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Small crossover-SUVs have grown to be the automotive business’s most essential phase. And whereas the Ford Escape was one of many authentic entries into this phase, the present, third-generation mannequin has grown a bit stale.

Fortunately, aid is on the way in which 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 know-how, environment friendly drivetrains and an improved chassis. The small phase could also be extra crowded than ever today — can this 2020 Escape climb its approach again to the highest of the category?

Sleeker and extra practical

Probably the most noticeable change to the 2020 Escape is the brand new design: This SUV is decrease, wider and longer than its predecessor. It’s miles from a groundbreaking look, nevertheless it’s clear and inoffensive with a contact of character. Up entrance, Ford says the grille borrows inspiration from the Mustang, which I am not likely certain I see, whereas the tapering roofline provides it a sleeker and extra aerodynamic stance than earlier than.

Talking of aero, the brand new Escape is the slipperiest one so far due to quite a lot of gadgets that enhance airflow across the SUV. Along with the modern roof, the Escape will get lively grille shutters, underbody shielding and aero-optimized wheels. Even the taillights are particularly formed to higher lower by way of the air.

Inside, the Escape is spacious. Entrance seat room is beneficiant, and the again seats can slide fore and aft, higher accommodating taller passengers. The cabin’s structure is intuitive, with massive, clearly marked local weather controls. Every little thing is constructed from good supplies — the Escape’s cabin feels nearly as good as some other compact crossover. In my Titanium take a look at automotive, construct high quality is phenomenal, with nary a creek or rattle heard all through a day of testing close to Louisville, Kentucky.

It is a practical setting, too, with sizable door panel pockets, heart console cubbies and a big glovebox offering ample house to stash all method of issues. When you might want to haul cargo, there’s 33.5 to 37.5 cubic toes of actual property at your disposal, relying on the place of the rear seats. That is respectable room, however falls behind the CR-V’s 39.2 cubic toes and is extremely near the RAV4’s 37.6 cubic toes. Folding the second row down unlocks a serviceable 65.four cubic toes within the Escape, however once more, it trails the competitors from Honda (75.Eight cubic toes) and Toyota (69.Eight cubic toes).

Extra tech than ever

The Escape’s tech story is substantial. In all however the base S mannequin, you will discover Ford’s tried-and-true Sync three infotainment system with an Eight-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, an excellent sounding 10-speaker B&O audio setup is in command of tunes. And it additionally will get a elaborate 12.Eight-inch digital instrument cluster, providing completely different design themes for every drive mode. The default Regular 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. Within 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. Of us in rear have a single, three-prong plug at their disposal that is nice for larger gadgets like laptops, however having an extra USB or two on the again of the middle console could 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 supplied as choices.

Each Escape besides the bottom S will get this Eight-inch Sync three infotainment system.

Nate Reed/Roadshow

Efficiency strides

Escape clients have 4 powertrain choices to select from, together with two hybrid choices which you can examine later this week. For now, I will inform you 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 gasoline effectivity, returning an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 33 mpg on the freeway — with front-wheel drive, anyway. Rankings drop barely with all-wheel drive, to 26 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway.

I solely had a short, 15-minute stint across the metropolis in a 1.5-liter-equipped automotive, however my early impressions are that midrange pull is ample, although that follows noticeable lag at throttle tip in. Extra time might be wanted in a while earlier than passing closing judgment on what is anticipated to be the Escape’s quantity powerplant.

Nearly all of my drive was spent with the two.Zero-liter, turbocharged I4, which is obtainable on SEL and Titanium trims. It will get 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet to the bottom by way of a normal 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 onerous all through the rev vary and allows the Escape to tow as much as three,500 kilos. As for gasoline financial system, this extra highly effective engine comes at a slight drawback to its 1.5T counterpart, with EPA-estimated rankings of 23 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway.

Each fuel engines work with a brand new eight-speed computerized transmission that rips off principally clean, however not the quickest shifts. I say principally clean 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 heart 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. With out query, the Escape is a fascinating crossover to drive, however I want steering was extra responsive off heart. Total, whereas Ford has made nice strides within the Escape’s on-road vibe, it will possibly’t fairly match the strong dynamics of the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5.

Probably the most spectacular a part of the brand new Escape is its commuting efficiency. Leaving the automotive in Regular mode lightens the steering, and the forgiving suspension does a incredible job smoothing out the bumps I encounter on the nation roads outdoors Louisville. Mix the snug trip high quality with the extremely quiet cabin, and the Escape is the form of small SUV you may simply drive on a regular basis.

An incredible Escape

The 2020 Ford Escape begins at $24,885, not together with $1,195 for vacation spot, for a base front-wheel drive S mannequin. Including all-wheel drive to the 1.5-liter turbo I3 tacks on an extra $1,500 to the underside line. Those that wish to spoil themselves with the full-zoot Titanium should pony up $33,400 to start out.

When it rolls into Ford sellers this month, the brand new Escape will compete with a gaggle of strong 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 is some critically stiff competitors, however with its well-built cabin, robust tech sport and wonderful trip consolation, the Escape makes a powerful argument for being a prime contender on this class.

The brand-new Escape is one strong SUV.

Nate Reed/Roadshow

Editors’ notice: The horsepower and torque figures introduced within the accompanying video are inaccurate. Ford’s preliminary information was incorrect on the time of filming. The numbers listed within the article textual content are right.

Journey prices associated to this characteristic had been lined by the producer. That is frequent within the auto business, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists. Whereas Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from producers with the intention to present scored editorial opinions, all scored automobile opinions are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial crew are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material. 

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