The Escape’s overall shape has lost some of its edge. It is now more rounded and car-like born out by the fact that it is longer, lower, and wider than the current model. From certain angles in the front, it almost looks to be a Tesla, an association I’m sure Ford won’t mind me making. In back, it has lost almost all of its character. Scrape the badges off and I couldn't tell you what manufacturer this car came from.
Inside is a mixed bag. The dash is laid out in a simple organized fashion and I like how it no longer juts out at you as the outgoing model does. The screen is well placed and easy to reach. My experiences with Sync3 in the past have been good, so I expect that will carry over into this Escape. The rear seat room is good for the class, though the rear seats do sit lower than I would like.
Where I’m let down is in the quality of materials. Everything seems to be made of hard plastic. The door panels in the rear were especially tupperware feeling. One strange item is the unusual placement of the engine start/stop button, down and behind the steering wheel almost as if they were intentionally making it hard to reach. I did back to back comparisons with Ford’s competition at the show and I would put the new Escape near the bottom of the list on interior quality. It is even a step backward from the current Escape.
The Escape will have four powertrain choices, a 1.5-liter turbo, a 2-liter turbo carried over from the previous generation, and making a return is the hybrid version, powered by a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder. A plug-in hybrid will also be available, but only in front-wheel drive form. The most interesting of these engines is the 1.5 liter. It is a 3 cylinder EcoBoost producing 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. It is capable of running on just 2 cylinders during times of light load. I liked the 1-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost in the Ford Fiesta, and if this new 1.5 liter runs the same, that would be a good thing. Driving impressions will have to wait till later this year when the Escape goes into production.
Overall I think this Ford could and should do better on the interior quality. A 3-cylinder turbo may be a hard sell no matter how good the mileage is and Ford will have an interesting time convincing customers of that.
You can read more about the 2020 Ford Escape from the release article below.