This post may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we'll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This support helps us maintain and grow our site. Thank you for your support!

The Ford Escape has long been Ford's best seller. However, not all models are equal. You should only get a model from the best year for the Ford Escape.

The Ford Escape is a compact crossover that has become one of the most popular automobiles in the Ford portfolio since its introduction in 2000. There are numerous compelling reasons for this. It is one of the most popular crossover SUVs on the market.

While the 2017 Ford Escape is one of the best Ford Escape models ever produced, the newly redesigned 2020 Ford Escape is already a favorite among consumers, making it the best year in the Ford Escape's tenured history.

The vehicle comfortably accommodates a small family and has enough space to carry luggage or cargo. It's just as pleasant to ride around town as it is to travel large distances. The gas mileage has always been great for a car of this size, and many people have commented on how appealing the overall design is. All of this comes together to create a car that is still popular today.

We've driven different versions of the Ford Escape and can confidently say that the 2020 version is the best of the best. The vehicle is a complete package of performance, comfort, and luxury with many advanced features. The Ford Escape is an impressive car that gracefully blends between reliability and comfort.

Table of Contents

Best Year Ford Escape

2020 was the best launch of the fourth generation of the Ford Escape. The car flaunted a great driving experience and its attractive design, making it stand out from other vehicles in the category. The Ford Escape has grown in popularity over the years, making buyers wonder why they were asked for a higher price.

Performance, Engine, and Transmission

The 2020 Escape comes with a variety of engines, starting with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower with front- or all-wheel drive. While it does produce noise and is unrefined, the turbo three provides decent performance, propelling an all-wheel-drive Escape SE to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds.

The 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is the better option, and it was powerful enough to achieve a 5.7-second time. An eight-speed automatic transmission is paired with both gasoline engines. To compete with the Honda CR-V hybrid and the impending Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid, Ford will ultimately present two Escape hybrids, one of them will be a plug-in with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors combining to provide 221 horsepower.

On the inside, the 2020 Ford Escape is sleek and a lot darker, with black plastic and wood grain trim adorning its constrained designs.

The new Escape has a sleek, smooth design with gentle headlamps and a low grille that gives it a carlike appearance. The Escape's front appearance is inspired by the Tesla Model 3, but with a wider grille instead of a blank look.

In the front, the Escape stands out more; in the back, it resembles other crossovers. The 2020 Escape, in particular, has some distinctly Mazda moments, particularly in the intricate curves around its rear quarters.

The interior of the Escape is less cluttered than before, with BMW-style bands. The Escape comes across as tough and elegant, if not a little depressed. The surfaces below the center line are to fault, they're from a lower-cost parts bin and appear in some unusually high locations.

Quality & Comfort

The 2020 Escape offers a lot of space, but the seats could have been better. The redesigned smoothed-over body of the 2020 Ford Escape still allows for plenty of passenger and cargo room. Its seats, especially for larger passengers, are comfortable and spacious.

The new Escape is 180.5 inches long and has a 106.7-inch wheelbase, which makes it about two inches longer than the previous model. By using innovative packaging and more efficient design, it is able to save even more room.

The previous Escape's swoopy dash has been replaced by a flatter, more basic design that provides plenty of knee or legroom. The headroom is adequate, and the center-console storage beneath the elbows and forward of the rotary shift control is enough. The bottom cushions are short, have rounded corners, and are narrowly bolstered to accommodate smaller drivers.

Ford claims that the new Escape has been modified to appeal more to women; are gendered seats now a thing? Power controls and heating are available on higher-priced models, but no Escape offers auto-cool front seats.

The whole makeover improves row two the most. Ford claims increased legroom (approximately 38.8 inches; 1.8 inches less on hybrids), and we believe it—especially because the bench lays back and slides for further comfort. The Escape's cargo bin is nearly flat when the back seats are folded nearly flat, but it's already quite large.

With the rear seats folded down, the Escape has a load capacity of 65.4 cubic feet, which is around 10 cubic feet less than the Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester. The interior contours are pleasing and reminiscent of the Edge, and the black plastic parts of the Escape become harder and more gleaming. The door caps are made of medium-weight, gently cushioned vinyl.


So far, the 2020 Escape has received favorable crash-test results. The NHTSA has awarded the 2020 Ford Escape an overall five-star rating, while the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick—but only in Titanium grade, where the LED headlights are rated "Acceptable." Standard halogen headlights are rated "Marginal" on other grades. In addition to its NHTSA scores, we believe that the 2020 Ford Escape deserves a high-quality rating, thanks to its standard safety equipment and strong outward visibility.

Ford adds more sensors and lane-centering control to the optional adaptive cruise control, which prevents the boomerang effect of the more basic configuration; the Escape keeps to the middle of its lane with considerably greater control.

A head-up display with a fold-down visor-style screen, similar to those found in Mini and Mazda automobiles, is available for the 2020 Escape. A surround-view camera system is also available as an option.

All trims of the Escape come with standard safety features, including roof, side, and seat-mounted airbags. However, you can find a 2020 model with optional driver-assist features such as:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Forward collision warning system with emergency braking
  • Distracted/Drowsy driver alert
  • Rear crossing traffic alert
  • Blind spot monitors


Ford had to differentiate its product offering in order to make its place in the market from other variants in terms of design and style. The key feature of the Ford Escape is its design. The car needed to stand out amongst other midsize sedans and does that brilliantly.

Performance and Efficiency

Under the hood of the Escape, Ford offers two small-displacement turbocharged engines, both of which are connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. For the time being, the Escape is the only car in its segment to feature a three-cylinder engine. It's a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. FWD is standard, and AWD is available as an option.

Real-World MPG and Fuel Economy

The 2020 Escape uses less gas than many of its competitors. According to the EPA, among non-hybrid Escape vehicles, the turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder version with front-wheel drive will deliver the best fuel economy estimates. It gets 27 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the interstate, and 30 mpg combined; with all-wheel drive, it gets 26 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the motorway, and 28 mpg combined.

During our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, we tested an all-wheel-drive vehicle with the turbo three-cylinder and got an amazing 35 mpg. The bigger turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive is estimated for 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined, but in our testing, we got 32 mpg highway.

If you're looking for the most fuel-efficient Escape, look no farther than the plug-in hybrid version, which gets up to 44 mpg in the city. You can visit the EPA's website for additional information on the Escape's fuel economy.

Cargo and Interior

While the Escape's cabin is attractively designed and spacious for both front- and rear-seat passengers, it contains a number of low-cost plastic panels, such as those on the doors and lower center console.

Standard seat material is highly textured fabric, but higher trim planes get genuine leather in Titanium or considerable faux-leather seats. The Escape has a large cargo area behind the back seat that can take up to seven carry-on luggage, tying its crosstown competition, the Chevrolet Equinox.

The 2020 Ford Escape features significant upgrades, particularly in terms of power and acceleration. The hybrid variation is back and better than ever, giving consumers plenty of alternatives for the 2020 model year.

You should go for the Ford Escape 2017 model (which is also a great option) if you are on a budget and don't want to overspend on the Ford Escape 2020 model. The 2017 Escape comes with strong engine options (avoid the 2.5-L basic engine) and efficient steering and handling.

Overall Thoughts

The 2020 Escape offers a better ride quality than its steering capability when compared with the previous crossover. Both are notable features in a class that includes the Forester and the CR-V as leaders. The 2020 Escape snubs strong impacts even on 19-inch wheels by drowning them with tire rubber and suspension travel.

The improvements in ride quality have softened the car's hot-hatch image, but the steering remains strong in sport mode, and the car remains composed over moderate bumps. It's not a rattler or a thumper anymore.

The Escape hybrid hasn't been available since 2012, but the new model bears little resemblance to its blocky predecessor. Overall, the Ford Escape 2020 offers an enjoyable driving experience and is popular among drivers.

The vehicle offers superior ride quality, better steering and handling, and a complete package to drivers looking for comfort, luxury, and style.

Best Year Ford Escape – 2017 and 2020

The 2017 Ford Escape does not have the same major flaws as the 2014 model. It represented a much-needed mid-cycle facelift for the Escape. New aesthetic elements, a better infotainment system, and some more powerful engine options were added, along with more active and passive safety measures.

The standard 1.5-L turbo engine produces 179 horsepower despite being smaller than its predecessor. The 2.0-liter turbo engine produces 245 horsepower and achieves a combined mileage of 25 miles per gallon. The Ford Sync 3 software operates on the 8-inch infotainment system, which has a user-friendly interface.

If you're looking for something even more modern, the 2020 Ford Escape is the start of the fourth generation. Ford made a number of substantial upgrades for it, including the return of the popular hybrid model, which had been discontinued a few years ago.

The original 1.5-liter turbo was increased to 181 horsepower, while the 2.0-liter turbo was increased to 250 horsepower. The Hybrid achieves a combined mileage of 40 mpg, whereas the 2.0-L achieves a combined mileage of 26 mpg.

The 2020 Escape manages to cram a lot of comfort into a small package (enough for a cross-country trip), and purchasers are pleased with the Hybrid's fuel economy. They're just a smidgeon smaller than the Edge and have a lot of cargo space.

The Ford Escape was first introduced in 2000 as a joint development project with Mazda for the 2001 model year. It had a unibody construction with rack-and-pinion steering and independent suspension and was based on the Ford CD2 platform.

Ford Escape Common Problems

If you're looking for a Ford Escape, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for. These will not only assist you in selecting a better pre-owned vehicle, but they will also inform you of the hazards involved in purchasing a Ford Escape. The following are some of the most prevalent problems with the Ford Escape:

Brake-related issues

There have been multiple reports of brakes making noise, with the 2016 and 2017 versions receiving the most complaints. The brake squeal was so bad in some circumstances that Ford took the initiative and began replacing worn-out parts or the complete system on some models. Still, this was not a one-year problem; it was a problem that spanned several years and should be remembered.

Transmission Issue

This has already been mentioned; however, it is a common problem with Ford Escapes. The car simply ceased working while traveling, with no prior warning or symptoms in extreme circumstances. The expense of fixing that was in the $4000 range, which not everyone could afford.

Best Year Ford Escape

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding