2023 Ford Escape Begs for Bad Punning

We escaped in a Ford. Running for it with the Ford Escape. We made our Ford Escape in a pinch.

There are so many ways to make groan-worthy headlines with this vehicle.

Kidding aside, though, the Ford Escape is a compact crossover-SUV that competes in a pretty heavily-contested market. Best sellers in its segment include the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. Ford makes the Escape competitive by offering a better price point, a nice interior, and several powertrain choices.

The 2023 Ford Escape comes in seven trim options and four powertrain choices. If nothing else, it’s the most customizable vehicle offered in the compact crossover segment.

For the most part, powertrain comes down to which trim model you opt for. Here’s a breakdown:

  • The Base, Active, and ST-Line trims have a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. This produces 180 horsepower to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is optional.
  • Trims above the ST-Line, starting with the ST-Line Select, have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that outputs 250 HP to the same eight-speed auto. AWD is standard with this.
  • Trims from the ST-Line on up, though, can also have a hybrid option with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motors offering 192 horses. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel or all-wheel drive finish that one.
  • Then there’s the Escape PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). It’s similar to the hybrid above, but has larger batteries (14.4 kWh) and can be plugged in to charge. Total system horsepower is 210 and the CVT is front-wheel drive only. All-electric range is EPA-rated at 37 miles per charge.

For our money, we’d recommend either the 2023 Ford Escape Active model, which comes pretty well-equipped with most of the creature comforts that would be expected of a new vehicle at a modest price point today. The jump to add the PHEV drivetrain to this trim is pretty steep, though, so it’s worth doing some math to make sure that it’s a good fit. Fuel savings will be highest for those who rarely leave town.

Our second recommendation, if that PHEV is too much, is to go to the ST-Line with the Hybrid option. This adds a few things to the already well-equipped Active model, like larger wheels, working roof rails, and such. The hybrid model improves highway MPG by 2 points, but jumps city MPG by 15. That’s a big payoff for a pretty small hybrid premium price.

The 2023 Escape is a nice vehicle however you outfit it. The base model engine is a little loud as it attempts to motivate this vehicle, but it’s got enough power to prove its worth. The larger four-cylinder is better, though, and doesn’t sacrifice much fuel economy for the upgrade. The hybrid is our favorite, though, for its value overall.

The interior of the 2023 Ford Escape is nicely laid out and comfortable. Five adults can actually fit inside the Escape, which is something many of its rivals cannot boast. Cargo space is plentiful and the overall dynamic is good. We’re also fans of the new Sync 4 infotainment, which has larger touchscreen options and a better user interface.

Overall, the 2023 Escape is a solid little vehicle. It’s competitive and a great option for those who prefer going through a long catalog of options to personalize for their needs.

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