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With six different Ford SUVs available today, we know that it can be difficult deciding which model is the right choice for your situation. That is why the Kings Ford team has put together this Best SUV buyers guide to introduce you to the current Ford SUV lineup and give you some more details on one of our favorite options, the 2020 Ford Escape. If you have any questions or want to look at these vehicles in person, just drop by our dealership and speak to our friendly staff. We are always happy to demonstrate the advantages of a Ford product.
To begin with, all Ford SUVs can be divided into two categories. Two-row SUVs with seating for five and three-row SUVs with seating for either seven or eight. The two-row vehicles include the EcoSport, Escape, and Edge, while the three-row SUVs consist of the Flex, Explorer, and Expedition. However, you may not want to rule out a three-row SUV even if you never intend to carry more than five people. Not only will the extra seats provide you with some extra capability in an emergency, but the rear seats can be normally kept folded down for additional cargo space. Further, the larger three-row SUVs also generally offer better performance and more features than their smaller two-row counterparts.
Starting with the least expensive of the Ford SUVs, you will find the EcoSport. This relatively new subcompact is a great choice for people who want the capability of an SUV in a small and efficient package. With 50 cubic feet of cargo space, all-wheel drive, and up to 166 horsepower, it offers far more utility than a similarly-sized and priced compact car. However, if you need something a bit larger, then the Ford Escape provides an unbeatable balance of capability and cost. With over 65 cubic feet of cargo space, up to 250 horsepower, and two different hybrid variants, the Escape is a highly versatile package. Finally, the largest of the two-row SUVs is the Ford Edge. Offering over 73 cubic feet of cargo space, up to 335 horsepower, and a wide array of standard features, the Edge is one of the most capable two-row SUVs currently on the market.
While the three Ford two-row SUVs are all fairly similar outside of their size and power, that is not the case with Ford’s three-row SUVs. The 2019 Ford Flex is a basic front-wheel drive crossover, and with over 83 cubic feet of cargo space and up to 365 horsepower, it is a rather straightforward step up from the two-row Ford Edge. The Flex model will more than likely be found used rather than new as it's lastest model was created for the 2019 model year. However, while the larger Ford Explorer does offer a bit more space and power at 87 cubic feet and up to 400 horsepower, it primarily stands out for its rear-wheel drive and higher tow rating. The Explorer also has an available hybrid variant that offers excellent fuel economy.
Finally, the top of the line Ford Expedition is a traditional body on frame SUV with superior off-road performance. In its standard body style, the Expedition offers over 104 cubic feet of cargo space, and in its stretched MAX versions that increases to an incredible 121 cubic feet. In addition, both variants are equipped with a 375 horsepower engine.
While there is no single best SUV for all drivers, if you are unsure which Ford SUV is right for you, then it is hard to go wrong with a Ford Escape. While it may not be the best at any one thing, the Escape is a well-rounded and affordable vehicle that can succeed at almost any task. Particularly valuable is its 40 inches of second-row legroom, ensuring that even full-grown adults can ride comfortably in the back seats. Further, the Escape still provides over 37 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place, so you will have plenty of room for suitcases or vacation gear when transporting family and friends. While these features might not seem especially noteworthy, a surprising number of vehicles in this class cannot meet these simple criteria.
However, choosing the Ford Escape does not mean that you will not have to make any decisions because this SUV is offered with four different engines as well as the choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The base engine is a 1.5L turbo with 181 horsepower. While nothing special, it is more than capable of normal driving and provides an excellent combined fuel economy of 30 MPG. If you want a bit more power for regular highway driving or to pull a trailer, then upgrading to the 2.0L turbo will give you 250 horsepower and a 3,500 pound tow rating. However, this choice will reduce combined fuel economy to 26 MPG, and it is recommended to use premium gas in this engine for top performance. Finally, the Escape offers two different hybrid systems. Both of these combine a 2.5L gasoline engine with an electric motor and batteries for a total of 200 horsepower. The combined fuel economy is 41 MPG, and the plug-in hybrid version can travel over 30 miles on battery power alone.
The most common trim level is the Escape SE. Unlike the base S trim, the SE comes standard with comforts such as a ten-way power adjustable driver’s seat, automatic temperature control, keyless entry with push button start, and the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system. The SE also opens up options such as a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and adaptive cruise control. The SEL trim offers nicer interior materials as well as numerous interior upgrades such as a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, and four one-touch power windows. However, for maximum luxury, the top Titanium trim is the way to go with major upgrades, including a 12.3” digital instrument cluster with a head-up display, a Bang & Olufsen ten-speaker premium sound system, automatic parking assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, and power passenger’s seat.
Searching for the best compact SUV? While there may be plenty of models out there, both the 2020 Ford Escape and the 2020 Chevy Equinox deliver a pretty substantial driving experience, no matter what your particular automotive needs are. That said, between these two models, which is the best SUV to buy?
On the one hand, you have the 2020 Ford Escape, a compact SUV with five different trim options, which include the S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium. With a starting MSRP of $24,885, affordability is a huge benefit when considering this model. Across this diverse range of trims, you’ll get plenty of powertrain options to choose from; however, the base model utilizes a 181 horsepower 1.5-liter Ti-VCT engine. With an 8-speed automatic transmission and a rear-wheel drivetrain, this entry-level powertrain manages to put out 190 pound-feet worth of torque. On top of that, you can equip the Ford Escape with all-wheel drive, which does a significant job at boosting handling and overall performance.
Although, this isn’t the only powertrain available, as, beyond the hybrid options, you’ll also get the chance to drive a Ford Escape powered by a 250 horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. This powertrain still uses the same 8-speed automatic transmission to deliver on a promise of 280 lb-ft of torque. And no matter which model you become the pilot of, you can expect to find a drive mode selector that allows you to adjust your powertrain for Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Snow/Sand driving.
How does the 2020 Chevy Equinox compare? Well, this compact SUV has a slightly cheaper entry MSRP of $23,800, but the cost difference isn’t dramatic. Trim options are varied enough, providing drivers with the choice between four configurations, which include the L, LS, LT, and Premier. And unfortunately, there isn’t a hybrid model found anywhere within the Chevy Equinox lineup.
The powertrains of the Chevy Equinox come in a pair of turbocharged four-cylinders. The base model is a 1.5-liter turbo-4 that pumps out 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. This initial powertrain uses a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive to make for a nimble enough driving experience. In the upgraded engine, things don’t improve a whole lot, as you’ll get a 2.0-liter turbo-4 responsible for 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 9-speed automatic transmission isn’t half bad, though, and the option of all-wheel drive does expand on the Chevy Equinox’s overall capability.
There are a lot of models out there that can be compared to the Ford Escape, as the compact SUV market is quite crowded with competition. However, one model that rises above the rest is the 2020 Honda CR-V. The 2020 Ford Escape and the 2020 Honda CR-V are both worthy SUVs; however, we’ll take things a step further to see which model might be the best SUV for you.
As previously mentioned, the 2020 Ford Escape offers five unique trim options, including the S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium. Beyond this basic spread, you’ll also get to choose from hybrid variants that significantly boost gas mileage. Speaking of gas mileage, the Ford Escape’s range is rather remarkable. While base models earn 27 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway, the hybrid variants earn as much as 41 MPG combined. And if you want to still opt for the performance rated turbo-4 powertrain, you can still enjoy 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. As for hybrid models, drivers can expect up to 44 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway.
Interior amenities in the Ford Escape are rather diverse. While base models get a 4.2-inch LCD screen with Bluetooth connectivity, higher-end models offer a dazzling 12.3-inch instrument cluster as well as an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. And in the safety department, the Ford Escape is well versed, as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors are all standard.
The 2020 Honda CR-V, by comparison, is a little more expensive, starting out at $25,050 for base models. You do get to enjoy nearly the same number of trim options, though, including the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. Hybrid variants of the Honda CR-V exist as well, and they provide a boon to fuel economy, earning as much as 38 MPG combined. However, base models that utilize a 1.5-liter turbo engine earn 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway. And when equipped with all-wheel drive, fuel economy takes a further dip earning 27 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. For a hybrid CR-V, drivers can expect up to 40 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway; this is a significant difference from the Ford Escape hybrid.
Like the interior of the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V starts small, offering a 5-inch non-touch display with Bluetooth connectivity. However, the step-up is only a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That said, in the safety department, the Honda CR-V comes similarly equipped with even base models getting active safety features.
Many of our customers ask us how the 2020 Ford Escape and the 2020 Jeep Cherokee compare against one another. These are two similarly sized compact SUVs, with very different personalities and features. That said, in many ways, they are quite comparable, especially when it comes to fuel economy, safety, and interior features.
Of the Ford Escape's five available trim levels, there are also hybrid options. When it comes to fuel economy, the Ford Escape has varying levels. Equipped with the 1.5L engine, the Escape earns an EPA-rated 30 MPG combined. Meanwhile, the upgraded model, with its 1.5L engine, earns 26 MPG combined. And if fuel economy is your focus, hybrid options manage to provide up to 41 MPG.
Active safety features are a standard amenity in the Ford Escape, with base models getting automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beams, and even blind-spot monitors. Meanwhile, base model infotainment features include a 4.2-inch LCD screen that provides Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports, all of which can be upgraded in higher trims.
Meanwhile, the Jeep Cherokee has a moderately steep MSRP of $26,085. Trim levels are just as varied in the Jeep Cherokee, with drivers being able to pick between the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Trailhawk. However, across trims, you won’t find a hybrid drivetrain anywhere. Fuel economy is another sore spot for the Jeep Cherokee, as the standard 2.4L engine only earns 25 MPG combined. These ratings do improve in the Jeeps 2.0L engine option, bumping the combined gas mileage to 26 MPG, but that’s as high as they get.
Safety features are also far and few between in the Jeep Cherokee, as you’ll need to pay extra to enjoy things like forward-collision and lane-departure warnings. However, the entry-level 7.0-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a welcomed improvement.
In the debate over which full-size SUV has the most to offer, one can argue that the rugged and good looking 2020 Ford Expedition should bring home the award for best SUV, because of its universal appeal and the strength of the iconic Ford brand. The Expedition is the largest SUV in Ford’s lineup and gives buyers all the features and characteristics they expect at this size and price range. The Expedition also crushes its competition in several key areas, including fuel economy, cargo space, towing capacity, and interior passenger space.
Beginning with ample passenger and cargo space, the Expedition seats up to 8 passengers and provides 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space with a full load of passengers and an impressive 104.6 cubic feet of cargo space when it’s just the driver and front seat passengers. The Ford Expedition offers a best-in-class towing capacity of 9,300 lbs when it's properly equipped, leaving nothing to be desired on the utility wish list. Add to that Ford’s trailer-supporting safety technology, and you’ll feel confident hauling your boat or RV.
Several trim lines and packages are available, including the popular upper-end King Ranch, to help buyers customize their Expedition with all the luxury, convenience, safety, and tech features they want and need. 2020 trims include the XLT, which starts at $52,810; the XLT MAX, which comes in at $55,835; the Limited, at $63,345; the Limited MAX, with an MSRP of $66,375; the King Ranch, starting at $72,895, the King Ranch MAX, which is priced at $75,590; the Platinum, at $73,935; and the Platinum MAX which is priced the highest at $76,965.
The MAX series of Expeditions differ from their less expensive counterparts in that they are nearly a foot longer. Passenger volume is the same, but cargo capacity increases by nearly 80% behind the third row of seats. Perfect for a busy family with a ton of gear or the weekend warriors that need to haul their project supplies from the big box store, but be prepared to pay a premium for the extra room.
Ford’s impressive Co-Pilot360 driver assist technology comes standard on all Expeditions. Nothing helps drivers navigate the roads in a large SUV like the latest tech, and you’ll find it with Co-Pilot360 in spades. Including blind spot monitoring with trailer coverage, cross-traffic monitoring, 360-degree camera, auto high-beam headlights, hill descent control, lane-keeping system, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, a rearview camera, trailer sway control, and a navigation system. Co-Pilot360 is your partner on the road for safer traveling.
When comparing the 2020 Ford Expedition to the 2020 Chevy Tahoe, it’s easy to see that the Expedition edges out over the Tahoe in a few key areas. First, the Expedition leads in towing capacity at 9,300 lbs. The Tahoe offers a max towing capacity of 8,600-lbs. Also, the Expedition offers customers a Pro Trailer Backup Assist system, a toggle knob that allows drivers to steer a trailer in reverse. This feature is unique to the Ford Expedition and is not offered on the Tahoe.
The Expedition leads in passenger comfort too, with more interior legroom in the second and third-row of seats than the Tahoe, and with an overall 5-star crash test rating, the Expedition shines against the Tahoe, which earned a 4-star rating. The difference may seem small, but when it comes to safety, it’s important to take every advantage you can get.
Interestingly, the 2020 Chevy Tahoe is in its final model year before a big redesign and hasn’t been redesigned since 2015. This is important because the older the design is in its lifecycle, the more it is likely lacking in the most recent technological and engineering advances. In contrast, the 2020 Expedition is only in its second year since its last refresh.
Because the Expedition is offered in two different wheelbase lengths, the standard and the MAX, it boasts more cargo capacity than the Tahoe, which is only available in one standard wheelbase. Even in its standard size, the Expedition is bigger than the Tahoe––6-inches longer, in fact––and when buying in this category, size is everything.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Expedition over the Tahoe is the standard Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assist and safety technology. All of the safety features that make driving a big vehicle easier are included, like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and forward-collision warning, to name a few. The Tahoe offers some of these same features, but they’re optional and will cost you extra.
If you’re comparing the 2020 Ford Expedition to the 2020 Nissan Armada, the differences are significant. Starting with towing capacity, the Expedition beats the Armada on several fronts. The Armada’s max towing capacity of 8,500 lbs falls far short of the Expedition’s 9,300 lbs. Cargo volume is 20.9 cubic feet in the Expedition and 16.5 cubic feet in the Armada, which is something to think about if you’re hauling kids and gear around town.
Fuel economy is superior with the Expedition too, at 17 MPG city/23 MPG highway vs 14 MPG city/19 MPG highway. While the Armada wins on base horsepower at 390 to the Expeditions 375, the Expedition overcomes this with a beefier torque. Torque is 470 lb-ft on the Expedition, the clear winner when compared with the Armada’s torque rating, which is 394 lb-ft. In addition, the Expedition Platinum offers 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, easily topping any model in the Armada lineup.
There’s a reason CarGurus' named the 2020 Ford Expedition the #1 Best Full-Size SUV and put the 2020 Nissan Armada behind it at #2 on the list. First of all, the Expedition received a 5-star rating from the NHTSA for front crash overall, while the Armada received only 3 stars. On the front crash driver statistic, again, the Expedition scores a perfect 5 stars while the Armada receives only 2 stars. This is a sobering difference.
The 2020 Toyota Sequoia, when compared with the Expedition, is quite different in a few notable areas. Once again, torque ratings shine on the Expedition, with more torque than the Sequoia. The gap is wider on the Expedition Platinum, which produces 480 lb-ft of torque versus the 401 lb-ft produced by the Sequoia’s 5.7-liter V8 motor.
Despite its more powerful torque rating, the Expedition crushes the Sequoia in the fuel economy category, offering 17 MPG city/23 MPG highway to the Sequoia’s 13 MPG city/17 MPG highway rating. The Expedition offers a standard 10-speed transmission, while the Sequoia offers only a 6-speed transmission. Cargo volume is another important win for the Expedition. Behind the third seat, the Expedition and the Sequoia offer 19.3 cu.ft. and 18.9 cu.ft., respectively.
The Expedition crushes the Sequoia in interior space, with 42-inches of headroom in the front row vs 34.8 inches, and in the dreaded third row the Expedition comes through with 40.9 inches of legroom vs the Sequoia which falls short at 35.3 inches, much to the dismay of the passengers stuck in the way back. The Expedition accomplishes this while having a wheelbase that’s only .5 inches bigger than the Sequoia. The Expedition wins in cargo volume too, with 19.3 cu.ft. behind the third-row seats. The Sequoia offers only 18.9 cu.ft.
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