Car Reviews

The all-new 2020 Ford Escape sees the return of the hybrid

Escape features better driving dynamics and more features.

The all-new 2020 Ford Escape. Ford

The all-new 2020 Ford Escape debuts with a multitude of choices including four engines and five trims. The Escape was the world’s first hybrid sport utility vehicle back in 2005 and now brings back improved hybrid engines for better fuel economy. It also has a fresh new design that makes this Escape look sportier and more aggressive than the outgoing model.

The big news is all those powertrains. There are two gas engines and two hybrid engines, so chances are good you’ll find an Escape that suits your needs. The base engine is a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost with 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque that is standard on the S, SE, and SEL.


The SEL is also available with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost with 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, which is standard on the Titanium. There’s a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive with the base engine, but if you move up to the more powerful 2.0-liter, it’s all-wheel drive only. Both come paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Of the two hybrid powertrains, only one is available at launch. If you’re looking for the plug-in hybrid, then you have to wait until next spring. The standard hybrid, which has a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder hybrid engine with 200 horsepower (combined gas and electric) is the only option at launch. It offers front-wheel or all-wheel drive, while the plug-in is front-wheel drive only, which isn’t ideal for Boston winters.

A series of drive modes let you tailor the experience to suit road conditions and your personal driving style. Choose from Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, or Snow/Sand in models with a gas powertrain. Those modes change for hybrids to include Auto EV to let the system choose whether to run on gas or electric, EV Now for all-electric power, or EV Later to conserve the battery. There’s also a new EV Charge for the plug-in hybrid that lets you charge the battery while driving.


This roomy SUV has seating for five passengers. New this year are sliding second-row seats that offer more flexibility for cargo in back. They also give the Escape best-in-class second-row legroom so taller passengers won’t feel cramped, even on longer drives.

Everyone stays connected with standard FordPass Connect with available 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices, available wireless charging in the center console, and up to four USB ports. FordPass Connect also provides remote access to lock, unlock, start, and locate the vehicle. An eight-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on SE models and above with SYNC 3 featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Ford+Alexa.

There’s a wide range of standard and available advanced safety though Ford Co-Pilot360. Standard features include auto high beams, blind spot with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, lane keeping alert, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, and post-collision braking. There’s also available adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane-centering, evasive steering assist, and reverse and front parking aid.

There’s ample room for cargo, too. Take advantage of 37.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 65.4 cubic feet behind the first row. Hybrid models see those numbers drop to 34.4 cubic feet and 60.8 cubic feet, so there is a sacrifice in cargo room for that hybrid efficiency. Either way, it’s enough to handle luggage or larger loads when the rear seats are empty.


The Escape is not a full-size SUV, but it can still tow. This comes in handy when you have larger items that simply will not fit inside or when you have a full load of passengers and can’t take advantage of folding the rear seats. Properly equipped with the 2.0-liter engine, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds, or with the 1.5-liter engine up to 2,000 pounds.

The 2020 Ford Escape shows off an update that gives it greater appeal. Two gas engines and two hybrids, advanced safety technologies, updated infotainment, and a wide range of trims are sure to attract plenty of new buyers. Look for the Ford Escape at your local dealership this fall priced from $24,885.


Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the towing capacity for this vehicle. regrets the error.