1 New Ford SUV Provides the Best Value for 2023, According to Cars.com
Since early 2021, new car prices have hit or hovered near record-high figures. Finding value buys on the new car market has been difficult thanks to supply and labor shortages. However, some vehicles still have stood out for their value despite these conditions, and Cars.com compiled a list of the best value new cars of 2023. The 2023 Ford Escape was the sole Ford SUV to make the list and one of the only compact SUVs overall.
How Cars.com decided the best value new cars of 2023
Cars.com states that the median new car prices in December 2022 were approximately $42,500. That’s 10% higher than December 2021 and 18% higher than December 2020. Though inflation and shortages have pushed those prices higher, Americans’ preferred vehicles have changed. More buyers are looking for SUVs and pickups with higher price tags under normal circumstances.
To determine the best value choices for 2023, Cars.com honed in on two key features: affordability and value. The methodology considered the number of available features included at lower costs. Must-have features included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection standard or available. If you need an option or package included to get those features, it’s noted in the affordability factor.
Ownership costs like fuel economy and warranties are included in the rankings but did not play a significant role in deciding which models made the cut.
Why the 2023 Ford Escape was a Best Value pick
The 2023 Ford Escape Base ranks at No. 10 among the best value picks for new small SUVs. However, just two of the vehicles ahead of it, the Chevrolet Equinox and Mitsubishi Outlander, are in the same compact class of SUVs. The rest are all subcompact SUVs and smaller vehicles overall.
The Ford SUV is updated for 2023. The front and rear styling have been refreshed for a more streamlined look that’s less squared-off than in prior years. There are seven trim levels available (the base, Active, PHEV, ST-Line, ST-Line Select, ST-Line Elite, and Platinum), but the Cars.com ranking specifically hones in on the base model.
The 2023 Ford Escape base is one of the most affordable compact SUVs on the market, with a starting MSRP of $27,500, per Ford. The median trim price is $28,770, but you can get the features needed in the rankings without any add-ons or packages. With a starting price of $28,995 and estimated annual fuel costs at $1,700, it’s a bargain choice for the compact and small SUV market as a whole.
2023 Ford Escape specs and features
The 2023 Ford Escape base is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. Bumping up to the higher trims — specifically the ST-Line Select, ST-Line Elite, and Platinum — includes a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo four and standard all-wheel drive (AWD).
The base Ford Escape gives you amenities like an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a six-speaker sound system. Cars.com reviewers note the upgraded Ford Sync 4 multimedia system is an improvement. The interior is also redesigned with new seats. There’s room for five passengers, but the second row does slide 6 inches fore or aft to improve legroom or cargo space.
The driver assist features Cars.com’s rankings put a value on (forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assistance, and blind-spot warning) are all standard features. The 2022 model was a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and likely will carry similar scores for 2023.
What about a hybrid version of the 2023 Ford Escape?
If you’re looking for a hybrid version of the Ford SUV, the Escape comes with a plug-in (PHEV) trim and hybrid powertrain options. Cars.com ranked it one of the best value picks among new electric vehicles (EVs). However, the price tag is much higher than the base model at a starting MSRP of $38,500.
The 2.5-liter standard hybrid powertrain makes 192 horsepower and is available on four trims: the ST-Line, ST-Line Select, ST-Line Elite, and Platinum. Consumer Reports went so far as to rank the Escape Hybrid among leaders like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Kia Sportage Hybrid. Fuel economy figures are 44 mpg in the city and up to 41 mpg on the highway. Both are better marks than the RAV4 Hybrid and on par with the Sportage Hybrid, making the Escape Hybrid a great choice. TrueCar puts it third among the cheapest hybrid SUVs of 2023.
The PHEV trim is specifically Cars.com’s value choice. It comes with a 2.5-liter hybrid system that generates 210 total horsepower and offers 37 miles of all-electric range. However, the higher starting MSRP includes more than just the efficient powertrain; there are more features to enjoy on the Ford SUV.
Interior amenities include satellite radio, two rear USB ports, heated front seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, partial vinyl and cloth upholstery, and a 13.2-inch infotainment touchscreen. Driver aids like adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assistance, and rear parking sensors are also included.
In gas or gas-electric hybrid forms, the 2023 Ford Escape is a value choice on the SUV market. The more affordable base trim gives drivers plenty for a reasonable price, and the hybrid options let buyers enjoy better efficiency and more features.