The Ford Escape compact crossover got a mid-cycle refresh for the 2023 model year. The changes are mostly cosmetic, with some new looks, especially up front. It gets updated infotainment technology, too, as well as new ST-Line trims that give it a sportier appearance. This is the Escape ST-Line Elite, which is one of the higher trims, with Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and all-wheel drive. Take a look with us in this week’s Autoblog Garage walkaround video to see what’s new in terms of looks and technology, and learn more about the 2023 Escape’s available convenience, technology and powertrain features.
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JOHN SNYDER: I'm John Snyder with "Autoblog," and this is the 2023 Ford Escape. Specifically this is the ST-Line. It's a new appearance package for this mid-cycle refresh. We're going to take a look around the car, show you what it's like, and talk about the tech, the exterior, the interior, and the powertrain, just to give you a sense of what to look for in the new Escape.
So the headlights on here, they're full LED. These are new design. I really like them. We get this running light across the top and these nice little shaped lights here.
This coming across the front here is optional. They call it a coast to coast light bar, and I really like it. Stunning at night, kind of reminds me of the light bar across the grille of the F-150 Lightning.
This grille is a new shape. I think it looks sportier and more aggressive. This mesh design is unique to the ST-Line, along with this sort of black glossy color. Over here we've got LED fog lights. These are not on the base trim. They're on some of the other trims, including the ST-Line. I think they look pretty good and give it a little more visibility.
Coming around to the side, these black wheels are unique to the ST-Line. I think they're pretty cool. I like the spoke design with the chunkier double spokes with the little ones in between. 19-inches, machine faced aluminum, painted in this glossy black. Nothing really special beyond that, just kind of looks cool, especially against this red color. The black with the red I think looks really sporty.
We have these little ST-Line badges on both front fenders, just a little detail, let you know what you're looking at. This on most other trims is black plastic. So it contrasts. I like the body color matching the paint, and especially in this red. It sort of gives it a lower to the ground look, makes it look pretty sporty.
Some of the trims have a black mirror cap. These have this nice body color mirror cap right here. This one is equipped with this keypad, it's kind of hidden in the door, but if you want to lock your keys in the car or give someone else access to your car, you can give them the code to the thing, and you just type it in, and it'll unlock or lock the car.
This window surround is this black rubber instead of a bright chrome that's on some of the other trims, like the Platinum. I like this better personally. Again, it looks sporty, and again, it looks really good with this red.
But that's all that's really new and unique from this side profile. In the back of the Escape, not much has really changed for 2023. This is kind of an early refresh in the cycle. So they didn't have to do a lot, and most of the stuff happened up front and inside the car. So basically same design. The ST-Line gets this bigger roof spoiler up here compared to some of the other trims. LED tail lights here are standard.
Look at this black cladding down here on the ST-Line. Standard across all Escapes, these dual chrome exhausts. Standard on all but the very base Escape is this power liftgate, and it opens up to this 37.5-cubic foot cargo area. Nice flat load flow. Beneath this, this has a donut spare tire, not really more storage underneath.
But what's great about this is if you want a little more space in your cargo area, these rear seats, they can also-- they can fold forward, but they can also slide forward. So in addition to the 60/40 folding, you also get this extra little bit of room if you need it, if you've got some bigger bags or some larger cargo and still want to have people in the back seat.
Not much else back here. There is a 12-volt outlet here, but that is about it. Pretty simple, but spacious storage area in the 2023 Escape.
So that's all that's new and notable on the outside of the Escape. Let's step into the interior and see what's new inside there.
Welcome inside the 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line Elite. So this is the interior. New here is this great big 13-inch display running Ford's SYNC 4 infotainment system. We have a digital display in front of me, in front of the driver. This has the optional heads-up display as part of the technology package.
We've got a wireless phone charger down here. USB, USB-C, and 12-volt right here. Other than that, it's pretty much typical Ford Escape. This ST-Line has this nice, almost carbon fiber trim across the dash. This has these optional leather seats with the perforation. Got lots of red stitching all over, which is really sporty looking. I like the flat bottom steering wheel here that also feels sporty, and again, with the red stitching along the inside.
But other than that, pretty much the same rotary shifter right here, and it just kind of spins. It doesn't stop when you get to the end. So you've got to be watching what you're doing. But yeah, pretty basic dash here. There's not a lot of controls. You've got your sport mode and your defrost, start stop, and some parking functions here, but everything else is pretty much buried in the menu.
If you want to change the temperature, it's at the bottom of the menu here. This has heated seats. No ventilated seats, unfortunately. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless, they're standard across the lineup, which is great. You don't have to plug your phone in to mirror it on the screen, if you prefer to use your phone than the native infotainment system.
This system is pretty good. I've been hit or miss on Ford SYNC. This one I like quite a bit. I still think I prefer to mirror my phone, just because it's what I'm familiar with. Sometimes just having all these things in the menu is not ideal. I would rather have buttons for audio controls, HVAC controls, and things like the seat heater, but other than that, very comfortable.
These are the sport bucket seats, sort of stiff and supportive. I really like this design of this quilting on here, and this comes as part of the tech package along with the head-up display. And this also has the B&O sound system that's also part of the tech package that is optional on the ST Elite.
It's not much to say about the back seat. It sort of just looks like the front seat with another seat in the middle. There is a center armrest that folds down with a couple of cupholders in it. There's another USB-A and USB-C port back there for the rear passengers, and then that's pretty standard fare.
One thing all passengers and occupants can benefit from is this panoramic glass roof, though. And it's not just fixed glass, the glass opens as well. Lets in a little more air, a little more light, and that's as far as it opens.
So this ST Elite comes standard with Ford's 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline four engine. That EcoBoost means it's turbocharged. This makes 250-horsepower, 280-pound feet of torque. This is standard with all-wheel drive, routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Also available on the lower trims is the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which makes 180-horsepower and 199-pound feet of torque. That also comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The ST-Line Elite and some of the other trims can also come with a hybrid option that uses a 2.5-liter motor and with an electric motor makes a total of 192-horsepower. The plug-in hybrid is its own trim. That makes 210-total horsepower with its electric motor, but that also uses the 2.5-liter inline four.
This ST-Line Elite that we have here starts just under $40,000. If you want the hybrid, that's about $1,000 more. The base 2023 Escape starts at about $29,500. The ST-Line, if you like the appearance package and don't need all the extras, that starts at about $31,800 for the 1.5-liter EcoBoost and front-wheel drive. You can get the hybrid for another $3,000 or all-wheel drive for another $2,170.
That's the 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line Elite. Thanks for watching. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe. And tune in next week for what's coming through the "Autoblog" garage.