By on March 29, 2019

Image: Ford

Debuting in North America for the 2013 model year, the third-generation Ford Escape is getting long in the tooth, forced to compete against newer compact crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V. Toyota’s RAV4 is all-new this year, too. And Dodge, well… Dodge still sells the Journey Abe Lincoln drove from rural Illinois to D.C.

Looking to cement its status in this white-hot segment, Ford has a fourth-generation Escape due out later this year. We’ll have full details for you on April 2nd (the media sneak peek was last week), but here’s something to tide you over.

The new Escape’s arrival comes not a moment too soon. Climbing the U.S. sales charts following its 2001 model year debut, the model cracked the 200,000/year mark in 2011 and busted through the 300,000/year mark in 2014. Growth then stalled, with the model’s 2017 high water mark standing at 308,296 units. Amid competition from newer rivals, the aging Escape’s volume fell to 272, 228 units last year.

From the glimpse afforded by Ford’s Twitter account, the Escape dons a tall and wide mesh grille, eschewing the complex visage of years past. It would seem Ford’s aiming for a flat-hooded sense of brawn here. Or maybe a combination of that, plus elegance. “Plasticky” is no longer a good look.

Image: Ford

Out back, the rear glass seems more steeply raked than before, topped with a spoiler and underscored by large “ESCAPE” lettering glinting away in chrome. Taillights are an LED-lit, downward hockey stick affair, with the outer edges creeping forward along the rear flanks of the vehicle.

Interior volume and content will surely see upgrades, but don’t expect to see a base S model with Ford’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder in tow. 2020 model-year VIN decoder documents sent from Ford to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the 1.5-liter Ecoboost inline-four staging a return, with the 2.0-liter unit offered as an upgrade. Unlike the third-gen Escape, there’s also a hybrid option — two, in fact. The VIN docs list both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain, each utilizing the 2.5-liter and an electric motor. Range, like combined output, is anyone’s guess, but a 2019 Fusion Energi can travel 25 miles before the gasoline mill kicks in.

The hybrid variants can be had in SE, SEL, and Titanium trims, in both front- or all-wheel drive guise.

As we said before, expect a closer look at this vehicle on April 2nd.

[Images: Ford, via Twitter]

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61 Comments on “Just a Reminder That There’s a New Ford Escape Coming...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Looking forward to see what they do. Escape is very important for Ford. Will signal the design direction for the next Ecosport/Edge as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Ford has this great advantage that the current Escape is in a sweet spot for size and price. It is ranked highly in Consumers Reports reliability. I hope Ford can continue it’s success.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        We picked up a 2017 Escape up for one of my daughters a few weeks ago. It is a convenient size for people without families. Some of the Japanese offerings have grown a bit. That makes them great for families, but a little less convenient to drive.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    First generation Escape had 15 recalls when it launched for the 2001 model year.

    Second generation Escape has 15 recalls when it launched for the 2013 model year.

    I bet this one experiences 10+ recalls.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’ve had lots of recalls, but everything’s been fixed no charge, so it’s kind of hard to complain too much

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        That’s the point of a recall. To fix what they got wrong.

        But 100% of Ford’s new Escape launches have been plagued by an astounding amount of recalls.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        15 recalls is about 14 more than I’ve ever had on any vehicle I’ve ever owned.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I’m not sure number of recalls is indicative. My 15 F150 has 2…the door handle bit and the seatbelt pretensioners could catch the carpet on fire bit. Needs to be done for sure, but once done there are no further worries.

          Then there is my wife’s Santa Fe. Only one recall…so they can modify the knock sensors to let me know when the bottom end of the motor is about to self destruct because they couldn’t figure out machining on a motor they have built since sometime around the Nixon administration. The recall doesn’t really fix the issue…after they do it it may still fail catastrophically, it will just hopefully warn me before it does so I can pull over.

          While I’d prefer no recalls (I suppose my Fiesta is the only one with that honor), I would take 15 of the misprinted label or even fix it and forget it sort over the looming possible death sentence of the lone recall on the Santa Fe.

          So I’m not sure number of recalls is an accurate measure alone and honestly, rolling the dice on a first year Escape would be less risky at this point. Then again, and Alfa Stevlio probably has better long term prospects too.

      • 0 avatar
        tylanner

        It’s the issues that Ford doesn’t recall that should worry you….

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’m on my 2nd Escape and am very happy with them. I’m very much looking forward to this :)

  • avatar
    jkross22

    These quasi reveals are silly. It’s not a new Lambo… it’s a middling wagon on stilts family hauler.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Depending on what the actual details are the possibility is high that this or a MKC will be the wife’s next vehicle. The lack of a Hybrid option since 2012 means her last two cars were C-Max, bought used because of their poor resale value, one w/o a plug and the current one with a plug to see if she will consistently plug it in after every drive. So far so good so if they get it right it will be the PHEV version as I expect it will get enough range to get the full or near the full tax credit.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I had a 2014 for awhile. It was fine. Had the 2.5 so it was a bit slow, however it did exactly as I asked. I’m curious how this one will look; the mild refresh made it gross in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I googled for more pics which I kind of regret, it’s pretty dull. Maybe I’ll hold out for the Bronco

      • 0 avatar
        NiceCar

        It looks like nearly everything else in that class, e.g., Tuscon, Rav4, CX-5. The first Escapes had a really nice, fairly boxy shape, but so did a lot of other small CUVs at the time. There’s little to do to distinguish this type of vehicle at this point. It can either be boxy or CAFE-y and at this point nearly all brands choose the later, and while there might be small details that are unique, the broad styling points are the same.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        It’s supposed to be dull, that’s why the Baby Bronco will exist as an alternative on the same platform (most likely)

  • avatar
    darex

    Maybe they’ll cancel it, like they did the Focus. No one will miss it, either. Screw Ford!

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Ford canceled the Focus because the Escape was outselling it, and because Ford is battening down the hatches for the upcoming trade wars + recession + EV onslaught.

      The Escape isn’t going anywhere. Expect it to be available with an optional PHEV powertrain like the competing Jeep Renegade.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Jeep won’t be available as a PHEV in the US anytime soon, those are euro only models for the time being and this article does show that yes a Hybrid and Plug-in version will be on the options list for the 2020 model year.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Maybe they’ll cancel it, like they did the Focus. No one will miss it, either. Screw Ford!”

      Translation: “I’m 12 and I don’t like it, so NOBODY should!”

      they sell 300,000 Escapes every year, skeeter. Would love to hear why you think “maybe they’ll cancel it.”

      • 0 avatar
        darex

        Various actions by Ford this year suggest they don’t care about their customers in America. The Ecosport is a prime example. It is by far the worst car I’ve driven in decades. We have two at work, because our purveyor is an idiot. It’s cheaper and more appallingly constructed than the Pontiac (Kia) LeMans and Opel Corsa, that I had the misfortune of renting years ago (the two worst cars I had ever driven). It rattles and squeaks from brand-new, has trim pieces that will slice your finger off, and is so anemic, that highway maneuvers are scary and dangerous. Yes, I know it was designed for BRIC countries, FIVE years ago, but that Ford should think that it was a suitable thing to sell in our market, just reinforces to me that they’re a-holes, who truly don’t care for the North American market. I could go on and on about how bad this car is, but suffice it to say that I would take a base Kia Rio over an Ecosport, without hesitation. I’ve never been a fan of their ergonomics, and SYNC remains to this day, horrible. Couple that with cutting virtually every interesting car variant they used to sell, and that’s why I say, screw Ford! There’s no shortage of CUV/SUV options out there, and Ford will NEVER be on my shortlist – ever. There, you asked!

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Thanks for your well thought out and useful comment.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I am really going to miss the Fiesta ST when the lease is up and there is nothing on the lot to replace it. I really hope Toyota does an honest hot version of the Carolla hatch by then. I could do a GTI…it is a great car to drive, the Fiesta just feels a little more rowdy for lack of a better term and more fun at slow speeds.

  • avatar
    HaveNissanWillTravel

    Time to replace my ‘14 Escape company car!

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Based on the spy shots, the 2020 Escape’s low front grill apparently also doubles as its front bumper. It could be the first CUV to be declared totaled by GEICO from a collision with a racoon.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I’ll gladly bet that the escape will have less room, be less efficient and less reliable than the crv. But I guess it may be competitive with the equinox.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      It probably will have less room. It certainly looks less like the box it came in than the CR-V. Reliability? I’m not so sure. Hondas are nowhere near as reliable as their reputation would suggest.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      We drove a CR-V on our last trip car shopping. Reliability doesn’t mean as much when the AC is incapable of cooling the car on 102 degree days in Augusta as there tend to be a few of those in the summer (and occasionally spring and fall down there lol).

      Seriously, the HR-V and CR-V sucked in this department. The salesman actually acknowledged it and suggested we step up to a Pilot because they had better AC.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would stick with the CRV or Rav4. I wouldn’t buy the first year of a totally redesigned Escape or Equinox–wait a couple of years for the bugs to be worked out.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Good advice, Ford is notorious for first year issues and recalls. Year two is better but year 3 and up is best. It’s been my experience to buy a Ford in it’s last model year, they’re cheap and relatively problem free. Now is a good time to be looking at the last of the 3rd gen Escape, which is where my focus (pun NOT intended) currently is

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I don’t buy first year anything from anybody. Just a bad idea.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I had a 1st generation (2002) Ford Escape for a while. It was very good at what it did — which was basically the same use case that sells Subarus. It was all weather family transportation.

    I got the V6 variant, because it had a timing chain instead of a timing belt. The extra power was fun, but I learned to hate that engine after a while — it was loud and unrefined and the step shift automatic would sometimes shift a little rough. This was probably a deliver Design decision on Ford’s part, because many aspects of the car were trying to convince you that it was a Ford Truck, rather than an AWD Mazda 626 wagon (which it was). Every time that thing would growl and shift, I wished I’d bought the hybrid instead. (We also owned a Prius at the time, and I definitely preferred the Prius’s angry kitten kind of buzzy over the Escape V6’s rough kind of buzzy.)

    Still, it was the right tool for the right job at the right time at the right place. I understand why these things are popular!

    I eventually bought a Sienna, and gave the Escape to my mom. If anyone needed a compact car with excessive ground clearance, it was her — and, again, the Escape was the right tool for the right job at the right price at the right time.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to own a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Escape if I needed one again. The main thing I’d be looking at during the test drive is the powertrain refinement on that particular variant. Everything else hit the nail on the head!

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I bought a Limited with the Duratec V6 new in ’04 and mine was neither loud or unrefined at the time. At a stoplight I couldn’t even tell the engine was on. Maybe they added some sound dampening insulation for the ’05 refresh.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “but I learned to hate that engine after a while — it was loud and unrefined”

      I’m going to suggest that you possibly had something wrong with your engine. I’ve owned both the 1st and 2nd gen V6 Escapes and found them both to be strong, smooth and long-lasting (traded my 1st gen with a 175K miles on it for my 2nd gen which currently has a 132K miles on it)engines. I’m also a co-founder of Escape-City car forum, so I get A LOT of feedback from other Escape/Tribute/Mariner owners and yours is one of the rare complaints on the V6

      Please note these engines like to be properly maintained which goes a long way in relation to their longevity. Do not ignore routine maintenance they will bite you in the ass

  • avatar
    volvoguyincanada

    Just a reminder the passenger crash test score is “POOR”. So get an Escape as long as you don’t care about the health and safety of your passengers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      That’s a pretty broad statement, which one?

      • 0 avatar
        volvoguyincanada

        2013-2019 models are included in that score. The only other SUV to receive such a low score is the RAV4. I don’t mean to “fear monger” but the Escape scores in the bottom 2 of 27 cars. Ford could’ve done better.. but now we have the EcoSport, so I’m not sure if they can.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      And what would the crash test score of the 13-19 have to do with the entirely new 20+ models. Sure it may be the same but there is no reason to think it can’t be better, since it was designed after IIHS added their small overlap test to the passenger side.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Naa…if I hate my passenger and want to bump them off via crash I’ll just grab a Tundra.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lie2me–That has been my experience with GM and Ford vehicles the first year of a new model tends to have more issues and after a few years of production then that model is at its best. Found this true with my wife’s 2000 Taurus which didn’t have the issues that the 1996 Taurus had with transmissions and other things even though the 2000 Taurus was refreshed it was still basically the same as the 1996 thru 1999. Found that true with my 99 S-10 which was basically the the same as the 1994 thru 98 with a few cosmetic changes–still have that S-10 20 years later with few issues. That is also true with the prior generation of Ranger and Panther based Fords. I would consider an Escape or an Equinox but I have been more than happy with my wife’s CRV. I would speculate that the 2022 Escape will be much more reliable than the 2020 or 2021 that would be the model of this generation to get unless you want to pull the trigger and get a 2019 which is the best of that generation.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      It’s funny that car companies always redesign or drop a model right after they get it right. That is why I’m starting to look at the last of the 3rd gen Escapes. The discounts will be good and it’s my experience that the Escapes with the 2.0T engines are pretty good. I’ve been reluctant to give up my V6 for a four, but due to good feedback I’m thinking that this four will be the most painless

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    You would probably get a real good deal on a 2019 Escape.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Does anybody even care about Ford anymore?

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      The Ford family should care, as the fortune is dwindling quickly – a competent financial advisor should be recommending various exit strategies.

      The employees care, but there are fewer of them than there used to be.

      The dealers care, but how many of them are Ford exclusive? They will cope.

      I care once a year when I glance up from a plate of turkey to see the effectiveness of Ford ownership/management play out in the real world. (For some reason I don’t notice on Super Bowl Sunday.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Last I checked Ford was still selling a million trucks a year in the US alone. I don’t think they’re ready to shutter the place just yet. What I do see in the coming years is a lot of consolidations/mergers within the auto industry to remain solvent

  • avatar

    The problem is the Escape falls short of the RAV4 and the Rogue. Remember, Nissan and Toyota also have a full carline to back them up that Ford now doesn’t have.

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