Two strong sellers for the Blue Oval, the Escape and Edge often make up a significant portion of dealership volume. For this model year, the smaller Escape has lost some of its chunky and squared-off charm in favour of more rounded bodywork. After receiving a boatload of changes last year, Edge soldiers on with no powertrain differences but several changes to its colour palette and option packages.
Both are two-row, five-passenger vehicles offering a choice of powertrains and optional all-wheel drive. Read on to see which one best fits your needs.
Escape: For 2020, there is no shortage of powertrain options in the freshly-hewn Escape. The ute makes an opening bid with its 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder making 180 hp and available with front- or all-wheel drive. A boosted 2.0-litre mill makes a healthy 250 ponies and sends power to all four wheels. Hybrid models deploy a 2.5-litre inline-four that, paired with electric propulsion, makes about 200 horsepower. The plug-in hybrid model makes slightly more juice thanks to a more robust pack of electrons.
Edge: For 2020, all Edge models—except the sporty ST—are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-banger making 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard on non-STs, with all-wheel drive showing up as an option. The zooty ST comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment and earns a 2.7-litre turbocharged V6, good for 335 ponies and 380 units of twist. Every Edge gets an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Bottom Line: In the Escape, Ford’s 250hp turbo four is a fine choice but is blunted by Edge’s extra weight. If it’s in the budget, pop for the ST.
Escape: As of this writing, the EPA has released mileage estimates for but a single version of the 2020 Escape. The front-wheel-drive 1.5-litre powertrain is estimated to get 33 mpg in highway driving and 27 mpg on a city cycle. Combined, that should make for an even 30 mpg. Adding all-wheel drive will likely ding these numbers by about 1 mpg. Hybrid versions will likely post numbers well into the 30s.
Edge: Ford reckons front-wheel-drive versions of this trucklet should return 21 mpg around town and 29 mpg on the highway. Combined, expect to see somewhere in the neighbourhood of 24 mpg. Adding all-wheel drive drops each of these numbers by a single mpg, save for the city rating which remains the same. It should be noted that the power numbers listed at the beginning of this post are achieved with expensive 93 octane fuel. Oddly, all-wheel versions of the Edge have a slightly larger fuel tank despite the presence of more powertrain gear.
Bottom Line: A lighter weight and smaller footprint make Escape the fuel economy champ here.
Escape: This year, the Escape comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360 and makes available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist features such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centring. An available 8.0-inch touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, dragging Escape firmly into the modern era of infotainment. CarPlay is onboard, along with neato features like Ford+Alexa and Waze navigation.
Edge: Every two-row Edge is equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360, a network of cameras and sensors which can warn of impending doom and attempt to keep drivers from making roadkill out of roadside nature. Evasive steering assist is available on SEL and standard on the top two trims; it’s the same story with adaptive cruise control, which features stop-and-go and lane centring.
Bottom Line: As a newer clean-sheet design, Escape holds an edge over Edge in the tech department. The former’s new driver display and infotainment setup will likely migrate to Edge in time but, for now, Escape take the W.
Escape: First-row headroom is equal across the board at a too-perfect 40 inches even. This barely changes for backseat passengers who enjoy 39.3 inches for their noggins. Legroom is listed at 42.4 inches in front and 40.7 inches rear when the seats are moved to their furthest-most positions.
Edge: Absent the third row, Edge can seat five people. Front row chairs offer 42.6 inches of legroom and 40.2 inches of headroom. Adding a sunroof shaves a shocking 2.5 inches from that latter figure, so make sure to try before you buy. In a twist, the headroom actually increases by a couple of tenths in the second row while offering 40.6 inches of space for legs. The total passenger volume is 113.9 cubic feet.
Bottom Line: These two vastly different machines somehow offer similar leg- and headroom numbers despite putting down dissimilar footprints. Edge’s extra width pays dividends, however, so all hands may be more comfortable in the bigger car despite its on-paper dimensions.
Escape: New for 2020, the Escape continues its march toward the softer side of crossover and SUV styling, trading some its creases for rounded edges. It certainly looks nothing like the original Escapes with their boxy and rigged profiles. Filling that end of the spectrum will apparently be left for the upcoming so-called Baby Bronco.
Edge: This nameplate has been around for over ten years now and, throughout that tenure, has always tended to look like a rounded-off dinner roll. Model year 2020 is no different, with Edge continuing to be one of the best-looking vehicles in its segment. Snazzy ST version earns special trim and bodywork to let the other parents know you’re wearing Piloti shoes while dropping the kids off at soccer.
Bottom Line: Edge has an advantage here, given the too-soft restyle of Escape that will appeal to some—but not all—buyers.
Escape: Thanks to adjustable seating, Ford chooses to list a pair of dimensions for the rear cargo area in its 2020 Escape. The so-called “optimized” cargo volume measures 33.5 cubes while sliding all chairs as far forward as possible adds an extra four cubes. Hybrid models suffer slightly in the cargo department thanks to their extra propulsion gear, with the cargo area measuring 30.7 and 34.4 cubic feet in “optimized” and maximum measures, respectively.
Edge: Not having to house the third row of passengers works to Edge’s advantage, as a generous 39.2 cubic feet of space exists for cargo behind the second-row bench. Flipping that seat flat opens up a cavernous 73.4 cubic feet of room. Liftover height, the vertical measurement from the ground to a car’s cargo floor, is about thirty inches.
Bottom Line: There’s no arguing physics and geometry, as the Edge can clearly hold more cargo simply because it’s a larger box.
Escape: Fresh off a redesign, it has a starting MSRP of $26,080 (including $1,195 in destination). All-wheel drive is a $1500 option at this level. It must be noted that Ford should be commended for offering AWD on the base trim, something not done by all manufacturers. Hybrid versions begin their pricing at a reasonable $29,420. High zoot gas-powered Titanium models knock on the door of $40,000 once all options are selected
Edge: In the US, Edge starts at $32,295 for an entry-level SE model that no one buys. Volume-leader SEL trim is $35,550 while that hi-po ST you really want is a heady $44,460. Adding all-wheel drive tack $1995 to the bill and there are plenty of convenience packages to pad the total as well. In a fit of corporate responsibility, Ford doesn’t limit the high-tech safety kit like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go braking to just top models; it is available as a stand-alone option for $795.
Bottom Line: Restraint should be exercised with the options list on both Edge and Escape, as wanton checking of feature boxes will drive the price of either vehicle far beyond its real-world value. Sticking to a well-equipped mid-grade trim is the smart play.
Verdict: Ford Escape vs Ford Edge
Blue Oval fans will find a lot to like in both these machines, as they are infused with easily recognizable Ford DNA throughout. They are smartly packaged two-row trucklets and have the ability to carry people or cargo with ease. Selecting the all-wheel-drive will likely help with a residual value at trade-in time. If Ford’s latest and greatest tech is on your list, sample the Escape. Those with extra cargo or passenger demands should check out the Edge.