The fourth generation of the Ford Escape came out in 2020 – so it’s clearly not time for a complete redesign. But it is time for a mid-cycle refresh, and it’s a doozy for the 2023 Escape.
Here are five things you need to know about the significant updates for this compact SUV.
The biggest change of note will be to the front end of the 2023 Escape. Gone is the cartoonish nose, and instead you see a more rugged and aggressive grille, stronger horizontal lines and a new headlight treatment. Taillights and rear fascia also get an upgrade.
Inside, you have more premium materials and the addition of an available 13.2-inch, horizontal infotainment screen.
Ford shakes up the trim strategy on the 2023 Escape by ditching the S, SE and SEL monikers, and replacing them with “Base” and “Active” trims. The Titanium model also gets a name change and will be called “Platinum.”
All new for 2023 is the sporty ST-Line trim. This is primarily an appearance package, and gets darker trim accents, red interior stitching accents and a flat-bottomed steering will.
With a $995 price walk off of the Active trim, Ford expects this model to account for 50% of the Escape mix in 2023.
The 2023 Escape still offers two gas options and two hybrid options. The base engine will be a 181-horsepower, 1.5-liter EcoBoost, and the up-level engine will be the 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost. For 2023, Ford continues with the hybrid and plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) powertrains, underpinned by the 2.5-liter hybrid engine. Base and Active trims come standard with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost, the ST-Line is available with the 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter EcoBoost as well as the hybrid powertrain. The Platinum is available with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost or hybrid powertrain. The PHEV is a stand-alone trim at the top end of the trim spectrum.
Though the hybrid engine remains the same, it appears the power output has been tweaked as Ford uses the word “targeted” a lot when discussing engine specs. The hybrid delivers a targeted 199 horsepower and an estimated range of 550 miles. The PHEV delivers a targeted 210 horsepower and electric-only range of 37 miles.
In addition to the attractive 13.2-inch screen, there are a number new features the 2023 Escape gets. In the tech realm, it now comes standard with Sync 4 (think wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto), an available 360-camera, Alexa connectivity, blind-spot assist and over-the-air updates.
In the non-tech realm, the 2023 Escape adds a 6-inch slide to the rear seats. This means you can optimize legroom or cargo capacity depending on what you need.
As expected, there is a small price hike with the new model year, but with all the content adds, frankly, I would have expected the price to jump higher. As it stands, 2023 Escape pricing is as follows (destination fees included:
Even though the 2023 Escape competes in the same segment is the Ford Bronco Sport, Ford doesn’t see these two compact SUVs as cannibalizing each other. One is meant for an urban environment, the other is meant for more rugged pursuits. We’ll see how that works out for Ford.
But in terms of the refresh, I think this is a huge upgrade for the Escape, and it looks great. Plus, with the 360 cameras, upgraded safety tech and multitude of powertrains, there’s a lot here for any potential buyer to unpack.
Is the Plug In Hybrid Escape available in 4×4 or AWD?