Escape Plan: Ford Restyles Popular Crossover, Provides New Engines

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Believe it or not, the Ford Escape has been around for over two decades. It is currently in its fourth generation, with the current suppository-like styling first blighting landscapes in 2019. Now, the Blue Oval has gifted it a midcycle refresh, installing new engines and a face that no longer looks like a rolling tribute to the noble lungfish.

And if any of you lot figured out the Mazda reference in that last sentence, give yerself a gold star. Of course, the Japanese twin is long out of the picture, with Ford having been riding solo on this nameplate for ages now. Alert readers know the Bronco Sport tends to share much with the Escape, so it’s a good bet these powertrain changes will eventually migrate to that model at some point in the future.

Speaking of power, the Glass House says there will be a pair of hybrids on offer for Escape in 2023. The plug-in model utilizes a 2.5L gasoline-powered engine as part of the power team, along with a CVT and attendant hybrid gubbins. Expected to make 210 horsepower, the Escape Plug-In should be able to traverse 37 miles on a fully charged battery without needing to light the internal combustion fires. Owners can refill with electrons overnight at home through a standard outlet or top of in about 3.5 hours using a Level 2 charger.

Elsewhere, an ST-Line will offer a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine targeting 180 horsepower with front-wheel or available all-wheel drive, as well as an available hybrid option with front-wheel drive. Base and Active trims get the 1.5L gasser only but a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. ST-Line Select, ST-Line Elite, and Platinum trims offer an available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine targeting 250 hp and standard all-wheel drive plus an available hybrid option. Sounds like the Blue Oval will have plenty of electrified options in this segment starting next year.

Styling is vastly improved over the current model. A revamped front fascia houses a set of narrowed headlamps that bookend a larger grille and are tied together on some trims with a flash of brightwork. Sharpened taillamps live out back, along with a continuation of the ESCAPE billboard on its tailgate. There will be various and sundry trimming differences to set the new ST-Line apart from its Base and Platinum brothers.

Changes are less vast inside but work has been carried out on the Escape’s infotainment system, now available in a 13.2-inch display with cloud-connected services and new driver-assistance tech. The popular sliding rear row remains, allegedly providing (on paper, at least) more rear legroom than the gargantuan Toyota Sequoia. Moving the bench rearwards does eat into available cargo space but this is a good feature for any family whose ranks include future NBA superstars.

The new Escape is assembled at Louisville and is available to order now. Ford expects it will reach dealerships early in 2023.

[Image: Ford]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Oct 26, 2022

    As an owner of a 1st and 2nd generation Escape, considered the 3rd generation till I realized no V6. Same for the 4th. The other V6 in the Ford camp come with turbos which I will avoid like the plague. Only small CUV that I am aware of with non-turbo V6 is Jeep Cherokee. Not the best in quality, but it's what I want.

    Once all the shenanigans with new and used car prices settles down, off to the Jeep dealer I go. 🚙 🚙 🚙 🚙

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 26, 2022

      Unfortunately most of the new vehicles have gone to turbos even the Hondas and now Toyota is starting to go with them as well. I am especially cautious about turbos when they have the turbo 3s in larger vehicles. Sure the turbos add more power to a smaller engine and they might have quicker acceleration but they will not last. If I had a turbo engine I would be strict about the maintenance especially the oil changes and I would be careful not to kick the turbo in too much because of the extra wear. I would rather avoid them and get the hybrid which is a solid drive train. Agree it is better to wait to buy another vehicle at least another year.

  • EBFlex EBFlex on Oct 26, 2022

    " The other V6 in the Ford camp come with turbos which I will avoid like the plague. Only small CUV that I am aware of with non-turbo V6 is Jeep Cherokee. Not the best in quality, but it's what I want."

    Smart to stay far away from the Egobust engines.

    As for the Cherokee with the V6, the quality is fine. I have a relative that has owned three (leased a '15, '18, and a '20) and they have not had any issues. The 2015 was a tad annoying with how many times the transmission needed to be flashed but it never was an issue. The '20 is really nice and will get 30-35MPG on the highway. The full LED lighting is very nice and you get a lot for your money. And they can tow 4500 pounds which is 1k more than the Escape and 500lbs more than the Escape truck.

    • See 6 previous
    • EBFlex EBFlex on Oct 28, 2022

      Of which there isn’t any. Try again