Known as the Kuga in Europe and other markets, the Escape in its fourth iteration went on sale in the fall of 2019 and it's now getting the typical mid-cycle update. This facelift comes along with sharper headlights that are interconnected if you step up to the ST-Line Elite and its "coast-to-coast" LED light bar. The new trim level sits at the top of the range and is joined by the ST-Line Select and ST-Line as part of the updated lineup.
Ford's design boss Amko Leenarts says "not every customer wants a rugged, boxy SUV," hence why the 2023 Escape's appearance remains car-like. Discreet styling tweaks have been made on the outside where the new LED headlights are standard across the range. Standard on the ST-Line Elite and optional on the ST-Line Select are larger 19-inch alloys to give the compact crossover more road presence.
2023 Ford Escape
A more significant change is visible once you step inside the cabin as the 2023 Ford Escape switches to the Blue Oval's SYNC 4 infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as support for OTA updates. It has a generous 13.2-inch diagonal and is complemented by a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster.
Depending on the trim level and the boxes ticked on the options list, the vehicle can be equipped with a plethora of safety tech: Evasive Steering Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (with Stop & Go), Predictive Speed Assist, a 360-degree camera, rear parking sensors, and Cross Traffic Braking.
Available at an additional cost, the Escape's Co-Pilot 360 system now comes bundled with Intersection Assist 2.0 to diminish the risks of a collision with pedestrians when making a turn. The model year change comes along with Blind Spot Assist, which aside from featuring a light embedded in the side mirror, it also vibrates the steering wheel to alert the driver in case of a potential crash.
As for engines, the 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line comes with a 1.5-liter EcoBoost with 180 horsepower sent to the front wheels or to an optional AWD system. Alternatively, you can get the crossover with a full hybrid with FWD for an EPA-estimated range of more than 550 miles. The ST-Line Select and ST-Line Elite get a bigger 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 250 hp and standard AWD, along with a hybrid option.
The lineup also includes the Plug-In Hybrid, which pairs a 2.5-liter gasoline engine running on the Atkinson cycle with an electric motor and a CVT. It's rated at a combined output of 210 hp delivered to the front axle. The Escape PHEV will be able to cover up to 37 miles without sipping any gasoline, according to the EPA. It'll take a while to fully juice up the battery, about 10 to 11 hours using a 110-volt Level 1 charge and three and a half hours with a 240-volt Level 2 charge.
Already available to order, the 2023 Ford Escape will arrive at dealerships early next year. Aside from the trio of newly added ST-Line trim levels and the PHEV, the crossover continues to be sold in Base, Active, and Platinum flavors.