The Ford Escape has come back from the plastic surgeon with a more chiselled face.
Visually the 2023 Escape is distinguished by a bolder front-end design. Similar to the new Transit Custom, there’s a new eight-sided grille. On higher-spec models the grille is topped by a thin light bar.
There’s a new pair of wider and more sharply defined LED headlights, accompanied by a new, crisper bonnet pressing. The bumper designs feature sharper creases and more definition than before.
At the rear the changes are a little more subtle, with the key difference being the tail-lights that now have a smoked finish.
Inside the most notable upgrade is the availability of much larger 13.2-inch landscape touchscreen that’s hooked up to the latest Sync 4 infotainment system with over-the-air updates.
With the climate buttons now residing at the bottom of the screen, the pod of buttons for the climate control system has been eliminated, and the physical controls for the audio system now live under the main air vents.
Other in-cabin highlights include a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display, wireless smartphone charging, and a rear bench that can slide forward 15cm.
On the safety front there’s adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, autonomous rear cross traffic braking, and evasive steering assistance.
In the US, the Escape has been given a sportier focus — sorry — with three ST-Line variants to give it a clearer identity alongside its platform-mates, the ruggedly-styled Bronco Sport and Maverick ute.
The ST-Line models comes with painted alloy wheels, either 18- or 19-inch, as well as black mesh grilles, a different rear bash plate design, rear spoiler, and colour-coded sills.
Stateside the revised Escape is available with four drivetrain choices, which seem to be carried over with few, if any, changes. Entry-level models come with a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine making 135kW and 258Nm.
The sportiest ST-Line Elite model pairs a 186kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo with all-wheel drive. Both of these turbo engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Also up the food chain are 2.5-litre hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains, both of which use an e-CVT. The former is available in both front- and all-wheel drive, and has a total of 149kW at its disposal.
The plug-in hybrid makes 165kW, and has a larger 11kWh battery pack good for around 60km (EPA) of emissions-free driving, but is front-wheel drive only.
It should be noted Australia-bound Escape models are built in Spain, so there could some styling differences compared to its US counterpart.
An updated version of the European model — sold there as the Kuga — has yet to debut.
“We have no news to share about Escape at this point in time,” said a spokesperson for Ford Australia.
“We’re very happy with our Escape line-up, including the recent introduction of the Escape PHEV as Ford Australia’s first electrified vehicle.”
MORE: Everything Ford Escape