The Blue Oval has revitalized its compact crossover for the new model year.
Ford has refreshed the popular Escape crossover for the 2023 model year, with a fresh new face, enhanced technology, and sporty ST-Line trim. The front end has been dramatically improved, with inspiration coming from the electric Mustang Mach-E and the all-new S650 Mustang, with slimmer headlight clusters and a bolder, more pronounced radiator grille.
Changes to the rear aren't as drastic, although the taillights have been modernized. The biggest news, however, comes in the form of the new ST-Line ($29,840). These athletic-looking derivatives receive a model-specific black mesh grille, a large rear spoiler, and an exclusive rear skid plate. A monochromatic effect has been chosen for the body accents, giving the car a more dynamic, uncluttered look.
The ST-Line Select ($34,040) receives 18-inch aluminum wheels, painted in Rock Metallic, as standard. Optional 19-inch Ebony items are available at extra cost, but come standard on the ST-Line Elite ($38,460). The plusher model receives an integrated LED light bar that stretches across the top of the grille. It's no full-fat ST model, but the ST-Line does bring some desirability to the nameplate.
"Not every customer wants a rugged and boxy SUV, so we've made the new Escape more energetic, confident, and sleeker. The Escape interior complements the exterior, with a relaxing space that's stylish yet comfortable with easy access to technology for the road or staying connected with friends and family," said Amko Leenarts, director at Ford Design.
The interior of the ST-Line continues the sporting theme, with racy red stitching on the seat trim, center armrest, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and door panels. The biggest change, as seen below, comes in the form of the available 13.2-inch display with cloud-connected SYNC 4 Technology. A host of amenities are available, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Elsewhere, buyers can opt to equip the 2023 Escape with Predictive Speed Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Braking, Evasive Steering Assist, and Connected Built-In Navigation. A wireless charging pad, 36-degree surround view camera, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are also available at extra cost.
Opt for the ST-Line and a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with a targeted 180 horsepower is available in front- or all-wheel drive, while the hybrid derivative is offered in FWD only. Both the ST-Line Select and Elite can be specified with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, with a targeted 250 hp.
If you're not enamored by the striking looks of the ST-Line, Ford does offer a variety of trim levels. The Base ($27,500) and Active ($28,845) models receive the 1.5-liter engine, while the Platinum ($37,465) models may be specified with the more powerful 2.0-liter engine with all-wheel drive. Hybrid powerplants are also available for the plush Platinum derivative.
Regardless of the selected engine, Ford says all 2023 Escape models are targeting an EPA-estimated travel range of 400 miles per tank. The front-wheel-driven hybrid is hoping to add an additional 150 miles to that already impressive figure.
However, if that's still not good enough, there's the 2023 Escape Plug-In Hybrid that starts at $38,500.
Images of the leaked Escape PHEV surfaced some time ago, but now we get to learn more about the mechanical bits. The frugal crossover is powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine that, together with the electric motor, produces a combined total of 210 hp. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT transmission.
The Blue Oval says it is targeting an all-electric range of 37 miles for the '23 Escape Plug-In Hybrid. When using a 110-volt Level 1 charger, the vehicle will fill its battery in 10-11 hours. However, a 240-volt Level 2 charger reduces this to 3.5 hours or so. Four EV modes provide the driver with a host of options. Auto EV lets the Escape decide to use electric power or gas, while EV Now provides all-electric driving.
EV Late allows the driver to switch to the engine, and conserve the electric miles for a later time. EV Charge permits the driver to charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles.
Ford says order books for the 2023 Escape are already open, with the first models arriving at dealerships in early 2023.