This looks like a huge improvement.
Following the launch of the highly successful Bronco Sport, it's easy to forget about its platform stablemate, the Ford Escape. The Bronco Sport is better looking, cheaper, and more off-road capable, making it the superior product in our opinion but the Escape still has one advantage; it's available as a hybrid. The 2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid was heavily delayed due to the Covid pandemic but is finally available with a 37-mile driving range and 41 mpg combined mileage estimate. But even with the handy PHEV system, Ford's compact crossover could use some help to compete with rivals like the Toyota RAV4. Luckily, a major facelift is coming.
After being spied testing out on the road, the 2023 Escape PHEV was fully leaked by a Ford dealership website in Chateauguay, Canada. The image says "Non-official pictures" on it, but they look pretty real to us, and dealers don't just use any old renders they find on the internet. It's an odd place for the car to leak, but at least we know the source can be trusted.
The webpage displays two pictures of the facelifted Escape in a banner image, one showing the exterior and the other showing the interior. It looks like Ford will move away from the "lifted Focus" styling in favor of a more individual front end. The face grows considerably, looking less squished than the current model. Overall, it's a subtle but welcome improvement.
Inside, the Escape will see more noticeable upgrades, including a massive touchscreen to replace the current eight-inch unit. We aren't sure how large this new screen is, but it will likely rival what's available in Lincoln models. The dealer site mentions a standard eight-inch SYNC3 screen, but we have to imagine this larger display packs the newer SYNC4 software. Along with the tech upgrade, it appears the facelifted Escape will get a more premium interior with nicely stitched leather.
As for the powertrain, it seems like a carryover. The site mentions an 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, which is the same as what's in the current Escape PHEV. Solution Ford only mentions that the 2023 Escape PHEV is "coming soon," but with other 2023 model year vehicles starting to trickle out on the market, we can't imagine it will be much longer before Ford officially reveals this vehicle. Obviously, the entire Escape lineup will be updated for the new model year, not just the PHEV.
We'll be interested to see if this facelift will improve Escape sales, which have slipped recently and are not far ahead of the Bronco Sport so far in 2022.