2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review: The Safe Option

by Belinda Anderson

With 2019 recording almost a quarter of a million units sold, Ford's Escape compact SUV has been one of the best-selling cars in the US for some time. Still, 2019 sales dipped somewhat, and the Blue Oval made a concerted effort with a new Escape range, including fresh hybrid variants for the 2020 model year. A low entry price, brilliant gas mileage, and top-notch safety ratings are what makes the Ford Escape Hybrid so desirable, however, with a dull driving experience and a wishy-washy interior design, it doesn't quite dominate the segment. The Escape Hybrid also goes up against equally popular rivals like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and the electrified version of Honda's CR-V, with the former offering additional off-road prowess, and the latter providing a more refined cabin. With standard hybrid and plug-in powertrains developing around 200 horsepower, can the Escape Hybrid range stand up to the stiff competition?

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Escape Hybrid?

The Blue Oval markets the broader Ford Escape range as all-new for the model year, although gas-only models get additional driver-assist technology and increased space, the big news is the inclusion of hybrid variants for 2020. With standard hybrid models and plug-in derivatives on offer for the first time, the electrified Escape lineup is truly brand new, offering improved EPA-estimated fuel efficiency at an affordable price. The hybrid and plug-in cars also benefit from updated driver assists, standard automatic climate control, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system fitted to the Titanium trims.

Pros and Cons

  • Base model MSRP below $30,000
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • All-new design is more modern for 2020
  • All models have advanced driver assists
  • Excellent safety ratings
  • Uninspiring drive
  • Interior is a little bland
  • Not the most attractive exterior design

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE Sport Hybrid
2.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$28,265
SE Plug-In Hybrid
2.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$33,040
Titanium Hybrid
2.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,550
SEL Plug-In Hybrid
2.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$35,620
Titanium Plug-In Hybrid
2.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$38,835

Escape Hybrid Exterior

With a much fresher, more modern look, the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid has sleeker curves than the 2019 cars. All models feature LED signature lighting with configurable daytime running lamps. From the SEL Plug-In and upwards, all cars get halogen fog lamps, too. The two Titanium variants get LED fog lamps additionally. There's a body-color rear spoiler and skid plates across the range, while all except the SE Plug-In get black roof rack side rails as standard. All models have dual chrome exhaust tips peeking out from below the liftgate, which, on Titanium trims, is hands-free and power-operated. The SE Sport Hybrid comes with 17-inch wheels while the SE and SEL Plug-Ins ride on 18s, as does the Titanium Plug-In. Only the Titanium Hybrid rolls on 19-inch items as standard, although various wheel sizes and styles are optional across the range.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Front View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Side View Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Rear Angle View Ford
See All 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Redesigned from the ground up for the 2020 model year, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Plug-In are now a little bigger than before. Key dimensions include 180.5 inches in total length, a wheelbase of 106.7 inches, and a height of 66.1 inches, while adding AWD to the SE Sport Hybrid increases the length to 181.3 inches. Excluding side mirrors, the Escape Hybrid is 74.1 inches wide. While these measurements are identical to gas-fed versions of the Escape, the electrified cars are a little more portly, weighing in between 3,491 pounds and 3,870 lbs. Non-hybrid models range in curb weight from 3,298 lbs to 3,566 lbs.

  • Length 180.5 in
  • Wheelbase 106.7 in
  • Height 66.1 in
  • Max Width 74.1 in
  • Front Width 62.4 in
  • Rear Width 61.8 in

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Exterior Colors

  • Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • Star White Metallic Tri-Coat
  • Sedona Orange Metallic, Build Out: 12/16/2019
  • Blue Metallic
  • Dark Persian Green Metallic
  • Velocity Blue Metallic
  • Desert Gold Metallic
  • Magnetic Metallic
  • Agate Black Metallic
  • Ingot Silver Metallic
  • Oxford White
  • Agate Black

Escape Hybrid Performance

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Aft View Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Rear View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Charge Port Ford

Engine and Transmission

The news for 2020 in the Escape lineup is the addition of a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four engine, an 88 kW electric motor, and a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to the powertrain options, which is available in SE Sport and Titanium trims. The Hybrid system provides 198 hp combined in the regular hybrid and 209 hp in plug-in form. There's also a Plug-In setup that uses a larger 14.4-kWh battery and comes exclusively in front-wheel-drive configuration, and can be had in SE, SEL, and Titanium grades. Hybrid variants get access to all-wheel-drive optionally. Both are paired to an eCVT that isn't much to write home about but manages to do the job without too much fuss. Independent tests show a sub-eight-second run from 0- 60 mph which is fractionally less than the RAV4 Hybrid, but the forthcoming RAV4 Prime will leave the Ford in the dust. The hybrid Escape can also tow a maximum of 1,500 pounds, which is around 2,000 lbs less than its most capable gas-fed relative does.

  • Engine
    2.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Escape manages quite well once it's up to speed, and despite a slightly hesitant start, is very adept at overtaking and merging on the highway. With the hybridized powertrain and effectively dampened cabin, the drive is pleasantly quiet for passengers. The suspension has been set up to absorb bumps and bruises without hesitation too, and it provides a comfortable ride - that being said, it's not particularly engaging to be behind the wheel. The steering is precise, but there could be more feedback and a little more fun, the likes of which the Mazda CX-5 has in spades. Still, it's confident through corners with minimal body roll and doesn't disappoint - it just simply doesn't thrill, either.

Escape Hybrid Gas Mileage

Fuel economy is the forte of the Escape Hybrid, and it's rated at 44/37/41 mpg by the EPA on city/highway/combined cycles in FWD configuration on the standard hybrid configuration. Cars with the optional AWD setup only lose one mpg on city and combined cycles. In plug-in form, the EPA gives a combined estimate of 41 mpg, while on electricity alone, 100 MPGe and a range of 37 miles are mighty fine figures. The Hybrid Escape is fitted with a 14.3-gallon fuel tank, while the Plug-In has a smaller 11.2-gallon unit. This translates to a range of around 497 miles on the plug-in and 586 for the standard hybrid.

Charging the Plug-In 14.4 kWh battery takes around ten hours on a Level 1 charger, while a Level 2 charger drops this to around 3.5 hours.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 44/37 mpg
* 2020 Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid FWD

Escape Hybrid Interior

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Dashboard Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Dashboard 1 Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Central Console Ford
See All 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

With space for five, the Escape Hybrid feeds off the recent redesign for the range that sees 2020 models being slightly larger than before - the extra inches bode well for passengers, who benefit from more legroom. The interior is modern, although not particularly luxurious, and offers enough headroom for taller passengers; notably, the seats proved to be a little lacking in comfort. Upholstered in cloth on the SE trims, and leatherette on the SEL, you'll have to opt for Titanium models if you want real leather. On the plus side, all models get ten-way power-adjustable driver's seats with heating in the front row. Front passengers make do with four-way manual adjustments in the lower trims, with six-way power seat adjustment for the co-pilot only available to the cream of the crop.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.4 in
  • Front Head Room 40.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.3 in

Escape Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

By positioning the battery below the floor of the second-row seats, Ford asserts that the pack doesn't eat into cargo space, thanks to a smart and slender design. Still, cargo space in the trunk is slightly less in Hybrid and Plug-In derivatives as opposed to the standard gas models. Behind the second-row seating, the Escape Hybrid SUV has 34.4 cubic feet of space to store your weekly shopping, around two cubes less than it's gasoline-powered sibling. With the back row folded away, the Hybrid offers around 60.8 cubic feet of volume, nearly five fewer than the standard models.

Small-item storage is in line with a family vehicle, and there are eight cupholders spread throughout the cabin. An overhead console is available, too, while deep door pockets are also large enough for water bottles. The center console hosts a respectable storage bin, and a standard glovebox is ample for your purse and smaller knick-knacks. There's also a map pocket on the back of the front passenger seat.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Front Chairs Ford
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats David Westphal
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Trunk Space David Westphal

Escape Hybrid Infotainment and Features

Features

From the entry point to the range, the Escape Hybrid and Plug-In models have the bases covered with automatic single-zone climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front-row seats. Dual-zone climate control is added to the Titanium trims, where leather front seats also make an appearance. While base models seem a little less blessed with comfort features than higher trims, there is no skimping by Ford in terms of driver assists and safety, and all cars get pre-collision assist with emergency braking, a lane-keeping system, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, auto high-beams, and a rearview camera as standard under Ford's Co-Pilot360 tech. Titanium models get adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go as well and lane centering, and a reverse sensing system, additionally.

Infotainment

To Ford's credit, all Hybrid and Plug-In models feature the user-friendly SYNC 3 infotainment system, installed to an eight-inch capacitive LCD touchscreen. The software is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and SiriusXM is also included. The SE and SEL models channel audio through a standard six-speaker sound system, while Titanium trims get a ten-speaker Bang & Olufsen setup featuring a subwoofer. The top-end models also have a voice-activated navigation system with pinch-to-zoom capability as a bonus. The FordPass Connect app is included for all cars in the range.

2020 Escape Hybrid Problems and Reliability

As a new offering to the market, the Escape Hybrid and Plug-In models have not yet been rated by J.D. Power. However, the standard Escape has been subject to one recall thus far for reduced seat back strength affecting cars with manual front-seat adjustments. Warranty cover for added peace of mind includes a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper plan, as well as a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain and roadside assistance warranty. Hybrid and electric components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Escape Hybrid Safety

Crash test results from the NHTSA for the 2020 Ford Escape range were favorable, with an overall rating of five stars out of five. The IIHS seemed to concur with this review of the Escape hybrid, awarding six top scores of Good, and the authority's coveted 2020 Top Safety Pick title, too.

With seven airbags (including driver's knee airbag) as standard, the safety suite is also bolstered with a standard rearview camera, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, pre-collision warning with emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and automatic high-beams. The top two models also get adaptive cruise control and reverse sensing.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid a good car?

The all-new hybrid range from Ford for 2020 provides a variety of models from which to choose, including Plug-In variations which allow you a 37-mile all-electric range when you need it. If your daily commute is only a few miles, then this is an excellent car to opt for - in both configurations, the 2020 Escape Hybrid offers excellent fuel efficiency, beating out the likes of rivals like Toyota's RAV4 and the Honda CR-V Hybrid. And, although the powertrains don't provide enthusiastic acceleration, it's still adequate for your needs. However, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is still a strong rival, and with the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime arriving in 2021 with 320 hp, the Escape Hybrid might simply not be good enough. The Escape Hybrid is what it is - an affordable investment into family commuting with minimal fuel bills, but not much more.

🚘What's the Price of the Ford Escape Hybrid?

The base model SE Sport Hybrid can be had for under $30k, and boasts an MSRP of $28,265, while the SE Plug-In costs $33,040. A small jump up to the SEL Plug-In sees an increase in price to $35,620. Titanium Hybrid models are for sale at the slightly cheaper price of $33,550, while the fully-loaded Titanium Plug-In has a sticker price of $38,835. The Ford Escape Hybrid's prices are quoted excluding a destination fee of $1,245. No federal tax credits were announced at the time of writing.

See All 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Trims and Specs

🚗What Ford Escape Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

When looking at which model to buy, the first thing to establish is whether you want the convenience of a hybrid as is, or whether a plug-in version is more up your alley. Once you've established that, it's a matter of choosing your trim - and in this case, we'd avoid the SE and SEL models entirely and simply opt for the Titanium in either electrified powertrain. The Titanium is well equipped with the larger digital instrument cluster for the driver, a brilliant Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the optional head-up display. There's also the benefit of more safety features in terms of advanced cruise control with stop-and-go as well as a reverse sensing system - we'd also add on the available vista roof, just for fun.

Check out other Ford Escape Styles

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Comparisons

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Toyota
Honda CR-V Hybrid Honda North America
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ford Escape Hybrid200 hp44/37 mpg$28,265
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 219 hp41/38 mpg$28,350
Honda CR-V Hybrid 212 hp40/35 mpg$27,850

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid vs Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota's RAV4 offers a slightly torquier powertrain, with an additional electric motor mounted to the rear axle feeding through a combined 219 horsepower - around 19 hp up on the Escape. The result is a slightly quicker 0-60 mph time, with the RAV4 tests showing a 7.3-second run as opposed to the Ford's 7.7 dash. With a permanent all-wheel-drive setup, the RAV4 provides a much more practical SUV in terms of its ability to tackle more unkempt terrain and offers a 1,750-lbs maximum towing capacity, which is around 250 lbs more than what the Escape Hybrid offers. Toyota claims that the RAV4 can achieve 41/38/40 mpg when it comes to fuel efficiency, too, which is not quite as impressive as the Ford Escape FWD Hybrid's 44/37/41 mpg, but is much the same as the ratings achieved by the AWD version. While the Ford Hybrid feels much more oriented to city driving, easily soaking up road abrasions and bumps, the Toyota feels just a little more rough-and-ready. The choice between the two will likely come down to what you want to do with the car the majority of the time, but there is a reason the RAV4 remains one of the best-selling vehicles in the United States.

See Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid vs Honda CR-V Hybrid

Also fresh off a redesign for 2020, Honda's CR-V Hybrid comes with total outputs of 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque. With these impressive figures, fuel economy takes a slight knock, with the CR-V earning EPA ratings of 40/35/38 mpg, a few mpg short on the Escape's impressive numbers. Barring this, these two cars are actually very similar, with cabin space and even cargo space behind the back row being in line with the other - it's worth noting, however, that the CR-V Hybrid has around eight cubic feet more volume when the back row of seats are folded away. The CR-V Hybrid comes in slightly cheaper for its base model, but is a few driver assists and a driver's knee airbag short on the Escape. It does have a much more refined cabin, and is just as supple and pleasant to drive. Although this is a close call, we'd opt for the Escape Hybrid simply because it is better equipped in terms of features.

See Honda CR-V Hybrid Review

Ford Escape Hybrid Popular Comparisons

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Video Reviews

Check out some informative Ford Escape Hybrid video reviews below.

$28,265 - $38,835
Price Range (MSRP)
Ford Escape Hybrid