Seven years ago, Ford was preparing to unveil the third generation of its SUV Escape. The model was very successful, but at the dawn of the new decade, its redesign began to hurry.
Moreover, Ford is at the heart of a reorganization that makes its range, at the beginning of the next decade, rely on the Mustang, then on a multitude of SUVs, like the 2020 Escape, while many of them will be completely new.
This will be the case of the Escape which undergoes its biggest redesign to date. In fact, in its case, we must speak of an all-out reinvention. The changes affect every aspect of the vehicle. Whether it’s the style, the cabin, the list of options, the technology, the aerodynamics or the choice of variants, everything has been redesigned.
The presentation of the model that we attended in the Detroit area last week gave us an overview. As you will notice, nothing has been left to chance.
To go around the question as concisely as possible, let’s put aside the usual descriptions of the amenities and features expected with this type of vehicle. Our focus will be on the elements that allow the Escape to redefine the standards in its segment.
Predictably, Ford up the ante so that his new Escape is more connected than ever and is also the most technologically advanced. Thus, we find aboard the 2020 Ford Escape the following characteristics:
- A 12.3-inch digital display instead of the traditional instrumentation. The concept is borrowed from the Mustang and the Explorer. Said screen may be personalized by the driver to display a lot of information relating to his tastes and preferences.
- The digital display is combined with a multimedia system (8 inches) which features touchscreen menus and a smartphone-like navigation system.
- The head-up display will be a first in the segment and Ford has not skimped with a simple gizmo. In the windshield can be displayed information such as speed, details of driving aids, instructions of the navigation system, as well as details of incoming calls.
- Finally, Internet connectivity is provided through the FordPass Connect system. Where it goes further is that it allows the connection of 10 devices and use up to 50 feet of the vehicle.
For driving aids, there are well-known features such as adaptive cruise control and frontal collision warning, but the 2020 Escape also offers some innovation. Two have caught our attention particularly since they are not offered by direct competition.
- Active Park Assist 2.0 goes one step further to help the driver safely execute parking maneuvers. In fact, the driver has nothing to do. Whether for parallel or perpendicular parking, the vehicle takes full control and deals with steering AND speed & braking.
- As for the Evasive Steering Assist device, it helps the driver avoid obstacles by changing the steering ratio so that the wheels turn faster. This assistance system works hand in hand with the others, so that, for example, if another vehicle is detected in the blind spot, the function will be cancelled.
The mechanical parts in the 2020 Escape were also vetted. Whether talking about mechanics, transmissions or suspensions, Ford has not skimped. Here is the essential.
- All Escape engines will offer more power. In the case of the 1.5-liter EcoBoost and 2-liter engines (3 and 4 cylinders respectively), we speak of 10% gains. For hybrid and plug-in hybrids, a liquid-cooled battery was used, saving space without sacrificing cargo space.
- An eight-speed automatic transmission will be coupled to the EcoBoost engines. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) will be paired with the hybrid variants.
- To improve handling, Ford widened the Escape and lowered the center of gravity.
- The subframe benefits from better bearings so that road imperfections are better absorbed. Rigidity has also been improved so that the steering offers a more precise response.
- The suspension has been redesigned with more refined dampers and springs. The travel has also been increased by one inch.
- Wider tires have been chosen, again for better traction and handling.
- The steering, electrically assisted, is entirely new.
- The driver can choose from different driving modes (Normal, Sport, Eco). It can also choose settings for slippery or inhospitable terrains (Slippery and Snow/Sand).
- Finally, to give an idea of the research work done to get to the best components choice possible, the tire selection managers studied 48 possible combinations before making their final choice.
Ford has made every effort to make the new Escape a more frugal vehicle. To do this, one of the most important elements was to reduce weight. Here are some places where efforts have been concentrated.
- the hood is made of aluminum, as are the suspension arms, the spare tire and the bumper brackets
- Insulating elements and carpets are lighter
- The brake system is lighter.
- The speakers are made of lighter metal, neodymium.
- Different types of high-strength steel have been used and the weight, you guessed it, is lower.
Finally, special attention has been paid to aerodynamics. The war against the drag allows to make innovations which result, in turn, by gains at the pump. This is what the new 2020 Escape does to better split the wind.
- Small fins grafted to the lower part of the muzzle make the tires offer less resistance.
- The grille consists of sections that close at high speed.
- Mirrors have been redesigned several times to offer the least resistance to wind.
- Same for the front sections that contain the fog lamps.
- The roof rails are glued on it for optimum performance.
- The design of the rear part has been the subject of numerous analyzes so that the diffused air is made as efficiently as possible.
- 80% of the area under the vehicle is covered with plates to reduce turbulence.
- In all, the all-new 2020 Ford Escape spent 200 hours in wind tunnels.
Rarely does a vehicle undergo a transformation of this magnitude. Will all this translate into the eighth wonder of the world hitting the market? Probably not. On the other hand, we are entitled to expect something convincing.
Ford had no choice, anyway. They had to hit a big shot.
We will see when we will have the opportunity to take the wheel of the 2020 Ford Escape.