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.
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