The 2020 Ford Escape is very much a utilitarian product, attempting to appeal to as wide a swath of the buying public as possible.

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Everything might be turning into an SUV, but at the same time, Ford's latest ute is more carlike than ever before.

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Now that the Focus is but a nostalgic glimmer in the automaker's eye, there's space to bring the Escape a little closer to earth and better embody the original idea of what a crossover was supposed to be.

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The only real drawback from its sultrier shape is found in the cargo area, where its 34-to-38-cubic-foot capacity lags behind competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

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The cargo area's net capacity is adjustable because the Escape packs a clever trick -- sliding and reclining rear seats, which not only boosts comfort for rear-seat passengers, but it can ever so slightly expand trunk space in a pinch, too.

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Even with the seat slid forward a bit, there's plenty of space in the second row for kids and adults alike.

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The compact crossover segment is a hot one.

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As comfortably equipped as the Escape is, it has a tall mountain to climb, because it's pitted against other sales champs like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4, all of which bring their own benefits (and drawbacks) to the table.

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The addition of a hybrid trim will keep things interesting, but then again, most of the Escape's competitors have gas-electric variants on offer, too.

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The Escape's well-executed blend of on-road comfort and in-car tech should appeal to a wide cut of the American public, especially those who might bemoan the everything's-an-SUV-now zeitgeist.

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