DETROIT — The next generation of Ford Motor Co.'s Escape crossover emerged last week with little camouflage while testing in Allen Park, Mich., near the company's headquarters.
The crossover, which trails only Ford's venerable F-series pickup in U.S. sales, has been redesigned for the 2020 model year with more refined styling to help set it apart from the rugged off-road Bronco and a smaller off-road crossover — dubbed the baby Bronco — due next year.
The vehicle has rounder headlights and sports a new mesh grille design that Ford has been rolling out on other new vehicles. It appears to have a Ford Blue Oval logo closer to the tip of the nose as opposed to the grille on the outgoing model.
The rear hatch appears to have a larger opening and the taillights have more narrow styling than the current version.
It's unclear what powertrain options the next Escape will feature but it's expected to include a plug-in hybrid variant.
Dealers have seen the next-generation Escape on multiple occasions, most recently at an October meeting in Las Vegas. Ford is expected to reveal it to the public in the coming months and it's scheduled to go on sale in the second half of 2019.
U.S. sales of the Escape fell roughly 12 percent to 272,228 in 2018, likely due to the impending redesign, but it still represents Ford's second-most popular U.S. nameplate.
It trailed the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V in a compact crossover segment that grew 8.6 percent in 2018.