2023 Escape Debuts With New Styling, ST-Line Model, And SYNC 4, Promises More Value Too

The Ford Escape has been the perfect foot soldier for Ford ever since it first appeared in the early 2000s. Strong sales have been a hallmark of the popular CUV, and the 2019 version brought welcome changes to the model for CUV buyers. It’s now time for its first major mid-cycle update, and Ford is dialing in a few pages from Lincoln’s playbook while also adding some polish to the exterior and interior for the 2023 Ford Escape.


Buttoned-Down Styling Helps Escape Embrace Luxury Side Of Life

The 2019 model’s exterior styling had a look that was an interesting mixture of Fiesta traits with pinches of Porsche-inspired DNA on the front end for the bumper and headlights. This time around Ford designers have lightly dialed it back a bit and this new Escape has a more mature look as a result. The front grille is reworked and the headlights are more aggressive looking than before.

Move up to the all-new ST-Line Elite model and the headlights are interconnected by a small LED lightbar dubbed the “coast to coast” bar. Speaking of the ST-Line Elite, it also usurps the Platinum model from its top spot and becomes the new range flagship. The Elite will also be joined by the ST-Line Select and the base ST-Line when it rolls out to dealerships, and buyers looking for something less flashy can still opt for the traditional lineup of Base, Active, and Platinum models. Ford revealed that there are buyers out there that want a more car-like entry and don’t want something that has typical rugged traits and trail-ready features and that played a key role in the Escape maintaining its car-like appearance.


This push towards the mature side of life extends to the interior, where the SYNC 3 system has been swapped out for the all-new SYNC 4 system. This latest version of SYNC adds wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, all housed inside a large 13-inch diagonally mounted screen. This generation of Escape is also capable of Over The Air updates, and it’s the latest Ford model to come with such a feature. It appears that Ford has made revisions to some of the interior materials too, but we get to wait until we have an opportunity to sit inside one to see if that’s indeed the case. The outgoing model was known for having glaringly obvious cheap plastics; revisions in this regard would help somewhat improve things.


Performance Options Carryover Unchanged

Performance for the 2023 Escape family may seem carryover at first glance, but Ford engineers insist that updates have been made to try and squeeze more power and fuel economy out of the lineup. The base model retains its 1.5 liter 180 hp turbocharged three-cylinder with base front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive available. A hybrid version will also continue to be available, but it forces buyers to live with front-wheel drive only. Those willing to make do without all-wheel drive will be rewarded with 550 miles of combined driving range.

As the name implies, the ST-Line Select and the ST-Line Elite get a bigger 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder for more performance, with these models producing 250 hp. All-wheel drive is standard issue to help keep the power in check, while an optional hybrid model allows buyers to add a dash of green-inspired fuel economy to their driving fun. The Plug-in Escape Hybrid will continue to be available for 2023, with this model being equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that comes paired with a small electric motor. This combination is enough to produce 210 hp, and the PHEV is capable of going 37 miles on pure electric power before the four-cylinder comes back on.

That’s a decent amount of range, but it comes at the cost of long charging times, with the PHEV taking over 10 hours to charge when hooked up to a 110-volt outlet. A Level 2 240-volt system improves things slightly, but you’ll still have to wait three and a half hours to fully charge the battery pack.


When Can I Buy One?

Ford confirmed that the 2023 Escape is now available to order, with the first models arriving at dealerships early next year. Ford released official pricing after the Escape was unveiled and confirmed that a base model will now start at $27,500, which is a slight $315 bump over the outgoing base model. The mandatory $1,495 destination fee helps boost the price to $28,995, which is still a value-friendly bargain in the segment. The $30,340 Active adds more standard equipment, with both trims giving drivers the option to switch out the standard front-wheel drive for optional all-wheel drive.

The performance-tinged ST-Line starts at $31,335, with this ST being the only one of the three to make all-wheel drive optional. Choose the ST-Line Select or the ST-Line Elite, and you get all-wheel drive standard. This is also the only performance-focused model in the Escape family so this will be the closest that you’ll see Ford go towards making a hardcore performance model (at least for now.)

Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.

Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.

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