Ford Authority

Ford Escape Refresh Should Incorporate Kuga Styling Elements: Opinion

Back in September, Ford Authority reported that the Ford Escape would be receiving a mid-cycle refresh in 2023, followed by a redesign in 2025. In the months since, Ford Authority spies have spotted a number of 2023 Ford Escape prototypes, each featuring different types of trim. With sales of the current model – which launched for the 2020 model year – closing out that year dismally and continuing to disappoint last year, there’s no question that the upcoming Ford Escape refresh needs to try something a bit different, and it appears that it will, with edgier, more modern styling. However, we think that Ford should take things a step further.

More specifically, the Ford Escape refresh should incorporate more of the Kuga’s styling elements, including its body color-painted cladding, which would replace the unpainted black plastic cladding present on the current-gen Escape. Generally, black plastic cladding is used on vehicles that are more off-road focused, which the Escape is not. Additionally, the Ford Bronco Sport already holds that spot in FoMoCo’s lineup as a more rugged compact crossover with real off-road capability.

Ford Kuga

This sort of look was recently previewed by an artist (seen below) that incorporated Ford Mustang Mach-E-inspired styling into some renderings of the next-generation Escape/Kuga, which has body-color cladding to go along with sharper LED headlights, an edgier oval-shaped front grille, and large front air vents. Those simple updates give the rather soft crossover more of a grown-up look and one that presents much better than the current model, at least in our humble opinion.

Next-Generation Escape/Kuga Rendering

Giving the upcoming Ford Escape refresh more of a refined look would go a long way to differentiate it in the red-hot and ultra-crowded compact crossover segment, where it has recently struggled to gain traction. However, we’d also like to know what our readers think, so be sure and cast your vote in the poll below!

We’ll have more on the Escape soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Escape news and continuous Ford news coverage.

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Joe

    The problem with the Escape is just not they exterior styling, but the cheap hard plastics used in the interior.

    1. kevin rea

      am i the only one who likes the fusion like front end of 2020 escape? i have a 2020 titanium hybrid and like the catlike look similar to my previous Fusion

    2. kevin rea

      i mean “car like”

    3. Ron Simasek

      Your right, I always thought that much cladding cheapened the look of the otherwise nice looking vehicle.

  2. Kevin

    I own a 2020 Ford Escape Titanium hybrid. I love this car, but even I know its ugly as heck in its current form. The interior is not bad, but not outstanding either. The car could use a new front end and upgraded interior. In spite of that, it drives fantastically and I get over 40 mpg.

  3. Lynne Mobley

    I have escape that has this problem.They have it at the dealers now they said they to put a new engine in it. It only has 8800 miles on it and they said the engine has some of leak in it so now I have to go three weeks with no car

  4. Mike

    Copy the form styling, and interior from Honda and Toyota, by far the market leaders. The best Compact SUVS in the USA are a) Boxier, 2) larger, 3) not car like. Very different market than in Europe and China where the Kuga performs well.

    In the USA, Escape is now in eighth place in sales, and looks nothing like the top competitors. But the arrogance at Ford continues. Copying anything from the Japanese is forbidden, even though Farley worked for Toyota for seventeen years.

  5. CWJ

    I like the previous version of styling of Escape…than this one….the front end…has never to me looked good….and the whole vechicle looks more like a tall car with a hatchback rather than a Suv…they really need to redo it…also the 3 cylinder engine….not great either..

    1. AWB

      The Escape is SUPPOSED to look like a tall hatchback or fairly carlike. Why?….because Ford has the Bronco Sport on the same chassis to address the SUV market. Also, while I don’t know about the Escape 3-cylinder, the one I have in my Fiesta (with manual trans) is an amazing little engine. Lots of torque.

  6. Richard Kulbaba

    I leased a 2017 and then a 2019 Ford Escape. You need to go back to the 2017 body design and the 1.5l turbo engine. the 2020 model body and interior design to terrible. My 2019 escape lease runs out in November 2022. I have had my 2019 escape back to the dealer for all oil changes and told them the engine is making a noise at idle. they said the noise is ford knows about but will not fix it. I was going to purchase this escape at the end of the lease. I took this escape to my local mechanic and he said it seems to be the timing chain tensioning pulley. I will not be leasing a ford product. Looking at a Chevy equinox to lease in 2022.

  7. Elaine La Placa-Heston

    My 2016 for engine blew on January 3rd 2022. A new engine was going to be $9000. I opted for a used engine my mechanic couldn’t find one he finally found one in Texas Which took two weeks to get shipped to me in California the car was down for six weeks after over $1000 in rental fees to rent a car and $5400 in mechanic fees I have my car back the actual repair took three days I had 127,000 miles on the car the engine should not have blown. Last summer The turbo boost went there was another three weeks rental cars and three grand also and rat got into the air conditioning motor so I had to get a new air conditioning motor and the service professional at the dealership didn’t tell me that that should be covered under your comprehensive insurance I found out from my other mechanic that put the turbo boost in and I was able to recuperate some of my cost on the air-conditioning but this car for 2016 with 1000 270,000 miles has cost me over 10 grand in repairs this past year which I find ridiculous I take care of my car Maintenance oil changes. Ford needs to fix more than just the aesthetics on the Ford escape they need to fix the engine and the turbo boost and the air conditioning that rats can get into.

  8. Andrew Henthorne

    I have a 2010 V6 2WD Escape which I bought new that replaced my 2001 Escape V6 AWD which I also bought brand new. The 2001 had 110,000 miles on it and was just 10 years old when my son was driving home in a torrential downpour, through a “puddle of water” which was actually, unbeknownst to him, a 4-foot deep 20-foot wide crater full of water that swallowed it up past the wheel wells. Can you say hydrolocked? Well needless to say it was a total loss. It had been TOTALLY TROUBLE FREE, even after a couple of accidents, and ran like a Swiss watch. Best car I ever owned and I was sad to see it go. So I bought the 2010 w/o 4WD because I never had to use the 4×4 in the previous Escape and I never got stuck. Period! Even living in Rhode Island! I really liked the 2010’s new upgrades, etc. as well as the fact that it ran flawlessly right from the get go, no complaints AT ALL. ANOTHER best car I’ve ever owned! Well it’s now at 175,000 miles and still looks and runs like the day it was delivered to me. TOTALLY TROUBLE-FREE driving, gotta LOVE THAT! Great fuel economy too! Well during its last State Inspection a few things were getting loose so I put it in my driveway up on jackstands and disassembled the steering and front suspension. I replaced both side lower ball joints and both side inner and outer tie rod ends. Four new Michelins, an oil change with an alignment and off I went. BEST CAR I’VE EVER OWNED!! The 3.0L o/head cam V6 still runs flawless, has a boatload of power and still maintains 25+ mpg! AGAIN, BEST CAR I’VE EVER OWNED! I wish I could still have the option to buy another one with the same set up. Nevertheless, I’ll be in the front of the line to get yet another one when this one is retired but not yet. It’s STILL got PLENTY of years and miles to go!

  9. Dennis Mincin

    My son is in the Army and away on a deployment. Been driving his 2017 Escape. Love it!
    4-cylinder Front-wheel drive has enough power & good mileage. I changed the Struts & shocks and put on a new set of General tires, and it handles great.
    The electronics are simple although he never SYNC’d his phone to the master computer. No matter this design is a winner and I told him I want to buy it from him when he gets back. Makes a perfect knock-around town second car & complement to my 2015 Lincoln sedan.


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