It’s been nearly a year since Ford Motor Company gathered a group of journalists from around the world to pull a silk sheet off the all-new 2020 Ford Escape. It was an action packed day at the Henry Ford Musem/Greenfield Village, but I won’t bore you with those details, you can read all about the 2020 Ford Escape unvailing here. As the global automotive stage pushes toward reduction in emissions, increasing efficiency, and an overall consumer interest in being green, I really wanted my first drive experience with this all new Escape to be the hybrid.
Ask and you shall recieve! Ford Motor Company came through with a Hyrbid to shuffle me to the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, something that’s generally easier said than done in early Febuary. The 2020 Escape Hybrid begins two rungs up the ladder with “SE Sport” trim and then only jumps again to “Titanium”. The Escape SE Sport Hybrid I was sent included the $1,500 optional all wheel drive system.
This next-gen hybrid system returns a staggering EPA Fuel Economy of 43 miles per gallon city, 37 highway and 40 combined. These figures are remarkably close to those of it’s best competitor in this segment, Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid. Based on our week long evaluation these numbers seem quite realistic for potential consumers, and the all-wheel drive variant should certainly be able to return 500 miles on a single tank.
Although the SE Sport’s optional Premium package carries a hefty $3,395 price tag, it includes numerous must-haves. Machine-faced 19″ wheels accent the exterior styling, leather alternative ActiveX seating materials provide a comfortable and durable cabin, built-in navigation, full speed range adaptive cruise control with stop and go abilities, a large panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, and remote start system round out the list.
Ford’s ActiveX seating materials are a very convincing, many miles ahead of FoMoCo’s attempts at synthetic surfaces from even just a few years ago. The cabin is very well laid out, with easy to reach controls and great sight lines. What I had a hard time understanding is why Ford Motor Company took the route of a beige headliner with the entire balance of the interior finished in ebony. Despite driving a pre-production variant of the Escape, the interior fitment seemed quite well put together, but the touchpoints that may be less frequently encountered seemed a bit on the rigid side.
The drivetrain felt cohesive, with very smooth transistions to and from electric and hybrid modes. Escape Hybrid’s are powered by an Atkinson Cycle 2.5L 4 Cylinder paired with an electric motor and briefcase sized battery pack mounted beneath the rear seats. This minimally plays a roll in reduced cargo capacity, approximately 3 cubic feet total. Even with the batteries mounted beneath the rear seats accomodations are absolutely superb, 60/40 rear seats both recline and slide allowing for a series of configurations. A majority of our week of testing included snow and significant rain allowed the mechanical all wheel drive system to shine. Absolutely seamless transitions between front and all wheel drive modes, regardless of method of propulsion at that point in time, a very pleasant surprise.
The automotive market has evolved greatly since the very beginning, and maybe even more so over the last few decades. An as-tested MSRP of $34,490 gets you into a dynamic crossover stuffed full of content, providing a great value proposition in a segment that is expected to expand in the coming years. I suspect Ford will sell just as many of these as they’d like, especially when the Plug-In Hybrid becomes available later this year.