2023 Ford Escape


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When the original Ford Escape launched back in 2001, it leaned into a made-for-the-trail image with rugged styling, available V-6 power, and a sophisticated-for-its-time all-wheel drive system. These days, the Bronco Sport, which shares its platform with the Escape, credibly covers the small off-road SUV market for Ford, leaving the similarly sized Escape to pursue a softer lifestyle. Front-drive is standard and all-wheel drive is still available, but there’s nothing rugged about the rest of the package, which can be had with either of two hybrid powertrains—one a plug-in—as well as either a turbocharged three- or four-cylinder engine. The Escape’s styling is handsome and its cabin is spacious for both people and cargo, though not particularly upscale. Performance is average for the class, but if you’re someone who values the driving part of transporting yourself somewhere you’ll find a lot more to love in lively rivals such as the Mazda CX-50 and the Volkswagen Tiguan.

What’s New for 2023?

Ford has given the Escape an attractive new front end for 2023, complete with a wider grille that features the brand’s ovoid logo. The hood and front bumper have also been massaged and a host of new wheel designs dress up the side view. Gone are the familiar S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims in favor of a new lineup that now includes Active, ST-Line, and Platinum models. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model stands alone as its own trim and all models migrate from Sync 3 to Sync 4 for infotainment needs. The Sync 4 system is capable of over-the-air updates and a larger 13.2-inch infotainment display is optional. All models now come with an 8.0-inch digital gauge display, which can be increased to a larger 12.3-inch unit on select models. The ST-Line provides a sportier look, although it’s entirely cosmetic.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

We’d go with the new ST-Line model as it’s the cheapest way to unlock the more powerful 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Doing so requires the Select package, which also adds all-wheel drive. The ST-Line comes with unique 18- or 19-inch wheels, body-colored lower cladding, a mesh grille, and a rear spoiler. The interior is dressed in all black with red contrast stitching and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. To increase the Escape ST-Line’s digital footprint, opt for the Premium Technology package, which substitutes a 13.2-inch infotainment display and 12.3-inch digital gauge display for the Escape’s standard 8.0-inch units.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Escape offers a wide range of powertrains, starting with a 181-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. To tackle competition in the form of the Honda CR-V hybrid and the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Ford offers two Escape hybrids—one of which is a plug-in—and those powertrains consist of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors which combine to make 210-hp. The base turbo-three gas engine, while somewhat grumbly and unrefined, provides adequate acceleration and managed to motivate an all-wheel-drive Escape SE to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds at our test track; the plug-in hybrid model matched this result. Upgrading to the 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is the compelling choice and was powerful enough to score a 5.7-second result in the same 60-mph test. Both gasoline engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission; the hybrids employ a continuously variable transmission.

Range, Charging, and Battery Life

The plug-in hybrid model carries an 10.7-kWh battery pack, which is good enough for an EPA-estimated 37 miles of electric-only driving. During our highway fuel economy testing, we managed 25 miles of highway driving before the battery ran out of juice and the Escape switched to gasoline power.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

According to the EPA, the turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder model with front-wheel drive offers the highest fuel economy estimates among non-hybrid Escape models. It’s rated for 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined; adding all-wheel drive drops those numbers to 26 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. We tested an all-wheel-drive model with the turbo three-cylinder and managed an impressive 35 mpg during our 75-mph highway fuel economy route. Although the larger turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive is rated for 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined, we ended up with a 32 mpg highway result in our testing. For those seeking the most efficient Escape, look no further than the plug-in hybrid model, which earns EPA fuel economy ratings as high as 44 mpg city; in our testing, the Escape PHEV returned 84 MPGe on our highway fuel economy route. For more information about the Escape’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Escape’s cabin is handsomely styled and spacious for both front- and rear-seat occupants. Although there are some low-rent plastic panels in lower-end trims, the Escape’s ST-Line and Platinum models look and feel more premium. Textured cloth seat upholstery is standard, while the Platinum model receives convincing faux-leather seating surfaces as standard. Behind the Escape’s rear seat is a capacious cargo hold that provides space for up to eight carry-on suitcases, which ties its crosstown rival, the Chevrolet Equinox. We fit 21 cases with the Escape’s rear seats folded, but the Equinox held two more.

Infotainment and Connectivity

While base models come with an 8.0-inch infotainment system, Active trim levels and higher can be optioned with a larger 13.2-inch touchscreen display. Both screens run Ford’s latest Sync 4 infotainment interface and offer Android Auto as well as wireless Apple CarPlay capability. The system accepts over-the-air updates and Ford says the Escape will automatically update itself so the owner doesn’t have to worry about using an outdated version of the software. A 10-speaker B&O Play audio system, in-dash navigation, a pop-up head-up display, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge display are all optional features.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Ford is offering a suite of driver-assistance features, which it calls Co-Pilot360, as standard on every Escape model. For more information about the Escape’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Ford’s standard warranty package is fairly basic, especially compared to rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sportage, both of which offer far longer powertrain coverage. The Escape hybrid and plug-in hybrid will both come with a policy that’s specific to those models’ electrified powertrains and provides up to 100,000 miles worth of protection.

  • Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid component warranty covers 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance
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2020 Ford Escape SE 1.5T AWD


front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback


$30,485 (base price: $29,790)


turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 12-valve inline-3, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection


91 cu in, 1496 cc


181 hp @ 6000 rpm


190 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm


8-speed automatic


Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink

Brakes (F/R): 13.0-in vented disc/11.9-in disc

Tires: Continental ProContact TX, 225/65R-17 102H M+S


Wheelbase: 106.7 in

Length: 180.5 in

Width: 74.1 in

Height: 66.1 in

Passenger volume: 103 cu ft

Cargo volume: 34 cu ft

Curb weight: 3494 lb

Rollout, 1ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 7.7 sec
100 mph: 23.5 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.4 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 15.9 sec @ 87 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 122 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 162 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.84 g



Observed: 26 mpg

75-mph highway driving: 35 mpg

Highway range: 540 miles


Combined/city/highway: 28/26/31 mpg 


2023 Ford Escape PHEV
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base/As Tested: $41,995/$48,320

DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4, 163 hp, 145 lb-ft + 2 AC motors, 90 and 129 hp, 48 and 176 lb-ft (combined output: 210 hp, 10.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; 3.5-kW onboard charger)

Transmission: continuously variable automatic 


Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 13.0-in vented disc/11.9-in disc

Tires: Michelin Primacy A/S
225/60R-18 100H M+S


Wheelbase: 106.7 in

Length: 180.1 in

Width: 74.1 in
Height: 66.1 in
Curb Weight: 4038 lb


60 mph: 7.7 sec

1/4-Mile: 16.0 sec @ 91 mph
100 mph: 19.2 sec

Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.7 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.4 sec

Top Speed (gov ltd): 122 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 176 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.78 g  


75-mph Highway Driving, EV/Hybrid Mode: 84 MPGe/40 mpg
75-mph Highway Range, EV/Hybrid mode: 30/440 mi 


Combined/City/Highway: 40/42/37 mpg

Combined Gasoline + Electricity: 101 MPGe
EV Range: 37 mi 


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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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