Review - 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line

By Alexi Falson on 11 Jul 2023
image for Review - 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line
Overall Rating
out of 10
  • Exciting performance
  • Generous comfort & safety equipment lists
  • Spacious and practical interior design with a large boot
  • Set to leave the Australian market at the end of 2023
  • Sports suspension impacts overall ride comfort
    • 45L
    • 33
    • 6250 / 4500
    • 5 star
    • Automatic
In the crowded world of midsize SUVs, it’s harder than ever for family-friendly packages like the Ford Escape ST-Line to stand out from the crowd and win buyers.

As one of the most experienced manufacturers in the game, Ford has more than a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to the Escape - though you’ll have to act quickly.

That’s because, sadly, Ford has confirmed that its midsize SUV package, the Escape, will be making its escape from the Australian market at the end of 2023, which begs the question of whether you should pounce into action before it’s too late.

Let’s take a closer look to find out.

Looking for your most spacious and practical SUV options? Check out our top ten family-friendly SUVs here.

Ford Escape ST-Line Competition

Ford Escape ST-Line

Toyota RAV4
Mazda CX-5
Nissan X-Trail
Hyundai Tucson
Kia Sportage
Mitsubishi Outlander

Starting Price: $39,990

OnlineAuto Savings: Enquire now

How Much Does It Cost?

Ford has three variants of the Escape ST-Line here in Australia, with the entry-level Escape ST-Line front-wheel drive automatic priced at $39,990, while the ST-Line AWD is priced at $42,990.

The range-topping Escape ST-Line plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is the most expensive Escape in the range, which receives a price tag of $54,940.

Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change, and do not include on-road costs.

2023 ford escape phev st-line front

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service in Australia, you could save by using one of our car experts to help you find the best new car for you.

Ford Escape - ST-LINE PHEV (FWD) Specifications

Model Date 2023
Series ZH MY23.25
Drive FWD
Engine TDFI
Engine capacity 2488
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6250 / 4500
Cylinders T4
Torque 210
KW 167
Fuel tank size 45.0
Fuel usage specs 1.5 / 0
CO2 33
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Ford Escape car page.

What Features Does the Ford Escape ST-Line Have?

Over the standard Ford Escape, the ST-Line picks up a handful of sporty touches, including a sports suspension system underneath, special ST-Line styling enhancements, wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a set of alloy pedals.

This is atop features like 18-inch alloys, LED head & tail lights, keyless entry & start, adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera with parking sensors, ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto that you’ll find on the entry-level Escape.

2023 ford escape phev st-line interior

2023 ford escape phev st-line ev modes

2023 ford escape phev st-line wheels

Range Features:

  • 18-inch alloys

  • LED head & tail lights, LED daytime running lamps

  • Sports suspension system

  • ST-Line styling enhancements

  • Wheel-mounted paddle shifters

  • Alloy driving pedals

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Rear-view camera with parking sensors

  • Ambient lighting

  • Wireless smartphone charging

  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster

  • 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

Is the Ford Escape ST-Line Comfortable to Drive?

One of the things that really helps the Escape ST-Line outshine its rivals is the powerful engine sitting under the bonnet, in both petrol and plug-in hybrid form.

Ford’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 183kW/387Nm in the standard ST-Line, which drops to 167kW in the PHEV variant, which is far more power than your average midsize SUV package.

This gives it an extremely sporty nature when accelerating off the line and makes for one of the most exciting SUVs on the road.

2023 ford escape phev st-line rear

“The sports suspension matches the powerful engine performance, though it comes at the cost of ride comfort on rougher Australian roads.” Glynn - OnlineAuto Car Buying Specialist

One of the ST-Line’s major mechanical upgrades comes in the form of the sports suspension package underneath, which matches the powerful engine performance, though it comes at the cost of ride comfort on a daily drive, mostly on rougher Australian B-roads.

Having said that, around town the Escape’s suspension makes it far more agile than your standard SUV, while the lightweight steering rack makes it a pleasure to drive and park in tight spots, though it can be overly sensitive to inputs as you pick up speed.

2023 ford escape phev st-line headlights

Standard petrol models receive an eight-speed automatic while the plug-in hybrid uses a CVT automatic which behaves as though you’re driving with one, long gear that keeps putting the power down without any noticeable shifts.

All up, the Escape ST-Line is one of the most engaging midsize SUVs to drive, though it’s worth noting that this added performance makes it slightly less comfortable to drive outside of smooth city streets.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

Ford’s standard 2.0-litre turbo petrol is rated at 8.6L per 100km, which means that it is not particularly impressive when it comes to fuel efficiency.

2023 ford escape phev st-line engine review

2023 ford escape phev st-line engine

If fuel economy figures are a big priority for you, the Escape ST-Line plug-in hybrid (PHEV) comes fitted with a 14.4kWh battery pack that offers 50km of pure electric driving range, and returns extremely impressive fuel efficiency figures of just 1.5L/100km.

2023 ford escape phev st-line fuel economy

Keep in mind that these figures require a charged battery and also point out some flaws in how we typically measure fuel efficiency for PHEV vehicles.

2023 ford escape phev st-line type-2 socket

Is it Practical and Spacious?

While it’s officially classed as a small, or compact crossover SUV, Ford has done a remarkable job in the packaging of the Escape ST-Line that very much puts it on par with some of the biggest names in the mid-size SUV segment.

Up front, the driver and front passenger have a set of comfortable seats with some red contrast stitching adding to the sporty nature of the package, with the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster making for a driver-focussed cockpit.

2023 ford escape phev st-line seats

There’s no issues with head room inside the front of the Escape’s cabin, and while you do feel more cocooned than some of its rivals, Ford has done well to keep the driver and front passenger comfortable.

There’s storage aplenty in the front of the cabin, with a large storage tray at the base of the dash, storage nets either side of the transmission tunnel, cup holders and some added storage inside the folding armrest.

“Ford’s clever packaging utilises every millimetre of space and offers a huge amount of space for those seated in the front and rear of the cabin.” Craig - OnlineAuto Car Buying Specialist

In the second row, there’s a huge space for taller legs and the added bonus of a rear bench seat that can slide back and forth, which also picks up a pair of ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts for child seats.

2023 ford escape phev st-line rear seats

Finally, the Escape ST-Line caps off its already impressive practicality offering with a large 556L of storage in the boot, which expands to 1478L with the rear seats folded, making it an absolute beast under the test of Australian families.

2023 ford escape phev st-line boot

Is it Safe?

Safety is another area that the Escape ST-Line excels in, with full marks from ANCAP and a heap of active safety gear fitted as standard to even the base model.

The Ford Escape has been awarded ANCAP’s five-star safety rating, scoring 92% for adult protection, 89% for child protection, 82% for pedestrian protection and 77% for its safety assist tech.

The Escape ST-Line picks up autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alerts, emergency lane keeping, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring, speed and traffic jam assist and traffic sign recognition, which means you won’t miss out on a single piece of safety tech.

2023 ford escape phev st-line taillights

Our Verdict: Is The Ford Escape ST-Line Worth it?

While it might be vastly overshadowed by its SUV rivals, the Ford Escape ST-Line’s sporty and charming nature will certainly be missed when it makes its Australian exit later this year.

The sports suspension might not make it the best all-rounder option for country Australian roads, though it reconciles this with some of the most exciting performance in the segment.

2023 ford escape phev st-line length

If you’re looking to snatch a sporty yet practical family SUV, reach out to one of our car buying specialists who can help find your perfect car at the best possible price.

2023 Ford Escape ST-Line PHEV & 2.0T AWD video review from PerformanceDrive

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty

  2. 12-month/15,000km service intervals

  3. Five-star ANCAP safety rating

  4. 1800kg braked towing capacity drops to 1200kg in PHEV

  5. 8.6L/100km fuel economy; 1.5L/100km in PHEV when battery is charged

Check out our list of the ten best value SUVs on sale here in Australia.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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