2020 Ford Escape An Early Look; First Hand Impressions +VIDEO From Larry Nutson
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2020 Ford Escape
An early look
By Larry Nutson
Executive Producer and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Very much similar to what happened to personal transportation over 100 years ago when we transitioned from the horse and wagon to the motor car…the automobile that is, we are again transitioning.
The first “cars” were tall and a bit ungainly. Over the decades cars became longer, lower and wider. Then in the later part of the twentieth century compacts became the trend with concerns over both gasoline prices and gasoline availability.
Now today, in a time when SUVs and crossovers are very popular (for their practicality) and replacing many cars, we are again seeing a change. The change for the next decade is for crossovers to become even more refined and comfortable, and more car-like with good performance and fun-to-drive characteristics.
The entirely new Ford Escape is making this change with this 2020 model. On the invite of Ford we got an advance look at the all-new Escape, outdoors, under a clear sky at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.
Compared to the current Escape it’s longer, lower and wider. The rear roof line is sloped and the belt line has been lowered. The front grille is Mustang-like, the front lower section borrows looks from the Ford GT. The new Escape has a less-utilitarian look and now a more refined, classy look.
Four engine choices, two of them hybrids; at least 400 miles and up to 550 miles of driving range; 200 lbs. lighter; front-wheel or all-wheel drive; more standard advanced driver assistance safety (ADAS) features; active park assist; a head-up display; voice and steering-wheel controlled touch screen; an embedded modem; sliding second row seat for more rear leg room; car-like power and performance, ride and handling and NVH…all found in the new 2020 Escape.
As we reurbanize, the Ford Escape for 2020 is clearly intended for the urban consumer…both the younger family just starting out and the empty-nester who has downsized but is still active and wants versatility in a vehicle.
The 2020 Escape will be in showrooms this fall. You can read more about the 2020 Ford Escape below.
This report comes from an invitation-only Ford launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Ford provided my transportation and meals.
© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
DEARBORN, Mich., April 2, 2019
– With today’s reveal of the stylish new Escape, featuring the small SUV’s best-ever performance, flexibility and smart new technology, Ford is reinventing the model that helped drive the popularity of the segment.
Escape, which debuted the world’s first hybrid SUV in 2005, brings back two hybrid choices for 2020, a standard hybrid and a plug-in variant, and introduces technologies ranging from drive modes and driver-assist features to electric vehicle ingenuity and on-board connectivity.
“This all-new Escape brings a sleeker, sportier design with the capability to take you on just about any of your life’s adventures,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president, North America. “With our class-leading hybrid powertrains, customers will spend less time at the gas station and more time on the road.”
To create a sportier look for the all-new Escape, designers turned to some of the most high-profile sports cars in the Ford showroom. The shield-shaped trapezoidal grille is inspired by the sixth-generation Mustang, while the lower front end borrows from Ford GT. Compared to the current model, the all-new Escape stands lower, wider and longer.
With a sloped roofline, optimized liftgate spoiler and strake, and efficient underbody, the all-new Escape is the most aerodynamic to date. Meanwhile, it sheds more than 200 pounds from the current model, due in part to the extensive use of high-strength, lightweight steel.
Every model in the lineup, whether powered by one of two EcoBoost® engines or the all-new hybrid powertrains, targets an EPA-estimated range of at least 400 miles per tank.* The standard hybrid with front-wheel drive targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles.*
Best-performing Escape ever
New powertrains and transmission systems, a reduction in weight, improved aerodynamics and updated suspension system all contribute to one undeniable fact: this is the best-performing, most fun-to-drive Escape ever.
Gas engine-powered models as well as the standard hybrid are available with all-wheel drive. EcoBoost-equipped models get a new quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission for smooth, responsive shifting, while every Escape receives an all-new suspension and improved isolation with a new isolated rear subframe.
“This new vehicle performs like no other Escape before,” said Jim Hughes, Escape chief program engineer. “It’s quick, it’s responsive and, in staying true to the standard set by three generations of Escapes before it, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to drive.”
The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, available on Titanium, is projected to produce 250 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel, while turning in a 0-60 mph time up to 10 percent faster than the outgoing Escape 2.0-liter. When properly configured, it is rated to tow 3,500 pounds.**
The all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost, standard on S, SE and SEL, is projected to produce 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque using 93 octane fuel. When properly configured, it is rated to tow 2,000 pounds.** To help conserve fuel, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost debuts cylinder deactivation, a Ford first for North America, which senses when one cylinder isn’t needed and shuts it down automatically. The system can activate or deactivate a cylinder in 14 milliseconds to maintain a smooth ride.
SE Sport and Titanium models come standard with Ford’s innovative fourth-generation hybrid propulsion system, which includes an all-new 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The front-wheel-drive hybrid model is projected to produce a combined system horsepower of 198, and a top speed of 85 mph in electric-only mode.
The plug-in hybrid variant, available on every trim level except S and SE Sport, projects a best-in-class EPA-estimated range of at least 30 miles in electric-only mode. Escape Plug-In Hybrid has a Level 1 / Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charge, charge time drops to roughly 3.5 hours.
Hybrid models feature four EV modes that allow customers to select the settings most suitable for their individual needs. This means:
- In Auto EV mode, the vehicle decides whether to run on gas or electric power
- In EV Now mode, drivers can operate on all-electric driving
- In EV Later mode, drivers can switch to full gas-powered driving to conserve electric miles for later
- In all-new EV Charge mode, drivers can continue to charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles to use later
Sliding second-row seats in gas engine-powered models allow rear-seat passengers to enjoy best-in-class maximum second-row legroom with the seats in the full rearward position, plus increased knee clearance and footwell length for a more comfortable ride.
With the second-row seats in the full forward position, the rear cargo area extends roughly six inches to offer 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space in gas engine-powered models (cargo and load capacity limited by weight and weight distribution). The cargo area was designed to accommodate four sets of golf clubs or a full-size dog crate.
The all-new Escape Hybrid packages its liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery smartly below the second-row seats rather than occupying a significant portion of the cargo area. The briefcase-shaped battery in the standard hybrid measures approximately one-third the size of the old Escape Hybrid battery.
Despite a slight drop in vehicle height and with the hybrid battery packaged below, the engineering team was able to increase headroom throughout. First- and second-row headroom, shoulder room and hip room all improve versus the current Escape.
Smartest Escape Ever
With a selectable drive mode system standard across the lineup, Escape makes it easy for Escape owners to create the ride experience they desire – or the one that conditions demand. Modes are tailored for normal, eco, sport and slippery, plus snow and sand conditions.
Titanium models are available with an all-new heads-up display, a first-for-Ford in North America. The feature that projects information onto a 6-inch screen, giving drivers easy access to important information such as vehicle speed without taking their eyes off the road.
Class-exclusive driver-assist technologies include available Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist. Active Park Assist 2.0 allows the driver to park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with the touch of a button, without having to work the steering wheel, gear shifter, gas or brake pedal. Evasive Steering Assist detects a slower-moving or stationary vehicle ahead and provides steering support that can assist the driver to avoid an imminent collision.***
Escape comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360™, and makes available other driver-assist features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering.
FordPass Connect™ is a standard feature that provides 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices with compatible wireless subscription service. FordPass Connect also gives drivers remote access to their Escape, allowing them to use their smartphone to lock, unlock, locate and start the vehicle, as well as monitor key vehicle diagnostics.
Drivers and passengers can keep compatible mobile devices charged with an available wireless charging pad in the front center console. Also available are type A and type C USB charging ports as well as three 12-volt charging sockets.
An 8-inch touch screen – standard on SE models and above – shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, which displays important vehicle information such as speedometer and fuel level. It uses 3D animated graphics to indicate the drive mode.
Available SYNC® 3 is compatible with available features such as Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, Ford+Alexa and Waze navigation. For music lovers, Escape offers an available 575-watt 10-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen.
The all-new Escape, available in S, SE, SE Sport, SEL and Titanium series trim levels, is built at Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Vehicles are due to reach showrooms this fall. Plug-in hybrid units are due to arrive next spring.
History of Escape
Escape debuted on North American roads for the 2001 model year, introducing drivers to a unique blend of style, convenience, efficiency and capability. In its first full year on sale, Escape became America’s best-selling small SUV.
For the 2005 model year, Ford became the first U.S. manufacturer to offer a hybrid when it introduced the Escape Hybrid, the world’s first-ever hybrid SUV. Between 2004 and 2012, 114,000 Escape Hybrids were sold.
For the 2013 model year, Ford introduced a third-generation Escape, with European styling shared with its global cousin, Kuga. The change proved popular, and Escape remained one of the top-selling vehicles in the Ford showroom – and in the fast-growing small SUV segment. To date, Ford has sold more than 4.5 million Escapes in North America; more than 98 percent of them are still on the road today.**** Escape is the company’s second best-selling vehicle in the United States, trailing only F-Series.
*Actual range will vary. Final EPA-estimated ratings available in the 2019 calendar year.
**Horsepower, torque, payload, towing and EPA Estimated Fuel Economy Ratings are independent attributes and may not be achieved simultaneously.
***Driver-assist features are supplemental and do not replace the driver’s attention, judgment and need to control the vehicle.
****Based on IHS Markit total Vehicles in Operation (VIO) as of October 2018 for Model Years 2008 - 2019 vs. total new registrations of those vehicles.
2020 Ford Escape Brings Style and Substance to Small SUVs with Class-Leading Hybrids, Flexibility and Exclusive Technology
- Completely redesigned new 2020 Escape best offers four new propulsion choices – including two all-new hybrids; standard hybrid targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles; plug-in hybrid targets a best-in-class EPA-estimated pure-electric range of 30+ miles
- With unrivaled flexibility, all-new Escape introduces new sliding second-row seats that enable best-in-class second-row legroom and as much as 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space
- Ford’s smartest-ever small SUV features new selectable drive modes and Ford Co-Pilot360™ driver-assist technology; available features include a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, a first-for-Ford in North America heads-up display and first-in-class driver-assist features Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist