When a model makes the switch to the next generation, in most cases it comes along with a nice boost in fuel efficiency thanks to a variety of upgrades like an improved powertrain and a more optimized gearbox. That’s certainly the case with the 2020 Ford Escape as EPA has now released preliminary information about the compact crossover’s efficiency and the numbers are looking good.
For the time being, EPA only lists the front-wheel-drive model equipped with the three-cylinder gasoline engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The small 1.5-liter turbocharged unit rated at 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet (240 Newton-meters) of torque helps the new crossover return 27 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway for a combined 30 mpg. Compared to the old Escape in its thriftiest guise, the new one scores an extra 4 mpg in the combined cycle and matches the most efficient gasoline-only versions of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 while beating the Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5.
Gallery: 2020 Ford Escape
For even better efficiency, we’ll have to wait for EPA’s fuel numbers of the Escape Hybrid, which will pair a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a combined output of 198 hp sent to the road via a CVT. Ford has also developed a plug-in hybrid variant with a slightly higher 209-hp system output and at least 30 miles (48 kilometers) of electric range thanks to a 14.4-kWh battery replacing the 1.1-kWh pack of the non-plug-in hybrid.
It’ll be interesting to see how the electrified Escape’s fuel economy numbers will stack up against the competition taking into account RAV4 Hybrid returns a solid 40 mpg combined and there’s also the recently announced 2020 CR-V Hybrid. Honda estimates the thrifty version will do 42 mpg in the city, which would be one mpg more than the RAV4 Hybrid’s 41-mpg city rating.
All version of the new Escape will be at Ford dealers in the U.S. this fall, with the exception of the plug-in hybrid due next spring. Europe’s equivalent Kuga is programmed for an early 2020 market launch.