There's only one thing to do.
The latest generation Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid just hit the market for the 2020 model year and already the Blue Oval has a significant change planned. No, this is not the typical mid-cycle refresh or a potential ST version, but rather an extended-length variant.
According to information obtained by Ford Authority, the American automaker is currently developing a three-row Escape capable of carrying up to seven passengers. Internally called CX430, it'll ride on the same C2 platform underpinning both the regular Escape and the new Bronco Sport. The three-row Escape's longer wheelbase will also force some exterior design changes by way of a more conventional roofline as opposed to the two row's more wagon-like silhouette.
Aside from the third-row, which will be accessible via the second-row, no significant interior changes are expected. It's the same deal regarding powertrains.
Plug-in and hybrid variants should be carried over as well. The report also claims the three-row Escape will also be sold in Europe where it's known as the Kuga. In fact, it'll more than likely replace the slow-selling Edge, S-Max, and Galaxy in that market. The Edge, as previously rumored, may also be on its way out in North America as well for the same reason. Having a three-row Escape will also enable Ford to offer a direct rival to the Volkswagen Tiguan three-row.
How spacious the extra row of seats will be remains a mystery. Given that the Escape is already classified as a compact crossover, potential buyers should not expect to find mid- and full-size crossover levels of space. There's only so much engineers can do with an extended platform. However, once that third row is folded flat then a lot more cargo space will become available, precisely the thing customers seek most.
Ford has not yet officially confirmed the existence of the stretched Escape, but it's expected to be ready to go for the 2022 model year.