We often times focus on what’s the best of something. The best gets all the notoriety, and leaves most others in the dust, vying for a footnote in the annuls of history. We will remember Tom Brady for being the greatest quarterback of this generation, and arguably, of all time. We will remember the Chevy Corvette for being the most dominant selling American sports car in its illustrious half century of production. We will remember the Ford Expedition, and the Chevy Suburban for being the largest land going trucks we’ve seen to date that you don’t need a CDL to drive.
But what about those that weren’t the best? What about the ones that were just pretty good? Phillip Rivers has amazing statistics, but he’s never even made a Super Bowl. The Pontiac Firebird has had a famously wonderful run in the American sports car realm, but was always in the shadow of the beloved Bowtie boulevard brawler. And when it comes to trucks, while the big boys get all the cred, we can’t forget about the underlings that might not get the respect they deserve. Trucks like the Ford Escape, often forgot, but unjustifiably so, and the 2020 version of the Escape is looking to change that.
With Ford’s new campaign that has abandoned all things car, with the exception of the Mustang (thankfully), the Escape will become something of their entry level vehicle. The newly styled front end has a soft look to it that does resemble a Fusion with a full stomach. The rear has hints of Jeep Cherokee to it, probably by design. The Escape keeps enough ride height to qualify as a light truck for most consumer’s needs. Inside, the Escape is very Spartan in its features, but then for a base price of about $25,000, you can’t expect too much. Cloth seats make for a less than stellar first impression, but are still comfy once you forget the material. A high-perched infotainment screen is the centerpiece of the interior, and is fairly intuitive thanks to Fords progressive SYNC interface. There is quite a bit of rental-car-like plastic bits and pieces that are hard to ignore after a while, and definitely remind you that this is an entry level vehicle. The Escape is enough truck for most, it has enough room for five, and a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, and cargo volume of 65/34 front/rear cubic feet.
Under the hood, Ford has taken an interesting approach to the new Escape. The base engine is actually a DOHC direct-injected 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-three. Yep, three cylinders, and Ford still offers cylinder deactivation that brings that down to two under the right circumstances, which does make for some impressive fuel economy. Despite having to lug around 3,500 pounds and having all-wheel drive, you can net a 26/31/28 city/highway/combined mpg, though premium fuel is recommended.
That little motor is no slouch either. Forced induction is a wondrous thing, and out of a little 1.5-liter three cylinder engine, we get a legit 181-horsepower and 190 pound feet of torque. That power is routed through an 8-speed automatic and then on to the aforementioned four corners. 0-60 mph takes only 7.7 seconds, and the quarter mile goes by in 15.9 seconds at 87 mph on to a governor limited 122 mph top speed. Roadholding around the skid pad chimes in at a modest 0.84 g, and braking from 70-0 mph takes 162 feet. Those numbers aren’t remarkable either way, but sometimes that’s a good thing. You get what you expect, so there are no surprises.
And that might be the best way to sum up trucks like the Escape. There are no surprises. It is a functional all-season crossover SUV that might be a little pricier than necessary, but does its job exactly how you would want it to for the entry level cost. Just like Matthew Stafford, or the Pontiac GTO, the Ford Escape isn’t ever going to be credited for being the best at any one thing, but that still doesn’t mean it’s pretty good at everything, and that does deserve a little recognition.