Driven

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

It’s hard to believe that it has been a full four years since we tested an Escape. A lot has changed since then, and an all-new and comprehensively changed 2020 Ford Escape is here.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid 4

Up front, the Escape has a new bolder grille. Our team was split whether or not the bemused grille was of questionable design. Otherwise, the exterior is inoffensive if not somewhat forgettable, especially in this Desert Gold Metallic paint. The LED headlights, fog lights and taillights all add up to a nice exterior lighting design. The headlights on the Escape are excellent for nighttime driving.

Inside the Escape has a new digital gauge cluster which, is very clear and provides a wealth of information. Our test car was equipped with the Titanium Premium Package, which adds a head-up display that projects on a panel that rises out of the dashboard rather than projects on the windshield. It shows your speed, navigation directions, and adaptive cruise control information. The SYNC system in the center of the dash works well, and is quite intuitive. It may not be the best on the market, but you get used to it fairly quickly with its small learning curve. Tons of safety technology is on hand, and we found it very unobtrusive. Our biggest gripe with the interior was the fact that it felt made of really budget materials in comparison to the competition from Kia, Hyundai and others. Large amounts of hard plastics and fairly questionable panel gaps were found throughout. We must note that this was a pre-production model, so the panel gaps could definitely be better in a full production model.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid 1

Our tester was the hybrid model, with a 2.5L four cylinder that is mated to a CVT transmission and an electric motor, which adds up to 200 horsepower. This is not exactly a quick car, but it does allow for some immediate torque when pulling away from a light. We found the engine turning on wasn’t very seamless and was sometimes fairly abrupt. That being said, you can keep in electric mode for a long while and help your fuel economy. Our week, consisting of mixed driving, allowed for over 41 mpg over 370 miles. That fuel economy is surely impressive, and definitely worth taking one of these for a drive if you’re in the market.

As our readers know, we do enjoy the the sportier cars, but this Escape was pretty fun. Driving a hybrid allows for a different style that is rewarding in different ways. The regenerative braking is feels normal and the pedal is easy to modulate. The steering is numb, and the suspension is soft so it’s not exactly a back road carver but it will be great for anyone traveling in any circumstance. And despite its diminutive appearance, it will easily fit four adults in comfort.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid 6

After a week with the Escape Hybrid Titanium it was obvious that they will sell a lot of these. Perhaps more so now that you can’t buy a Focus. The fuel economy and excellent tech are big draws, but the interior quality and lackluster styling let it down for us. Perhaps Lincoln will be able to take this platform to the level it is capable of.

-Scott Villeneuve

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Titanium AWD
$35,050
Panoramic Vista Roof $1,495
Destination Charges $1,245
As Tested MSRP $37,790

Related: Synced: 2016 Ford Escape

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