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2020 Ford Escape delivers a quiet, fuel efficient ride

The 2020 Ford Escape is more than 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor due to the extensive use of high-strength steel, while adding many features such as sliding second-row seats that provide good space.
The 2020 Ford Escape is more than 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor due to the extensive use of high-strength steel, while adding many features such as sliding second-row seats that provide good space. - Jim Kerr

First looks can be deceiving. When I saw the new 2020 Ford Escape, I thought it looked almost like the 2019 Escape, but park them side by side and it is quickly apparent that this is an all-new Escape. Wider, longer and with more interior room, the new Escape is attractive, fresh and efficient while retaining that familiar look to make it instantly recognizable. 

The Escape is offered in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. A 1.5-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is standard on the S, SE and SEL models. Featuring cylinder deactivation to maximize fuel economy, this small 1.5-litre turbocharged engine feels more powerful than its size would indicate. Torque is strong right from an idle and an aggressive throttle may cause the tires to spin, tempered by the standard CoPilot360 driver-assist system that includes traction control. 

Most of my time was in the Escape Titanium model. A hybrid powertrain is standard equipment in the Titanium, while a 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine is optional. No longer is a hybrid a special model — it is simply one of the powertrain choices, just like we may have chosen between four-cylinder and V6 engines in the past. In the Escape, the hybrid powertrain is a perfect choice. It is available in front wheel or all wheel drive and has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds so you can take that snowmobile or wave runner with you as well as the family. 

This fourth-generation Escape hybrid powertrain includes a new 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle normally aspirated four-cylinder engine combined with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. The only way I noticed it was a hybrid was the slight gear whine from the transmission when slowing to a stop, but this is only noticeable because the Escape is amazingly quiet inside at any speed. The hybrid powertrain puts out a combined system 198 horsepower and can operate in electric-only mode up to 137 kilometres per hour. Driving the Escape it is almost impossible to detect when it is switching from gasoline engine operation to electric operation. The best indicator was the display in the driver’s information centre that shows total mileage and electric mileage. 

The 2020 Ford Escape is offered in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. - Jim Kerr
The 2020 Ford Escape is offered in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. - Jim Kerr

In a combination of city and country driving, I experienced over half of my total mileage in electric mode and the fuel economy readout indicated 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres! Excellent for an SUV and I wasn’t driving for economy. I also needed to test acceleration and handling too.

Part of the ride and handling can be attributed to the new bushing-mounted rear subframe, which isolates road noise and shock from the interior. Also, the lithium-ion hybrid battery is much smaller and liquid cooled, so it is placed beneath the floor pan of the vehicle to maximize interior space. The hybrid has the same 37.5 cubic feet cargo volume as other Escape models. The 2020 Escape is also more than 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor due to the extensive use of high-strength steel, while adding many features to the vehicle such as sliding second-row seats that provide good space for those with long legs. 

If you desire more power, a 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine with 250 horsepower is optional on SEL and Titanium models. This accelerates the Escape noticeably faster and the eight-speed automatic transmission is so smooth you will have difficulty telling when it shifts. It comes standard with all wheel drive. Towing capacity with the 2.0-litre engine is 3,500 pounds, which may be one reason to choose this option, but the hybrid has more than enough power for most drivers. 

The 2020 Ford Escape is loaded with standard features from the base model on up. - Jim Kerr
The 2020 Ford Escape is loaded with standard features from the base model on up. - Jim Kerr

The Titanium model comes equipped with many features, but even the S model has selectable drive modes with Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand/Snow modes. CoPilot360 is standard on all models with Auto high-beam headlamps, rear-view camera, blind-spot information system with cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist and alert, and pre-collision Assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and dynamic brake assist. The Titanium model comes loaded with many other features including a power front passenger seat, which I wish was optional on other models. 

Smooth, quiet, roomy, comfortable, and fuel efficient, the new Escape offers a lot. No wonder it is Ford’s second best selling vehicle, bested only by the F-series trucks. 

The specs

Model: 2020 Ford Escape

Configuration: five-passenger all-wheel drive SUV

Engines: 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, EcoBoost; 2.0-litre four cylinder EcoBoost; 2.5-litre four cylinder hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic or hybrid electric CVT

Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS

Special features/options: Blind-spot information system, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go feature, heated leather seats, navigation system, remote start, power liftgate, automatic high/low beam headlamps lane keeping assist

Price range: $28,549 to $40,049, not including $1,850 destination and delivery charges

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