By JIM MAHONEY
The 2020 Ford Escape, already a very popular compact SUV, has gotten a major facelift for 2020. And with so many excellent choices available in this class, staying relevant is a must.
It’s pretty amazing what a refresh can do for a car that was first produced in
2001. Much of the exterior of this SUV has been re-engineered, and all for the better.
A rakish roof and lowered waist line create a dynamic feeling that I think now distinguishes what used to be basically a scaled-down Explorer. This new Escape, with a wider, slightly longer wheelbase than previous versions, actually seems more compact.
But the driving experience most surprised me.
Compared to its earlier incarnations, the 2020 truck makes for a super fun, quick ride. I drive in mostly an urban setting where tight streets, small parking spaces, and crowded roads, even in the pandemic, are the norm.
Maneuvering the Escape through this environment, and then for a couple of runs on nearby highways, made a believer out of me.
Adding to the fun was its fuel-sipping 28 MPG average. This peppy and near sporty ride is easy on the wallet. The 250 HP, 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine spins an eight-speed transmission while selectable all-wheel drive combos handle most road conditions.
Inside, the upscale cabin of the top-of-the-line Titanium edition I test drove for a week proved to be easy on the eyes and ears. Ford has managed to reduce road noise and offer a sound system that’s now easier to use than ever. The Sync 3 infotainment center has evolved and is now considered one of the more desirable in the marketplace for user-friendliness and functionality.
Why do we buy SUVs? To get the weekend chores done. Even with its best suit on, the Escape Titanium still has the chops to get to the box store or supermarket and ultimately deliver the family to various destinations in comfort. An array of driver safety features includes rear cross alerts, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision alarms. The Escape is rated to tow 3,500 lbs.
With five trims available, two engine choices, two hybrid variations, and either front- or all-wheel drive, the MSRP of the 2020 Escape starts at about $25,000. A loaded Titanium will cost about $41,000.