The Future of Ford: The 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD
The 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD.
It's been a while, but you may have missed the news.  Ford is getting out of the passenger car business.  The only exception is Mustang, which is on its way to becoming a sub-brand with Mustang, Mustang GT, Shelby and the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. 

Beyond that, it's the F-150 pickup and its derivatives, the big Expedition SUV, the Transit and Transit Connect vans, the upcoming Bronco and rumored Bronco Sport and a very full line of crossovers.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

That would include the all-new for 2020 Explorer, but the heart of the lineup is expected to be the also all-new 2020 Ford Escape.  Compact crossovers are the hottest segment in the market right now---what midsize family sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry were in the 1990s and 2000s, and Ford is betting that the Escape will be where people who once would have chosen a Ford Fusion sedan will go.

At first glance, the Escape seems too small to fill that gap.  But appearances are deceiving.  Let's get a bit of perspective:

2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD with three Ford Fiesta STs

Arriving at Cars & Coffee at the Folsom Palladio last month, I found three Fiesta STs side-by-side with an empty space adjacent, just begging for a photo.

Part of what makes the Escape seem small is the styling---the family resemblance to Ford's subcompact.  But it's a much larger vehicle.

2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD and three Fiesta STs

Rear hatch open on 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Interior view of 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Rear seat in 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Front seats in 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Once inside, the Escape reveals its roominess for people and its capacity for cargo. 

Engine in 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Our tester was the top-of-the-line 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD.  That comes with the 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder, which makes an impressive 250 horsepower.  Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the EPA fuel economy estimate is 23 city/31 highway.

Base price is $36,435, which brings a full list of standard equipment:

  • Active grille shutters.
  • Easy Fuel capless filler.
  • LED fog lamps.
  • Automatic LED headlamps.
  • LED signature lighting.
  • Hands-free liftgate.
  • Heated power exterior mirrors, manually folding with embedded turn signals.
  • Rear door privacy glass.
  • Rear intermittent wiper/washer/defroster.
  • Rear spoiler.
  • Roof rack side rails.
  • LED taillamps.
  • Rain-sensing wipers.
  • AC power outlet.
  • One-touch up/down windows.
  • Adaptive cruise control with lane centering.
  • Ambient lighting.
  • Illuminated entry.
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror.
  • Carpeted floor mats.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Heated, leather-trimmed seats (ten-way adjustable power for driver, six-way adjustable power for front passenger).
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel.
  • Two smart-charging USB ports.
  • Split/fold/slide rear seat.
  • Heated steering wheel with cruise and audio controls.
  • Tilt/telescoping steering column.
  • Active Park Assist 2.0.
  • Auto stop/start tech.
  • Bang & Olufsen ten-speaker audio system.
  • Evasive steering assist.
  • Ford Co-Pilot 360.
  • FordPass Connect 4G Wi-Fi hotspot telematics modem.
  • Intelligent access with pushbutton start.
  • Rearview camera.
  • Remote start system.
  • Reverse sensing system.
  • Sync3 eight-inch screen with AppLink.
  • Universal garage door opener.
  • Voice-activated navigation.
  • AdvanceTrac with RSC.
  • Perimiter alarm.
  • SOS post-crash alert system.
  • Tire pressure monitoring.
Instrument panel of 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD
Gauge cluster in 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Infotainment and HVAC in 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Our tester also had one extra-cost option, a panoramic vista roof for $1,495.  But $400 of that was offset by the "2.0L EcoBoost Discount Package", so we're at $1,000 in non-standard equipment.

Front view of 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

Rear view of 2020 Ford Escape Titanium AWD

So with a destination charge of $1,195, the bottom line ends up at $38,630.

If you're shocked that a compact crossover can get that close to $40,000, I'll just remind you that the Toyota RAV4 we reviewed back in July actually crossed that line, ringing in at $40,263.  And both it and the Escape can be spec'd in ways that get the final price comfortably into the low 30s.

My take?  Dumping passenger cars like the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion (which was probably the best family sedan in Ford's history) may seem like a gutsy (some would say crazy) move,  but that market is shrinking.  If the rest of the new vehicles coming from Ford are as well done as the Escape, they'll be fine.