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Ford is one of America’s largest and most successful automakers. It’s known for producing popular vehicles like the Ford F-150 pickup truck. Ford’s SUVs are nothing to scoff at. The American brand produces an affordable small SUV. It just can’t compete with the best in its segment. Here’s why the cheapest new Ford SUV, the 2023 Ford Escape, isn’t a segment leader.

Is the Ford Escape a good SUV?

American automaker Ford has seven SUV models in its lineup. Some of the most notable Ford SUV nameplates include the Ford Bronco, Ford Expedition, and Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Blue Oval undoubtedly produces competitive SUVs, but there’s a reason why its most affordable SUV isn’t outselling rivals.

Ford’s 2023 Escape is its cheapest new SUV. The 2023 Ford Escape starts at $28,000. It uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine to make 181 horses and 190lb-ft of torque. Ford’s small SUV achieves 27 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

Right off the bat, consumers can gather a few things from the new Escape’s specs. It’s more expensive than several of its main rivals, including the 2023 Kia Sportage, 2023 Toyota RAV4, 2023 Mazda CX-5, and 2023 Hyundai Tucson. Ford’s new Escape doesn’t produce as much horsepower as competitors like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-50, and Honda CR-V. So, it isn’t the most affordable in its segment or the most powerful.

Ford’s Escape was redesigned for the 2020 model year. While the generation is still relatively new, more affordable alternatives like the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage got more recent redesigns. Honda’s redesigned small SUV is more expensive but arguably provides more value for the money ($28,410). The 2023 Ford Escape is a good SUV. More exciting rivals just eclipse it.

What comes standard on the 2023 Ford Escape?

A blue 2023 Ford Escape small SUV is parked.
The 2023 Ford Escape | Ford

Ford’s most affordable SUV comes standard with a blind spot information system, a lane-keeping system, and selectable drive modes. It also includes standard pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection. The small SUV features a standard outside temperature display, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

2023 Escape models offer great standard features for the money. Unfortunately, the SUV’s uninspired driving dynamics, plastic-clad interior, and engine noise prevent it from competing at the highest level.

What are the best small SUVs of 2023?

A white 2023 Toyota RAV4 small SUV is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Toyota has consistently produced the most popular small SUV on the market for years. In 2023, the best small SUV may not even be an internal combustion engine vehicle. The Tesla Model Y fully electric SUV is currently outselling the popular Toyota RAV4.

Tesla’s Model Y is one of the best small SUVs of 2023 because it’s quick, luxurious, and affordable, thanks to federal electric vehicle tax incentives. Other notable new small SUVs include the 2023 Toyota RAV4, 2023 Honda CR-V, and 2023 Kia Sportage. This year’s small SUV segment is extremely competitive. Ford’s small SUV nameplate will have to step its game up to compete with small SUV heavyweights.


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