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Smaller Ford SUV & Crossovers | A Closer Look

Look at the Compact EcoSport, Redesigned Escape, and Mid-Size Edge

by Amee Reehal

Are you shopping for a smaller Ford utility vehicle but not sure which one fits your lifestyle? Good news is, you’ve got options with the mini 2020 EcoSport, small utility 2020 Escape completely redesigned, and medium-sized 2019 Edge with the sportier 335-hp ST trim.

A fourth, all-new small Ford crossover is coming in 2020 as well, built on the company’s new FWD architecture. Details are slim right now but expect a rugged, adventure-ready little sport utility built for weekend warriors. Possibly sporting a more boxy design compared to the current lineup (we’re just guessing here).

We chat with Gonzalo Contreras, Product Marketing Manager SUV/CUV Canada, to learn more. He overlooks all current and future product pricing and packaging for Escape, Edge, Explorer, and soon to come Bronco.

What do the EcoBoost, Escape, and Edge have in common?

Aside from the sporty, sleeker design, Ford ensured each model is packed with tech. Expect FordPass and FordSync across all three variants, including embedded modems with 4G LTE WiFi that connect up to 10 devices.

As Gonzalo puts it, “We’ve been listening to our customers all these years. We know they’re asking for all-wheel drive, driver assist technology, and other features that will make their lives easier. So we make sure to incorporate features that consumers actually want and value.”

The 2020 Escape and 2019 Edge both get a new rotary gear shifter which creates more space and cargo up front; Co-Pilot 360, a suite of 5 primary safety features, are also standard in these two models.

1. Ford EcoSport: the Mini Utility

The Ford EcoSport falls into a growing segment with new entries every year. Not as hyper-competitive as the Escape’s small utility market, but these mini crossovers could be next. They’re small and affordable but automakers cram them with features while focusing on cargo space which is why they’re so appealing.

Who’s buying the Ford EcoSport?

As people move from cars to crossovers, compact utilities like the EcoSport make sense. From young buyers to inner city types looking for an easy to park vehicle with a higher ride height offering security and confident driving dynamics will gravitate to this one.

EcoSport Key Features

  • Swing gate rear door opposed to the typical hatch style door offers easy access to cargo without having to open the door completely
  • SE trim comes with standard moonroof
  • SE also offers standard heated seats in Canada
  • 1L and 2.0L AWD options; Canadians moving more to the EcoSport AWD
  • Small but no real compromise in features including 8-inch navigation (optional) and good driving dynamics
  • Sufficient space and flexibility despite mini size

Main Competitors

Plenty of contenders in this space, including newcomers like the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Kona. Other competitors include the Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax and Mazda CX-3 that have been on the market for awhile now, and the more premium Buick Encore.

2. Ford Escape: the Small Utility

The Ford EcoSport falls into a growing segment with new entries every year. Not as hyper-competitive as the Escape’s small utility market, but these mini crossovers could be next. They’re small and affordable but automakers cram them with features while focusing on cargo space which is why they’re so appealing.

Who’s buying the Ford Escape?

The 4th-generation Escape is completely new for 2020, competing in the hyper-competitive small crossover field with another 20+ players. So, you’ve definitely got a lot of choices in this segment. But aside from the F-150 pickup, the Ford Escape is the brand’s top-seller and 12th top-selling vehicle in the US alone, so that should tell you something.

2020 Escape Key Features

  • 2020 model is completely redesigned, entering its 4th-generation
  • Hybrid engine is back - Escape is only small utility offering a hybrid and plugin hybrid powertrain option
  • Hybrid models also get 4 EV drive modes
  • New 2.5L Hybrid Engine
  • Escape Titanium (in Canada) and Escape SE Sport (in the US) get hybrid as standard
  • Smaller battery size compared to outgoing 2008 model
  • More overall cabin space: roofline is lower yet interior more spacious
  • New 2nd-row sliding seat
  • Increased legroom in the back
  • Rear Cargo space opens up & More front storage space
  • Lightweight & Aerodynamic and Improved visibility
  • Improved 2.0L EcoBoost Engine and New 1.5L EcoBoost Engine: Now 3-cylinders
  • New 8-speed transmission and Improved suspension
  • New 6-inch Heads-Up Display (HUD)
  • Co-Pilot 360 is standard and FordPass Connect is standard also: WiFi for all
  • Customizable 12.3-inch instrument cluster
  • Sound system by Bang & Olufsen, not Sony anymore

Main Competitors

Again, the Escape is up against some heavy-hitters in this way-too-crowded field of small haulers. Including the Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4 that’s all-new this year, the Nissan Rogue, and Mazda CX-5.

Latest Escape Reviews and News:

3. Ford Edge: the Medium Utility

Produced in Oakville, Ontario, technically the Edge doesn’t fall into the small category, but we know shoppers will cross-shop it with the other two before even considering the mid-size Explorer.

Who’s buying the Ford Edge?

The 5-passenger SUV is primarily for those consumers, as Gonzalo puts it, want to reward themselves and want more car. They could probably get away with an Escape but the Edge’s larger footprint with extra features, more cargo, and overall bigger stance appeals to urbanites and perhaps small families. The Edge’s styling is more robust too when compared to the Escape.

Some Key Features

  • Edge Sport new for 2019: 2.7L EcoBoost looks sharp and adds huge dose of performance with 335-hp and 380 lb.ft of torque
  • Styling is on point:
  • Over 90% of Edge’s are sold in all-wheel drive
  • First in medium SUV segment to offer panoramic moonroof (optional)
  • New rotarary gear shifter opens up cabin space in the centre stack area

Main Competitors

The Edge is up against three main contenders - all of which are completely new and completely different in terms of styling with the Nissan Murano, Chevy Blazer, and Honda Passport.

  • The new Nissan Murano sports a more distinct look with that concept styling; these buyers typically cross-shop with other luxury brands like the Acura RDX.
  • New Chevy Blazer looks great with a bold look. Check out full Blazer review here.
  • Honda Passport comes in either FWD or AWD and is being marketed as an ‘adventure-ready SUV’ though we’re not really buying it.

Latest Edge Reviews and News:

Latest Explorer, Expedition Reviews & News:

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