The popular Ford Escape has been fully redesigned for the 2020 model year. It has been massaged and morphed into a curvier model that looks more like a raised hatchback and less than a utilitarian box, as SUVs become alternatives to traditional sedans. The Escape also got new powertrains, more elaborate interior technology and standard advanced safety features. We found the new Escape agile and solid feeling but it also suffers from a few flaws that should give buyers pause. We think the hybrid version is the most compelling.
The standard engine is a 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder that’s quick to deliver power when needed, whether in town or on a highway. However, it suffers from a pronounced vibration at low revs and during coasting. The hybrid version does away with that nuisance and gets an impressive 34 mpg overall. And the uplevel 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder does without the vibration as well.
The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly with the 1.5-liter engine, although some low-speed upshifts can be felt as a slight bump. On the flip side, fuel economy is good at 26 mpg overall.