By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — As the blue cover was slowly pulled back, the new 2020 Ford Escape was revealed during Escapeville March 28 at Greenfield Village.
“By the end of next year 75 percent of our lineup will be refreshed or all new, and this 2020 Escape is a key part of that transformation,” Ford North America President Kumar Galhotra said. “SUVs in general are a key pillar of our winning portfolio strategy.”
The completely redesigned vehicle was revealed at the village because it is a place where invention and innovation are celebrated, according to Ford Motor Co.
“To us it’s extremely fitting that our friends at Ford Motor Co. chose to host this event here on these very streets where American innovation surrounds all of us,” The Henry Ford President and CEO Patricia Mooradian said.
Ford employees were stationed in historical buildings throughout the village providing presentations with information on the new Escape. It was described as lower, wider, 200 pounds lighter, and filled with new technology and safety features.
“With a sloped roofline, optimized liftgate spoiler and strake, and efficient underbody, the all-new Escape is the most aerodynamic to date,” according to a Ford press release. “Meanwhile, it sheds more than 200 pounds from the current model, due in part to the extensive use of high-strength, lightweight steel.”
Escape first made its debut in 2005 as the world’s first hybrid SUV, and Ford is bringing back two hybrid choices: standard and plug-in hybrid to round off four new propulsion choices. Between 2004 and 2012, 114,000 Escape Hybrids were sold.
“Standard hybrid targets best-in-class EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles,” the press release said. “Plug-in hybrid targets a best-in-class EPA-estimated pure-electric range of 30-plus miles in electric-only mode.”
According to Ford, hybrid models feature four EV modes that allow customers to select the settings most suitable for their individual needs. This means, in Auto EV mode, the vehicle decides whether to run on gas or electric power; in EV Now mode, drivers can operate on all-electric driving; in EV Later mode, drivers can switch to full gas-powered driving to conserve electric miles for later; in all-new EV Charge mode, drivers can continue to charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles to use later.
A new feature in the 2020 Escape will be sliding second-row seats allowing for more legroom and as much as 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space. With the second-row seats in the full forward position, the rear cargo area extends roughly six inches in gas engine-powered models.
“Despite a slight drop in vehicle height and with the hybrid battery packaged below, the engineering team was able to increase headroom throughout,” the press release read. “First- and second-row headroom, shoulder room and hip room all improve versus the current Escape.”
Ford Co-Pilot360, a driver assists technology; six drive modes including normal, eco, sport, slippery, snow and sand; SYNC 3; FordPass Connect, a standard feature to provide 4G LTE Wi-Fi; Active Part Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist are just some of the features included in the new Escape according to Ford.
“An 8-inch touch screen – standard on SE models and above – shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, which displays important vehicle information such as speedometer and fuel level,” the Ford press release said. “It uses 3D animated graphics to indicate the drive mode.
“Titanium models are available with an all-new heads-up display, a first-for-Ford in North America. The feature that projects information onto a 6-inch screen, giving drivers easy access to important information such as vehicle speed without taking their eyes off the road.”
The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine will be available in the Titanium model and a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine will be standard on S, SE and SEL. Models will be built at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. New Escape vehicles will be available in showrooms by the fall and plug-in hybrid models are due to arrive next spring.
According to Ford, the Escape is the company’s second best-selling vehicle in the United States, trailing only F-Series. To date, Ford has sold more than 4.5 million Escapes in North America with more than 98 percent of them are still on the road today.
“Escape debuted on North American roads for the 2001 model year, introducing drivers to a unique blend of style, convenience, efficiency and capability,” the press release read. “In its first full year on sale, Escape became America’s best-selling small SUV.”
“For the 2013 model year, Ford introduced a third-generation Escape, with European styling shared with its global cousin, Kuga,” the press release continued. “The change proved popular, and Escape remained one of the top-selling vehicles in the Ford showroom – and in the fast-growing small SUV segment.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)