim levels. The powertrain is based around a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, with a total system output of 198 hp. However, Ford did not list fuel-economy estimates. A plug-in hybrid powertrain — a first for the Escape — will also be offered on all trim levels except the S and SE Sport. Ford expects an electric-only range of at least 30 miles, with a top speed of 85 mph in electric mode.

The two EcoBoost powertrains and the hybrid get standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive, but the plug-in hybrid is front-wheel drive only. That powertrain’s larger battery pack left no room for a rear driveshaft, Patterson said. Other automakers use rear-mounted electric motors to enable all-wheel drive, but that was deemed too costly, he said.

Ford did leave plenty of room for passengers and cargo, though. The automaker claims the hybrid and plug-in hybrid battery packs don’t impact interior space. The Escape also features a sliding second-row bench seat. Previously seen only on the Nissan Rogue in this segment, it lets owners make room more for passengers or cargo, depending on what’s needed. Up front, the Escape can be equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, as well as a head-up display. The Sync 3 infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Escape features a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to 10 devices.

Like most recent Ford models, the 2020 Escape gets a suite of standard driver aids under the Co-Pilot360 banner. The standard features include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rearview camera, and automatic high beams. Optional extras include adaptive cruise control with lane centering, a park-assist system that steers the car into spaces, and evasive steering assist, which boosts the steering to help the driver execute emergency maneuvers.

Gasoline and hybrid versions of the 2020 Ford Escape hit showrooms this fall, while the plug-in hybrid model will follow in Spring 2020. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. All 2020 Escape variants will be built at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. It’s a big year for Ford, with the 2020 Explorer also scheduled to go on sale in the coming months.

Updated on April 17, 2019: Added live photos.

Cars

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

Ford Mustang EcoBoost upgrade pulls serious performance from just four cylinders

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost gets a new "High Performance Package" that boosts output from the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to 330 horsepower, and adds suspension and brake upgrades.
Cars

2020 Lincoln Corsair crossover is small in size, but big on luxury

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair made its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. It replaces the MKC as the smallest crossover in Lincoln's lineup and shares underpinnings with the 2020 Ford Escape.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.
Cars

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.
Cars

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Cars

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.
Cars

Carbuying can be tiring: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Cars

Apple’s interest in self-driving cars reported to be revving up

A new report suggests that Apple is in talks with a number of suppliers to purchase lidar sensors, an essential tool for self-driving cars. The news is once again spiking rumors that Apple might be building vehicles.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Café racer-inspired ebike hits 28 mph quickly and quietly with carbon belt drive

Ebike manufacturer Electra launched the Café Moto Go, an advanced ebike. The Café Moto Go's step-over frame was inspired by café racers. The Café Moto Go is a premium performance ebike built to run smoothly and extra quietly.