2020 Ford Escape first drive: At the top of its game once again

    Small crossover-SUVs have grown to be the automotive business’s most necessary phase. And whereas the Ford Escape was one of many unique entries into this phase, the present, third-generation mannequin has grown a bit stale.Thankfully, reduction is on the best way within the type of the 2020 Ford Escape. Redone from the bottom up, the fourth-generation Escape sports activities a brand new look, the newest expertise, environment friendly drivetrains and an improved chassis. The small phase could also be extra crowded than ever lately — can this 2020 Escape climb its means again to the highest of the category?
    Sleeker and extra usefulThe most noticeable change to the 2020 Escape is the brand new design: This SUV is decrease, wider and longer than its predecessor. It’s removed from a groundbreaking look, but it surely’s clear and inoffensive with a contact of character. Up entrance, Ford says the grille borrows inspiration from the Mustang, which I’m probably not positive I see, whereas the tapering roofline provides it a sleeker and extra aerodynamic stance than earlier than.Speaking of aero, the brand new Escape is the slipperiest one up to now due to a lot of gadgets that enhance airflow across the SUV. In addition to the modern roof, the Escape will get lively grille shutters, underbody shielding and aero-optimized wheels. Even the taillights are particularly formed to raised lower by means of the air. Inside, the Escape is spacious. Front seat room is beneficiant, and the again seats can slide fore and aft, higher accommodating taller passengers. The cabin’s format is intuitive, with massive, clearly marked local weather controls. Everything is constructed from good supplies — the Escape’s cabin feels pretty much as good as another compact crossover. In my Titanium check automobile, construct high quality is outstanding, with nary a creek or rattle heard all through a day of testing close to Louisville, Kentucky.It’s a useful setting, too, with sizable door panel pockets, middle console cubbies and a big glovebox offering ample area to stash all method of issues. When you should haul cargo, there’s 33.5 to 37.5 cubic ft of actual property at your disposal, relying on the place of the rear seats. That’s respectable room, however falls behind the CR-V’s 39.2 cubic ft and is extremely near the RAV4’s 37.6 cubic ft. Folding the second row down unlocks a serviceable 65.4 cubic ft within the Escape, however once more, it trails the competitors from Honda (75.8 cubic ft) and Toyota (69.8 cubic ft).
    More tech than everThe Escape’s tech story is substantial. In all however the base S mannequin, you will discover Ford’s tried-and-true Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen. Sync affords navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot for as much as 10 units, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Waze integration. On the range-topping Titanium trim, a terrific sounding 10-speaker B&O audio setup is in command of tunes. And it additionally will get a flowery 12.8-inch digital instrument cluster, providing totally different design themes for every drive mode. The default Normal look has a mellow blue look, whereas Sport wears a extra aggressive black-and-red theme.Any handheld tech units introduced into the Escape should not go lifeless, both. In the Titanium, front-seat passengers have entry to USB-A and USB-C ports, a 12-volt outlet and an elective wi-fi cost pad. Folks in rear have a single, three-prong plug at their disposal that is nice for greater gadgets like laptops, however having an extra USB or two on the again of the middle console can be good. For security, ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning with lane-keep help, post-collision braking and auto excessive beams are customary on all Escapes. Adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance, lively parking help and a head-up show are provided as choices.Every Escape besides the bottom S will get this 8-inch Sync 3 infotainment system.
    Nate Reed/Roadshow
    Performance stridesEscape clients have 4 powertrain choices to select from, together with two hybrid choices which you could examine later this week. For now, I’ll let you know concerning the 2020 Escape’s gas-only lineup, which begins with a brand new, 1.5-liter, turbocharged I3 churning out 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. The engine options cylinder deactivation, permitting it to run on two cylinders to enhance gas effectivity, returning an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 33 mpg on the freeway — with front-wheel drive, anyway. Ratings drop barely with all-wheel drive, to 26 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway. I solely had a quick, 15-minute stint across the metropolis in a 1.5-liter-equipped automobile, however my early impressions are that midrange pull is satisfactory, although that follows noticeable lag at throttle tip in. More time will probably be wanted in a while earlier than passing last judgment on what is anticipated to be the Escape’s quantity powerplant. The majority of my drive was spent with the two.0-liter, turbocharged I4, which is offered on SEL and Titanium trims. It will get 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet to the bottom by means of a regular all-wheel drive system, and has ample energy for merging onto the freeway and passing slow-moving automobiles. There aren’t any turbo lag points, the two.0T pulls laborious all through the rev vary and permits the Escape to tow as much as 3,500 kilos. As for gas financial system, this extra highly effective engine comes at a slight drawback to its 1.5T counterpart, with EPA-estimated scores of 23 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway.Both gasoline engines work with a brand new eight-speed computerized transmission that rips off principally easy, however not the quickest shifts. I say principally easy as a result of the gearbox can often get caught up between shifts, often leading to tough conduct.Ford says the Escape’s face takes inspiration from the Mustang. I do not actually see it, however the styling is definitely sharp.
    Nate Reed/Roadshow
    Dynamically, the brand new Escape has a lighter and stiffer chassis, decrease middle of gravity and retuned suspension, all of which make it higher to drive than earlier than. Punching up Sport mode provides weight to the steering, for semi-brisk turn-in, managed physique roll and admirable grip in corners on the 225/55-series tires and 19-inch wheels. Without query, the Escape is an interesting crossover to drive, however I want steering was extra responsive off middle. Overall, whereas Ford has made nice strides within the Escape’s on-road vibe, it may well’t fairly match the stable dynamics of the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5.The most spectacular a part of the brand new Escape is its commuting efficiency. Leaving the automobile in Normal mode lightens the steering, and the forgiving suspension does a unbelievable job smoothing out the bumps I encounter on the nation roads outdoors Louisville. Combine the comfy experience high quality with the extremely quiet cabin, and the Escape is the form of small SUV you could possibly simply drive on a regular basis. An important EscapeThe 2020 Ford Escape begins at $24,885, not together with $1,195 for vacation spot, for a base front-wheel drive S mannequin. Adding all-wheel drive to the 1.5-liter turbo I3 tacks on an extra $1,500 to the underside line. Those who wish to spoil themselves with the full-zoot Titanium must pony up $33,400 to begin. When it rolls into Ford sellers this month, the brand new Escape will compete with a gaggle of stable opponents. On prime of the aforementioned CR-V, CX-5 and RAV4, there’s the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester and Volkswagen Tiguan to take care of. That’s some critically stiff competitors, however with its well-built cabin, sturdy tech recreation and glorious experience consolation, the Escape makes a robust argument for being a prime contender on this class.The brand-new Escape is one stable SUV.
    Nate Reed/Roadshow
    Editors’ be aware: The horsepower and torque figures offered within the accompanying video are inaccurate. Ford’s preliminary knowledge was incorrect on the time of filming. The numbers listed within the article textual content are right.Travel prices associated to this function have been coated by the producer. This is widespread within the auto business, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from producers with the intention to present scored editorial evaluations, all scored automobile evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial workforce are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material. 

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