Ford Authority

2023 Ford Escape Trim Revamp Came From Customer Feedback

The 2023 Ford Escape debuted almost one month ago, officially showing off the refreshed crossover in all its updated glory. Aside from some expected upgrades like a significantly more aggressive front end, the Escape also received some no-brainer tech updates like Sync 4 and an upgraded Co-Pilot360 safety system. Surprisingly, the refresh also ditched the trim levels that had been in use for roughly 10 years, when The Blue Oval introduced them on the 2013 Ford Escape. But it turns out that the Escape team had a reasonable explanation as to why they decided to jettison the old trims for an entirely new lineup.

2023 Ford Escape

“Right off the bat what you might notice, gone are the SE and SEL nomenclature that we previously had on the Escape. When we talked to customers they basically said “It doesn’t mean anything to me.” We want to give them a series that speaks to them and they understand what they’re getting when they get that series,” explained Adrienne Zaski, Escape brand manager, at the reveal event Ford Authority attended. 

The 2023 Ford Escape ditches all of the old trim levels (S, SE, SEL, and Titanium) for an entirely new lineup: Base, Active, ST-Line, Platinum, and PHEV. Additionally, the ST-Line introduces a series of models: ST-Line, ST-Line Select, and ST-Line Elite, which depart significantly from the current model by offering buyers a body-painted front bumper, wheel wells, and rocker panels. The Blue Oval expects the ST-Line series to account for half of total sales going forward, although the introduction does not portend an eventual ST range-topper, as the team said it’s unfortunately not happening.

In addition to altering the 2023 Ford Escape lineup based on customer feedback, the company now sees the compact crossover as coexisting with the Ford Bronco Sport, as each occupy their own space in the segment. As opposed to the off-road ruggedness of the Sport, the Escape is primarily intended for urban buyers who prioritize on-road driving dynamics and tech-oriented features.

We’ll have more on the refreshed Escape soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford Escape news, and for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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  1. Joe

    I saw one last week at a auto show and it is still filled with cheap hard plastic interior trim. The exterior is better, the nav screen is bigger, but they still need to spend more time and money to upgrade the interior.

  2. Kevin

    here some more feedback. Go back to the drawing board this is so ugly, remember the first generation of escape how square it was. this has gotten so lost its worse then a Tim Burton picture

  3. Mike

    It looks like the Honda CR-V.

  4. Drew Ford Retiree

    BS! “Platinum” used to mean more premium than the Titanium with Lincoln-like quality of materials… but Escape’s Platinum uses cheaper materials.

    And the line-up has 3 levels of ST-Line trims… none of which include a real ST. Totally stupid marking BS.

    And… AND… the regular hybrid is only available on the ST-Line or Platinum trims. I don’t f’n want black wheels or vinyl seats on my hybrid… so no sale.

    This series lineup and missed opportunity to fix the quality of interior material guarantees sales success… for the Honda CRV and Hyundai/Kia entries. Totally insane Ford marketing!

  5. Terry Shoemaker

    I owned a 2015 and a 2018 SE Sport AWD and they were flawless. Then the style change arrived and I went to an F150 Lariat Crew!
    This Escape refresh tried to fix the front end that was lost in the style change of 2020.
    Interiors aside, this tweak will sell no better than the last one did

  6. Mike says....

    Somewhere along the way Ford lost their way with the Escape. The competition has moved ahead and passed them. Quality and price never quite matched up properly…. the harder they try to improve the Escape, the worse the quality/price equation becomes.

  7. Mrx19

    If they are still going to sell this at the overpriced price point they should have thrown a couple of hundred at the interior for soft touch surfaces, etc.

  8. Karl H

    I bleed Ford blue but it is just sad and pathetic to see Hyundai and Kia producing better quality vehicles in this price range! How come they can produce such nicer interior and exterior designs and sell for similar or even lower prices than Ford? Ford has become too damn complacent with their exterior designs and low rent/quality interiors. Just look at GM’s recent interior designs how cohesive and more attractive they are than Ford’s! Their use of color however restraint is so much more pleasing to the eyes! Someone needs to send an urgent memo to Jim Farley before it gets any worse.

  9. Edward

    I previously had a 2018 Ford Escape Titanium which I ordered with all the options. When shopping, I had tested a Lincoln MKC Reserve and noted that the Escape Titanium wasn’t that much inferior to the Lincoln. The Escape was pretty darn luxurious inside. I loved that Escape. But, I traded it for a new 2022 Lincoln Corsair. It seems when Ford changed the Escape in 2020, and created the Corsair, they realized their error in making the Ford too luxurious and the MKC not much of an upgrade over it. The Escape was cheapened a bit, and the Corsair was made far more luxurious. Now, I love my 2022 Corsair Grand Touring. It is a true luxury vehicle.

  10. jerry

    its ugly now than 2013 ford escape that has more room. new 2023 is not SUV! its cuv! use your head right…go back to white board do your homework! you failed.


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