Got curious how the 1.5L is received by the auto journalists in reviews. Came across this encouraging feedback from Car and Driver's review of the 2020 Escape.
The Escape's base powerplant, a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-three-cylinder, produces 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque, which comes on quickly and relatively smoothly and is fully adequate for getting this compact ute up to a moderate pace. Which is a good thing, considering it is the only mill to be had on S and SE trim levels. The run from zero to 60 mph in our all-wheel-drive SE test car takes 7.7 seconds, and the quarter-mile is dispatched in 15.9 seconds at 87 mph—leagues ahead of the 9.2- and 16.9-second measurements we recorded for a previous-generation front-drive Escape with the now-defunct turbo 1.5-liter inline-four. There's a throaty warble to the triple's engine note under load that could only come from an inline-three. Our one complaint is some faint boominess inside the cabin when the cylinder-deactivation system occasionally kicks in and idles one of the cylinders.
Thought that might be helpful for anyone like me that wasn't familiar with the engine before it was posted in the Bronco Sport leaks.