Base Camp: 2020 Ford Escape S
Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle on sale in Canada and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one that earns a passing grade.
Recently revised, restyled, and repositioned in the marketplace, the 2020 Ford Escape has taken on a softer appearance compared to its upright styling decisions of the past. This is surely in preparation for the square-as-a-box Bronco Sport, a crossover that will share much with the machine you see here.
As always, the base Escape is denoted by the letter S. It slides in under $30,000 but does incorporate a few key features that would likely be reserved for its more expensive brothers if not for economies of scale. Most notably, Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assistance tools is on board, helpful for new drivers or simply those who are trying to navigate the Don Valley Parkway during rush hour.
Under the hood is a 1.5L turbocharged EcoBoost engine making 181hp/190tq and running just fine while swilling regular-grade fuel. The S is front-wheel drive and should return a fuel consumption of roughly 8.0L/100km in mixed driving conditions. Note that should you opt for all-wheel drive, a $1500 proposition, fuel economy is not terribly affected.
Ford has a habit of loudly advertising its base models thanks to some styling cues, and this remains so with the 2020 Escape. The door handles, grille, and side mirrors are all painted black, as are the window and beltline mouldings. At least they dropped the asinine orange fog lamp inserts which screamed ‘el cheapo trim’ that appeared on previous Escapes. Ford doesn’t charge for funky colours like this Velocity Blue but Agate Black will hide this car’s base model origins much better.
Elsewhere, the base S includes helpful get-comfy goodies like a tilt/telescope wheel, an abundance of power points, and six-way manual driver’s seat. Air conditioning is present, as you’d expect at any price point in this segment, as are a one-touch down driver’s window and a raft of cupholders. The liftgate is manual at this price.
What We’d Choose
The volume trim SE populates many dealer lots for a reason. At $2000 more than the S, it brings a ton of great-to-have features such as a better infotainment system and a heated 10-way driver’s seat. Don’t overlook the push button start, either, as digging for yer keys can be an annoyance. The SE also coats the Escape’s trim in colour-keyed paint. We’d spend the extra cash here, selecting a front-drive SE over an all-wheel drive S.