Uncovered: Ford Escape, Lincoln Corsair Engine Preview

Ford Escape Hybrid
A hybrid Ford Escape variant was sold from 2004 to 2012. (Wikipedia file photo, public domain.)

The Ford Escape has been one of the best-selling small crossover utility vehicles since its 2001 debut. The earliest models shared the same architecture with the Mazda Tribute. There was also a Mercury Milan variant until Ford canceled the brand in 2011.

The Fourth-Generation Ford Escape

Ford rolled out the third and current-generation Escape in 2013, so it is time for a new model to hit the market. Our sources say it will happen sometime this year, with the 2020 Escape arriving as soon as this summer.

The Escape is no longer related to the Mazda Tribute, as the latter was replaced by the CX-5. But there is a Lincoln MKC variant, a high-end take on the small Ford SUV. For 2020, that premium model will also sport a new Lincoln Corsair name as the marque continues to move away from its previous alphanumeric nomenclature.

Several sources (including Car & Driver) are reporting on the powertrain offerings for the new Escape and they’re interesting, to say the least. The information was culled from paperwork Ford submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Mercury Mariner SUV
The Mercury Mariner, Mazda Tribute, and the first Ford Escape models shared a common platform. (Wikipedia file photo, public domain.)

Escape Engine Options

Powering the base Escape model is a turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine. This will be the first three-banger in the segment, but it isn’t the first Ford model powered by three cylinders. Previously, both the Fiesta and Focus offered one.

The new engine will replace the current 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, which will still be available. At the top of the engine lineup is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 237 horsepower (down from the current 245 horsepower). Likely, all three engines will work with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Besides the three gasoline engine choices, Ford will offer two hybrid variants — standard and plug-in versions, which will work with Ford’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This is also the second go-around for an Escape Hybrid. From 2004 to 2012, Ford offered the hybrid, selling approximately 118,000 units over nine model years. Further, Ford was the first manufacturer to provide a compact hybrid SUV, as a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid didn’t arrive until 2016.

Ford Escape EcoBoost engine width=
An EcoBoost (turbo) engine is always a given with any Ford product.

Lincoln Corsair Replaces the MKC

As for the Lincoln Corsair, its base engine is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which is the same as the Escape’s top motor. The Corsair will also offer a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 275 horsepower. That’s the same engine available in the MKC, although horsepower is down by 10 here.

A Corsair hybrid seems likely too, but it may only include the plug-in version and that with all-wheel drive. Moreover, while the Escape’s arrival will come first, the Corsair may arrive sometime in 2020 as a 2021 model. Still, that’s ahead of schedule for Lincoln’s smallest utility vehicle.

Future Ford and Lincoln Vehicles

Ford’s lineup will soon be comprised entirely of utility vehicles, trucks, and vans, with the Mustang the lone car exception. A new Explorer is here and the next-generation Edge is in the works. We’ll see the Bronco SUV sometime in 2020. A replacement for the EcoSport may soon follow.

As for Lincoln, Ford’s luxury brand may continue with its two-sedan lineup, although the MKZ name will likely disappear. Sales of the large Continental are slow, but a refresh seems likely.

As for utility vehicles, Lincoln’s lineup will soon range from the Corsair to the Navigator, with the Nautilus and Aviator occupying the middle spots. And as for the wagon-like MKT, it will soldier on at least for a few more years, but in livery availability only.

Lincoln grille
Bet on it: the all-new Corsair will feature Lincoln’s current grille design scheme.
(Lincoln Motor Company file photo, all rights reserved.)

See AlsoThe 2017 Ford Escape by the Numbers