Compared: 2023 Hyundai Tucson vs. 2023 Ford Escape

With slippery styling and bigger interiors than their small footprints suggest, these two SUVs are understandably popular choices.

2023 Hyundai Tucson in red and red 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line Elite comparedHyundai | Ford


The 2023 Hyundai Tucson and 2023 Ford Escape are popular small SUV choices, each with a wide lineup of trim levels, powertrains, and extra-cost upgrades to tug would-be buyers one way or the other.

Both models come in costlier but more frugal hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms. The focus of this comparison is on their more affordable gas-only configurations.

2023 Hyundai Tucson steering wheel and dashboardHyundai

Hyundai Tucson Edges in Standard Power, Comes Close in Price

At about $27,000, the cheapest Tucson SE undercuts the entry-level Ford Escape by about $2,500. That price disparity can narrow as you work your way through trim levels and optional extras. For either of these small SUVs, it's easy to approach $40,000 once you include features such as all-wheel drive (AWD), a panoramic sunroof, and leather upholstery.

The Tucson's 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 187 horsepower offers a smidge more power than the Escape's standard 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder. Ford offers a 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder on higher-end versions, too.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) comes standard across both models, with AWD as an option on most trims.

2023 Ford Escape ST-Line Elite interior and dashboardFord

Hyundai Tucson and Ford Escape Go Head to Head in Features

In its cheapest form, the Tucson SE comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone projection. A hands-free power liftgate, a wireless charging pad, and a digital key that can unlock the SUV from your smartphone are included for about $1,600 when you step up to the Tucson SEL.

Ford includes similar standard fare, and its power liftgate is included with the $1,300 jump to the Escape Active trim level. That version also serves as the gateway to some big upgrades inside, such as a 13.2-inch central touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, and Bang & Olufsen-branded speakers.

Hyundai offers a rugged-looking version of the Tucson called XRT, which also includes a 10.3-inch touchscreen. But it's no higher off the ground than other versions, so the XRT is more about looks than utility. There's no chunky version of the Escape — unless you look at the functionally similar Ford Bronco Sport. It's nearly a twin under the skin.

Hyundai's N Line trim level unlocks racier-looking styling inside and out for the Tucson, including red-stitched details on the seats and 19-inch alloy wheels. Ford counters with the Escape ST-Line, which offers a genuine performance advantage when you price up for the optional 250-hp engine.

The 2023 Ford Escape Is the Fuel-Efficient Choice

In FWD, the 2023 Ford Escape delivers an EPA-estimated 27/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined and AWD delivers 26/32/28 mpg. The more powerful engine choice dents those estimates to 23/31/26 mpg.

The Hyundai Tucson's 2.5-liter four-cylinder is not as fuel-efficient and is rated at just 25/32/28 mpg in FWD and 23/28/25 mpg in AWD.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Michael Strong
Michael Strong has spent more than 25 years writing about everything from local car shows to new product introductions to the industry’s financial news for national, regional, and local publications. He is currently the managing editor at a major automotive news website.