By Cars.com EditorsOctober 25, 2022
About the video
We get our first look at the refreshed 2023 Ford Escape. Watch our video to find out more.
One of the benefits of having a lot of crossovers and SUVs in your showroom is that, well, if you're an automaker, you can differentiate your products really in accordance with what your customers are looking for.
Now, what do I mean by that? Well, if you're looking for something that's compact and rugged and off-roady, well, Ford's got the Bronco Sport. And on the same platform, if you're looking for something that's compact and rugged but can still carry a lot of stuff, well, they've got the Ford Maverick compact pickup. But if you want something that's a bit more on-road-oriented, that's not gonna go traipsing across the fields, that's really more about the urban adventure and being able to park in downtown city streets a lot more easily, well, they've got the Escape. And for 2023, Ford has decided to give the Escapists, the people who are buying the Escape, more of what they're looking for. For 2023, Ford has done away with a lot of the old trim levels and has simplified things a little bit. Gone are things like the SE and the SEL and the SES, and now we have a much more simplified structure. We have the Base and the Active. On the low end of the trim levels, you've got the Platinum, and the new stand-alone plug-in hybrid at the high end of the trim levels, and in the middle, you've got this. This is the brand-new-for-2023 ST-Line, and it's gonna come in three different grades: the regular ST-Line, the ST-Line Select and the St-Line Elite, which is what this one is. Now, how do you recognize an ST-Line? Couple of different ways. First is the monochromatic paint. Everything here is painted body-color. There's no more painted wheel arches that are in gray or black rubber bumpers or things like that, but there is a black mesh grille up front. On this model, the ST-Line Elite, you also get this LED light bar that stretches what they call coast to coast between the two LED headlights, as well. It's meant to give it a more on-road, carlike look, a bit more urban. You're not gonna see things like big fender flares or auxiliary lights popped on top. This thing is really meant to be more about the city on-road adventure. Easier to park downtown. Again, more of what Escape buyers are looking for. This is really what the industry calls a mid-cycle refresh. It's not a complete redesign of the Ford Escape. We didn't really need to do that. They just introduced the last one for the 2020 model year, so it was already pretty much fresh and up to date. But a mid-cycle really helps it keep it fresh and up to date with some styling changes, some interior bits, but the powertrains are all carryover and there are four options to choose from. There's a 181-horsepower, turbocharged three-cylinder engine, there's a 250-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, or you have your choice of two hybrid powertrains: a 199-hp regular hybrid that's actually available on a number of different trim levels, or you can get the new plug-in hybrid, which actually is now its own stand-alone trim level. Ford says that it expects to get about 37 miles of all-electric range before the engine kicks in, and it makes 210 hp. So, you have a number of different options depending on the fuel economy and the performance that you want. That's not any different than it was in 2022, but then it really didn't need to be. Along with the modest changes to the front- and rear-end styling, you also have some updates to the cabin, as well. Now, this one being the ST-Line gets a special treatment for the cabin. You'll notice it only comes in ebony with red stitching, but this red stitching is pretty much everywhere: the seats, the center console, the doors, the steering wheel, as well. There's also a flat-bottom, sporty-looking steering wheel, which actually feels pretty good in your hands. They have changed around the interior a little bit. You'll notice there's a couple of new features. First, there is a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that appears on certain trim levels, and there's an optional 13.2-inch touchscreen that is also optional on certain models and standard on other trims. The biggest change there is that when you get that great big screen, the climate controls are moved up into that screen. They're now touch-sensitive controls for the climate control. That's not necessarily a bad thing for Ford. Ford actually does pretty good touch-sensitive controls, and these are rather high up in the dash, as well, so they're fairly easy to see and use. The benefit for this is that they've moved the start button from the really hard to find area behind the steering wheel to just down there on the lower part of the center stack. So that does improve the usability of this interior. Material quality for the new '23 Escape is about what it was, which is to say around mid-pack. There's some nice textures in here, and especially on things like the plug-in hybrid model, you've got some really good-looking faux wood grain trim. In here, you've got carbon-fiber-look plastic and there's some soft-touch materials, but there's also a lot of hard materials, as well. So it's not gonna be winning any luxury awards, but frankly, it is acceptable for the class that it's in. One characteristic that they have kept from the 2022 to 2023 model-year Escapes is the overall room. There's actually quite a bit of passenger room inside this vehicle both in the front and in the back seat, as well. And part of it is due to this sliding bench seat that can go 6 inches fore and aft, so you can maximize your leg room or you can maximize your cargo room. But there's also plenty of headroom in this thing, as well. Despite the fact that it's got the optional moonroof on here, I can sit back here and my head doesn't touch the headliner, which is kind of extraordinary given that I'm about 6 feet tall and this is a compact crossover. So if you are one of the Escapists that really prefers your adventures to be of the urban variety instead of traipsing off into the wilderness, well, the new '23 Ford Escape really does seem to offer more of what you might be looking for. Prices will start at about $29,000 including destination for a Base model '23 Escape, and they will range up into the low $40,000 level for a fully loaded plug-in hybrid version. Ordering has already started at your local Ford dealer, so if you want one, better call one up. The cars themselves will be arriving in showrooms in the early part of 2023. If you'd like to learn more about the new 2023 Ford Escape, you can look everything up at Cars.com.