2020 Ford Escape revealed: Crossover SUV brings plug-in hybrid tech to mainstream

There’s nothing faux-rugged about the 2020 Ford Escape that was unveiled Tuesday ahead of the 2019 New York International Auto Show. 

Its soft lines channel Tesla—not the chunky Toyota RAV4 that outsold all other crossover SUVs in the U.S. last year. With a revived Bronco on the way to beef up the automaker’s SUV credentials, Ford gave its Escape crossover a slippery shape and a choice of four engines underhood, including two hybrid powertrains.

MORE: Read our 2020 Ford Escape preview

The 2020 Escape will go on sale this fall initially in S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium trim levels; the plug-in hybrid powertrain will arrive next spring. Base Escape S, SE, and SELs use a 1.5-liter turbo-3 rated at 180 horsepower to send power to the front or all four wheels. SE Sport and Titanium versions swap in a 2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid powertrain paired to an electric motor and a 1.1-kwh lithium-ion battery tucked below the rear seats. 

Those are the mainstream engine choices, but Ford has two options for drivers who want more power or lower fuel consumption.

The Escape will offer a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 250 hp on premium fuel paired exclusively to all-wheel drive on the Escape Titanium. The Escape Titanium’s optional turbo-4 has the same horsepower rating as the Mazda CX-5 turbo. 

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Ford Escape

Frugal-minded drivers can select an optional plug-in, 209-hp version of the hybrid powertrain on SE, SEL, and Titanium trims that uses a 14.4-kwh battery to provide up to 30 miles of electric-only range on a full charge. The plug-in Escape’s battery can be charged from empty in about 3.5 hours on a 240-volt Level 2 charger. 

The Escape’s turbo-4 engines use an 8-speed automatic transmission to send power to the wheels, while hybrids use a continuously variable automatic transmission.

The new Escape’s exterior may not say much, but its clean interior stands in contrast to the outgoing model’s busy dashboard. Escape SE and higher include an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment that floats above the center console instead of a 4.0-inch radio display standard on the base model. With the 8.0-inch screen, the Escape comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and it can be ordered with a 575-watt B&O audio system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. 

All Escapes come with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control. Adaptive cruise control is optional. 

Rear-seat room grows by about two inches and the bench can now be scooted forward or backward to open up more leg or more cargo room. The Escape’s 65 cubic-foot maximum cargo rating is about 10 cubes less than key rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, however. The sloping roofline that gives it its Tesla-like shape digs into cargo space. That’s one price to pay for style, but we don’t know yet how much the 2020 Escape will cost. Ford will announce the price of the 2020 Escape later this year. 

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