Even after the current generation Ford Escape hit the market in the 2020 model year, many have complained about the crossover’s understated styling. Three years later, Ford is trying to address those complaints with the redesigned 2023 Escape, which not only brings improved aesthetics, but also a new trim structure.
In place of the outgoing crossover’s S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims, the Escape now uses a more name-based structure to describe the models. The lineup starts with the aptly named Base, followed by the Active and Platinum trims. After that is the new ST-Line, which comes in three flavors: ST-Line, ST-Line Select and ST-Line Elite. Finally, there’s the Plug-In Hybrid, which, as the name suggests, is the PHEV version of the Escape.
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The current Escape’s styling was more in line with Ford’s European hatchbacks like the Fiesta, Focus and Puma, but since we don’t get any of those vehicles here to reinforce that kind of design language, the compact crossover felt a little out of place. in the American line-up, which led to a rather mixed reception. This new facelift looks to bring the Escape more in line with the larger Edge and Explorer, while also setting it apart from the boxy Bronco Sport with which it shares a platform.
It achieves this with an all-new front bumper design that looks similar to the one seen on the uncovered test vehicle in July. In addition to a new bumper with a revised grille and highlight, the Escape also features new headlights, now complemented by a “coast-to-coast” LED light bar on select trims for a more distinctive look. In addition to that, the new ST-Line trim adds a black mesh grille, rear wing, new tailgate plate, body-colored trim, new wheels and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, among other sporty touches.
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Inside, trim options include Ebony on Base trim, while Active, Platinum, and Plug-in Hybrid add Space Gray to the mix. The ST-Line is just ebony, like the Base, but with the addition of red stitching on the seats, steering wheel, door panels, floor mats and center armrest.
Driver assistance systems include intelligent adaptive cruise control, predictive cruise control, cross-traffic braking, reverse braking assist, evasive assistance and a connected built-in navigation system. They are aided by available rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera, which join the 13.2-inch infotainment screen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and wireless charging pad.
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Powertrain options for the 2023 Escape remain largely the same, with the biggest difference being which engines and drivetrains are matched to the respective trims. There’s a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged three-cylinder, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder, a 2.5-liter hybrid four-cylinder, and a 2.5-liter plug-in four-cylinder hybrid. The 1.5 liter models aim for around 180 hp (182 hp / 134 kW), the 2.0 liter models aim for 250 hp (253 hp / 186 kW) and the 2.5 liter hybrid models are predicted to reach around 210 hp (213 hp / 157 kW) ).
Price and availability
Both front- and all-wheel drive are available depending on the Escape trim and options selected. Ford is aiming for an EPA-estimated 400 miles (644 km) regardless of engine option, while the FWD full hybrid model’s goal is more than 550 miles (885 km). Pricing for the new Escape starts at $27,500 before a $1,495 destination charge, and order books are currently open.
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