The order banks for the refreshed 2023 Ford Escape opened up on Monday for certain dealers, although The Blue Oval remains tight-lipped about the crossover despite its impending launch. That said, Ford Authority has learned quite a bit about it, including the omission of MyKey and BlueCruise from its lineup, along with the complete reimagining of its trim levels. Now, sources have explained that the Active – in a departure from its European and global counterparts – is merely a trim level without any off-road capability.
Instead, the 2023 Ford Escape Active is a direct replacement for the SE trim, which currently sees duty as the second trim level in a four trim lineup. The refreshed model will boast either five or eight trims, depending on one’s perspective, as the ST-Line is essentially its own range within the lineup, and will be offered as ST-Line, ST-Line Select, and ST-Line Elite. As a step up from Base, the Active will add additional cosmetic and functional upgrades like body color door handles, second row and liftgate privacy glass, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, and power liftgate, among other features.
The Blue Oval’s decision to make the Active a regular trim level deviates from what the company offers overseas. For example, the Ford Focus Active comes standard with a 1.2-inch ride height increase up front and a 1.3-inch boost out back, in addition to unique springs, dampers, stabilizer bars, and revised front and rear knuckle geometries, all designed to make the compact more capable off-road. It also receives skid plates and a trim-specific grille to improve its approach angle.
That said, the 2023 Ford Escape will adopt something its direct counterpart, the Kuga, has boasted for quite some time: body-painted bumpers, rocker panels, and wheel arches. Those cosmetic enhances are standard on the entire ST-Line trim series, and also exclusive to that lineup as well. In addition to the Active and ST-Line, the PHEV will separate itself from the lineup and become its own trim level.