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$24,885 - 36,685 MSRP

2020 Ford Escape Review

The redesigned 2020 Ford Escape finishes in the middle of our compact SUV rankings. It has a spacious interior and engaging performance, but its middling interior quality keeps it from challenging for a top spot in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Optional infotainment system is user-friendly
  • Lots of standard driver assistance features
  • Two rows of adult-friendly seats
  • Adept handling and comfortable ride
  • Unimpressive interior materials
  • Eight-speed transmission sometimes hunts for the correct gear

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Ford Escape's #7 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Ford Escape has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.3
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.5
Safety: 9.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Ford Escape a Good SUV?

Yes, the Ford Escape is a good SUV. Its powertrains provide enough juice to move the vehicle well. This Ford handles better than most rivals', and it rides smoothly.

Inside, the Escape is spacious, its seats are roomy, and several driver assistance features come standard. There are a few drawbacks, such as the mixed quality of the cabin materials, but the Escape gets most of the big stuff right.

We review the Escape Hybrid separately.

Should I Buy the Ford Escape?

You should consider buying the Ford Escape if you're looking for a fun-to-drive compact SUV with a lot of other impressive qualities. Its price is a bit above the class average, though you can certainly argue that its well-rounded appeal justifies a higher price.

Still, that price point opens the door to argue that some competitors provide more bang for your buck, so shoppers may want to check out the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 before heading to the nearest Ford dealership.

Compare the Escape, CR-V, and RAV4 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Ford Escape?

Ford fully redesigned the Escape for 2020, so finding a used model from the same generation is unlikely. For many shoppers, the new Ford Escape has enough updates to make it worth buying instead of a used model from the previous generation. A host of driver assistance features are now standard for 2020, including blind spot monitoring, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The 2020 Escape has a new powertrain lineup as well. For 2020, the Escape comes standard with a 180-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine, replacing the 2019's 168-horsepower naturally aspirated four-cylinder. The 2019 Escape offered 179- and 245-horsepower turbo-fours, but the 2020 model replaces those with an available 250-horsepower turbo-four.

The redesigned Escape is also available as a hybrid, which we review separately.

You can likely save money by shopping for a used Escape, but you'll miss out on the many updates that are part of the 2020 redesign. If you are interested in a used model, check out our reviews of the 2018 and 2019 Ford Escape. And be sure to peruse our Used Car Deals page to learn about the savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Escape »

We Did the Research for You: 20 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Ford Escape Cost?

The base Escape S starts at $24,885, which is slightly above average for a compact SUV. The top-of-the-line Escape Titanium starts at $33,400. That's a typical starting price for a top trim in this class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

Ford Escape Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V is a little better than the Escape overall, but these are both fine choices. Compared to its Honda rival, the Ford has noticeably better agility and comes with more standard driver assistance features. That said, the CR-V is an annual contender for the top spot in our compact SUV rankings, and it's easy to see why. With a nearly 76-cubic-foot maximum capacity, it offers much more cargo space than almost every rival, including the Escape. The CR-V rides smoothly and has one of the most upscale interiors in the class with two rows of spacious seats and user-friendly technology. For most shoppers, it makes a better choice than the Escape.

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4?

Unless driving enjoyment is a top priority for you, the Toyota RAV4 is a better choice than the Escape. The RAV4 handles reasonably well, rides smoothly, and gets good gas mileage. It's also available as the RAV4 Hybrid, which serves as Toyota's answer to the Escape Hybrid (the RAV4 will gain a plug-in hybrid powertrain for 2021). The RAV4 has a spacious interior, with plenty of passenger space in both rows and a bit more cargo room than the Escape offers. It also comes standard with plenty of active safety features and a touch-screen infotainment system, which is an option in the Ford.

Compare the Escape, CR-V, and RAV4 »

Escape Interior

How Many People Does the Escape Seat?

This Ford crossover seats five people. Drivers enjoy great visibility, and both rows of seats are comfortable and supportive. What really stands out, though, is the available space. Tall adults can ride comfortably in the back, even if another tall person is sitting up front.

Escape and Child Car Seats

The Escape has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors.

Escape Interior Quality

The Escape's cabin doesn't lack space, but it will leave some wanting more quality. At first glance, it seems like there are plenty of soft-touch materials. But even in the higher trims, there are lots of hard plastics as well, which is especially apparent from the rear seats. Overall, interior quality isn't notably poor for the class, but it's not impressive either.

Escape Cargo Space

The Escape gives you more cargo space than many of its classmates. It has 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 65.4 cubes with the rear seats folded down.

Escape Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2020 Escape comes standard with the SYNC system with a 4.2-inch display, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port. Available features include a moonroof and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

It's worth upgrading to at least the SE trim to get the SYNC 3 infotainment system. The interface is intuitive, and the touch screen responds quickly to inputs. There are physical controls for a number of functions as well, and everything is within easy reach of the driver.

Read more about interior »

Escape Performance

Escape Engine: Enjoy an EcoBoost

The Escape comes standard with a 180-horsepower three-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged engine. A 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder is available. Both engines provide plenty of power for day-to-day driving, and they help the Escape deliver quick acceleration. However, the turbo-four feels much more energetic than the base engine.

There are also two hybrid powertrains available. We review the Escape Hybrid separately.

Escape Gas Mileage: Great Ratings (with the Base Engine, at Least)

With its base engine, the Escape gets better gas mileage than most of its peers. It earns ratings of 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. For comparison, rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 get 26/32 mpg city/highway and 26/35 mpg city/highway, respectively.

As of this writing, the EPA has not released fuel economy estimates for models with the other engines.

Escape Ride and Handling: A Lot to Like

The Escape is one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in the compact SUV class. It won't dethrone the Mazda CX-5 in that regard, but the Escape feels planted around turns, boasts sharp steering, and doesn't have much body lean. It also rides comfortably and absorbs most road imperfections well.

Escape Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Escape Reliability

Is the Ford Escape Reliable?

The 2020 Ford Escape has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Ford Escape Warranty

Ford covers the Escape with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Escape Safety

Escape Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2020 Escape.

Escape Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, curve control, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Many of these features are part of Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of technology. The Escape also comes standard with MyKey, which lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for other drivers.

Available active safety features include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, evasive steering assist, lane centering assist, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Read more about safety »

Escape Dimensions and Weight

The Escape is 15.1 feet long, and its curb weight is between 3,298 and 3,884 pounds.

Where Is the Ford Escape Built?

Ford builds the 2020 Escape in Kentucky.

Which Ford Escape Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Escape comes in four trims: S, SE, SEL, and Titanium. Every Escape comes standard with plenty of driver assistance technology, but most buyers should start with at least the SE trim, which comes with more infotainment tech than the base trim.

Ford Escape S

The Escape S carries a base price of $24,885. It features a 180-horsepower three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include cloth upholstery, MyKey, and the SYNC infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display screen, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port.

Standard driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, curve control, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Many of these features are part of Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of technology.

You can add all-wheel drive to this trim for $1,500.

Ford Escape SE

The Escape SE starts at $27,095. In addition to the base trim's features, the SE comes with a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control, and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

You can add AWD for $1,500, a panoramic moonroof for $1,495, and Ford's Co-Pilot360 Assist for $695, which gets you adaptive cruise control and navigation.

Ford Escape SEL

The Escape SEL starts at $29,255. In addition to the lower trims' standard features, the SEL comes with a hands-free power liftgate, synthetic leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and rear parking sensors.

You can upgrade to a 250-horsepower four-cylinder EcoBoost engine for $2,285, and AWD is a $1,500 add-on. For $695, you can add Ford's Co-Pilot360 Assist, which includes adaptive cruise control and navigation. You can also add a panoramic moonroof for $1,495.

Ford Escape Titanium

The range-topping Escape Titanium starts at $33,400. This trim comes standard with a 198-horsepower hybrid powertrain and a CVT, a type of automatic transmission. We review the Escape Hybrid separately. For $2,285, you can upgrade to a 250-horsepower four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which comes with AWD.

Standard features in the Titanium include genuine leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, evasive steering assist, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

The Titanium Premium package ($1,995) adds a panoramic moonroof and a head-up display. You can also add the moonroof individually for $1,495.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

See 2020 Ford Escape specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Ford Escape sees plenty of changes as part of its redesign, and it offers much of what  SUV shoppers are looking for. It's roomy and comfortable, gets solid fuel economy ratings, and offers plenty of infotainment and active safety technology. Being one of the most fun-to-drive small crossovers only increases the Escape's appeal. This Ford earns a spot in the middle of our compact SUV rankings, and it's a solid choice for shoppers looking in this class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "With high stakes in dealer showrooms and an onslaught of fresh competition from Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen, among many others, Ford pulled out the stops to create a pleasantly rounded fourth-generation Escape that brings enough smart features and model configurations to satisfy a variety of buyers." -- Car and Driver
  • "When it rolls into Ford dealers this month, the new Escape will compete with a gaggle of solid competitors. On top 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 contend with. That's some seriously stiff competition, but with its well-built cabin, strong tech game and excellent ride comfort, the Escape makes a strong argument for being a top contender in this class." -- CNET
  • "Ford is rightly proud of the Escape and its effect on the Louisville economy. The popular and hot-selling SUV has been one of the company's best performers in the showroom. … The new SUV is efficient and reasonably fun to drive, and we have a lot of nice things to say about it." -- Truck Trend

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 17, 2020

Falling Sales: Sales of the redesigned Escape declined by 11.3 percent through the end of last year relative to 2018. The class sales-leading Toyota RAV4 outsold the Escape by 86 percent in 2019.

Research more buying advice »
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