Escape Reviews

 

A Full 2014 Ford Escape Review offered by a Dealer in

Louisville Kentucky, KY

What’s New for 2014

The 2014 Ford Escape undergoes minor adjustments to its feature availability. Notably, a rearview camera and Sync are now standard on all trim levels. The Titanium trim no longer gets the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as standard, though Ford has dropped its price as a result. The SEL trim level has been discontinued.

Introduction

The 2014 Ford Escape stands out as one of the best small crossovers in a segment full of worthy entries. Completely redesigned last year, the Ford Escape remains one of our favorite compact crossover SUVs. It has sharp handling, handsome styling and high-end interior touches that help justify its marginally higher price in this class.

You don’t have to look at the 2014 Ford Escape for very long before you start to think it looks like a pumped-up Ford Focus, and with good reason. The Escape is based on the same platform as the Focus, and it shows in the sleek styling. We love the Ford Focus for its quality, versatility and superb driving character, and those traits translate well to the Escape package. Sure, the Escape is heavier than a Focus, but it still has a nicely controlled ride and goes around turns with a surprising level of agility.

Ford offers a trio of four-cylinder engines on the 2014 Escape. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which is a pretty typical offering for a small crossover, provides adequate performance. But what help distinguish the Escape in this class are the available 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines. The 1.6 provides more power and better fuel economy than the 2.5, while the 2.0 cranks out 240 horsepower and has only slightly lower EPA fuel economy ratings than the smaller 1.6.

The Escape’s interior is furnished with high-quality materials, and when it’s equipped with the slick-looking MyFord Touch electronics interface, it feels as if you’re driving a much more expensive car. The downside to that, however, is that MyFord Touch can be finicky to use at times, as we’ve noted slow response times and inconvenient glitches in the vehicles we’ve tested. Besides that, ticking all the option boxes pushes the 2014 Ford Escape’s price above its direct rivals. Keep the equipment level reasonable, though, and it represents solid value in this class.

In the category of small crossover SUVs, there are of course other choices. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 don’t have the same engine selection as the Escape, but they’re both roomier inside and enjoy better reputations for reliability. The sporty Mazda CX-5 is also worth a look, as are the comfortable Chevrolet Equinox, stylish Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and outdoorsy Subaru Forester. But overall, the 2014 Ford Escape is a desirable small crossover that gets just about everything right.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Ford Escape is a compact crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium.

The S comes with 17-inch steel wheels, an integrated blind-spot mirror, MyKey parental controls, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, the Sync voice command electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Options on the S include remote start, roof rails and rear parking sensors.

Upgrading to the SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, a keyless entry keypad, privacy tinted glass, an eight-way power adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), reclining rear seats and satellite radio.

The optional SE Convenience package adds roof rails, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, an 8-inch touchscreen with the MyFord Touch electronics interface, upgraded Sync services (including smartphone app integration) and a nine-speaker sound system. Picking the Leather Comfort package gets you heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats. Also available as individual options are 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate and a navigation system.

At the top of the line, the Titanium combines the content of the SE Convenience and Leather Comfort packages plus 18-inch wheels, remote start, keyless ignition/entry, the power liftgate (with hands-free operation), ambient interior lighting and a Sony 10-speaker sound system. Options include a Titanium Technology package (xenon headlights, blind-spot monitoring/cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers and an automated parallel-parking system), 19-inch alloy wheels and the panoramic sunroof and navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard and available only on the S is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 hp and 167 pound-feet of torque. The SE and Titanium come standard with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 178 hp and 184 lb-ft. Optional on the SE and Titanium trims is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and all but the S are available in either front- or all-wheel-drive configuration (the S is front-wheel-drive only). In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Escape with the 2.0-liter engine ran to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. A front-wheel-drive Escape 1.6 did the same sprint in 9.4 seconds. Properly equipped, an Escape with the 2.0-liter turbo engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Fuel economy estimates for the 2.5 are 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. The 1.6-liter turbo with front-wheel drive earns 23/33/26, while the 2.0-liter turbo with front-wheel drive rates 22/30/25. All-wheel-drive versions rate 1-2 mpg less.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, a driver knee airbag and full-length curtain-type airbags are standard on the 2014 Ford Escape. Ford’s MyKey (which allows owners to set vehicle parameters for younger drivers), a rearview camera and blind-spot mirrors are also standard. Rear parking sensors are optional on the S and SE, and standard on the Titanium. A blind-spot warning system with cross-traffic alert is optional on the Titanium.

In government crash tests, the Escape earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for total frontal-impact crash protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Escape a top score of “Good” in its frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The front and rear seats have plenty of head- and legroom. Seat padding and bolstering is comfortable and firm without being too stiff. Cargo space in the 2014 Ford Escape is average for the segment, falling between the CX-5 and the CR-V. With the rear seats folded up, there are 34.3 cubic feet of space; folding down the rear seats increases that space to 68.1 cubic feet. A helpful option on the Escape is the hands-free power liftgate that opens with a wave of your foot under the rear bumper (as long as you have the key somewhere on you).

Dash and center console materials are attractive, and overall fit and finish is excellent. The steering wheel is shared with the Ford Focus and enhances the Escape’s sporty feel, while offering useful audio controls besides. The location of the climate controls is awkward, though, as they’re placed low on the center stack and the gear selector impedes access.

Nor are we fond of the optional MyFord Touch system. The 8-inch main display controls various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice (Sync), touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It’s a smart idea in theory, and it does provide some nice customization and smartphone integration possibilities. Unfortunately, there’s a learning curve involved for the user, and even with Ford’s recent updates, we’ve found the system prone to glitches and slow to respond. In addition, many of the touchscreen icons are difficult to locate and press while on the move.

Driving Impressions

Performance ranges from average with the 2.5-liter and turbocharged 1.6-liter engines to downright spirited with the 2.0 turbo. Although most owners will be perfectly content with the acceleration and fuel economy they get with the 1.6-liter turbo, there’s no denying that the 2.0-liter turbo is satisfying, particularly on hilly roads: It pulls the Escape up steady grades without breaking a sweat, whereas the 1.6-liter would need an extra prod of the gas pedal or a downshift (or both) in these situations. The good news is that the turbocharged engines are equally quiet and smooth.

Blessed with quick steering, relatively sharp reflexes and an advanced all-wheel-drive system, the 2014 Ford Escape provides sporty handling and traction through turns. Overall, it’s one of the better-handling small crossovers available. These abilities don’t come at the expense of ride comfort, either, as the Escape maintains a stable, isolated demeanor over bumps and when cruising on the highway.

2013 Ford Escape Review

Ford didn’t bring the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter to the Escape’s launch program, but we did have a chance to sample both turbocharged models. The 2.0-liter offers effortless acceleration in the Escape, even with the optional all-wheel-drive system. There is no turbo noise, nor is there any obvious turbo lag. Torque arrives early and the engine revs without drama. The turbo 1.6-liter doesn’t feel nearly as quick overall as the 2.0-liter, but its 184 lb-ft move the Escape off the line briskly. Most customers will be happy with the low-end shove of the 1.6-liter and won’t find the 240-horse engine necessary. We, however, are not most customers. Although the smaller engine doesn’t have any lag, it runs out of nerve once the tach needle sweeps past 4500 rpm or so.

No matter which engine is installed, the Escape’s chassis is sportier than those of its Japanese and domestic competition. As you might expect, the Escape drives like a giant Focus with a higher center of gravity. It’s planted, feels secure, and is even a little fun. The electrically assisted power steering, as in the Focus, is accurate and has some semblance of feel. It’s no Lotus Evora, of course, but neither is anything else in the Escape’s segment. Also like the Focus, the Escape has struts up front and a multilink rear suspension. The chassis tuning doesn’t differ much from the European-market Kuga’s. Stability control is standard, as is Ford’s Curve Control; the latter uses the rear brakes to help steer the Escape through corners. Models riding on 19-inch wheels exhibit some impact harshness; we’d recommend the 17-inchers for those desiring a slightly more comfortable ride. No matter the wheel-and-tire package, though, there is excessive road noise on coarse road surfaces.

The new Escape might not be as upright and boxy as before, but a longer wheelbase keeps interior volume on par with that of the outgoing model. The rear seat is comfortable and has an additional 1.2 inches of legroom, but it still can’t match the space of the roomy current-gen Toyota RAV4. Cargo area is up slightly to 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 68.1 with the seats folded.

Ford has created a more sophisticated and refined Escape, but the company is also going to be charging more to get into one. Stickers start at $23,295 for the base S trim, about $1000 pricier than last year’s base model with a manual transmission. (The S is $200 cheaper when comparing automatic-transmission models.) The SE starts at $25,895 and the SEL at $28,695. At the top end, a Titanium with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost commands $31,195. The new Escape is a big change—and vastly improved—versus the old one, but it’s so radically different that we wonder if it will be able to maintain the impressive sales pace of its predecessor. To be sure, with an all-new CR-V already here and aredesigned RAV4 on the way, the battle for the top spot on the crossover chart will be fierce.

 

 

2013 Ford Escape Review

By David Thomas

Cars.com National
April 23, 2012

Ford has released a series of good-looking cars with excellent mileage lately. But whether it’s the too-cramped Fiesta interior or the sluggish transmission on the Focus, these otherwise spectacular mainstream vehicles have had a few serious flaws.

The redesigned 2013 Escape is different: No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find anything significantly wrong with it.

A duo of new turbo engines offer better performance than the competition, the interior is roomy and comfortable, high-tech gadgetry works well, and it even looks cool. All of this comes with a premium price in a competitive segment.

If you’re OK with the price of admission, the new Ford Escape is ready for you, and you won’t be disappointed.

It comes in four trims: base S, SE, SEL and Titanium.

Performance

At the heart of the Escape’s success are three engine choices, all offering 30 mpg or better on the highway, according to Ford estimates.

The just-right engine choice is the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with estimated mileage of 23/33 mpg city/highway. That’s just slightly better than the 23/31 mpg in the Honda CR-V and 22/32 mpg in the Chevy Equinox. Mazda’s new CX-5 bests the class at 26/35 mpg but with significantly less power.

The mileage figures will draw people in, and the little engine offers little turbo eccentricities. Acceleration is smooth as you move through the gears with the six-speed automatic transmission. Passing power isn’t robust despite figures of 178 horsepower and 183 pounds-feet of torque, but there isn’t the same straining that you’d feel in the similarly powered CR-V and Equinox with four-cylinders. They don’t have turbos.

The larger turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is supposed to be the 2012 Escape’s V-6 replacement. I tested it previously in the much larger and heavier Ford Edge SUV and thought it offered a V-6-like smoothness there; it was similar to what the 1.6-liter exhibited in the smaller Escape. Perhaps all the added power — 240 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque — would mean the Escape would be a hot little performer — similar to Kia’s turbocharged Sportage.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

The 2.0-liter was smooth. No consumer is going to complain about this. It’s what you want when you’re taking a highway on-ramp or passing at speed. If you like to launch from a stoplight or gun the engine for a burst of speed on demand, it doesn’t deliver.

The 2.0-liter is a noticeable step up from the 1.6-liter because you don’t experience the limited straining the smaller engine faces going up hills and during hard acceleration at top speeds, but I doubt most buyers will consider moving up to the larger engine. There isn’t enough of a performance gain to warrant the extra cost. However, estimated mileage for the 2.0 is excellent at 22/30 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Ford calls all of its turbo engines EcoBoost, a marketing term to be sure. Shoppers should understand that the term doesn’t mean anything more than the model they are looking at features a traditional turbocharged engine — not a hybrid or some other fuel-saving technology.

Without driving the 2.5-liter base engine — a carryover from the previous generation — it’s hard to say what that will deliver. It was coarse before, but Ford has revised it to get considerably better mileage. It’s estimated to get 30 mpg on the highway versus the outgoing engine’s 28 mpg.

While power is usually the first performance factor that shoppers focus on, the Escape excels in the steering and handling department, too. Ford wanted the new crossover to be sporty in nature, and it’s about as sporty as you can expect in this class. The meaty steering wheel requires a slightly above-average amount of effort to turn, but there’s a nice springiness as it returns to center and, like the engine, every turn felt smooth. There’s that word again.

For some reason, Ford mapped out a test-drive route of more than 100 miles with a majority of them taking us through some of the twistiest roads in Northern California. These roads showed off how well the car handled, but it’s unlikely many consumers will pilot roads like this on more than a rare occasion. The 17-inch wheels on the front-wheel-drive 1.6-liter version squealed a bit through tight turns, but the Escape feels incredibly solid, a trait I’ve noticed in even Ford’s smallest car, the Fiesta.

The Escape’s ride is a pleasant mix of firmness — to help with the handling chops and because of the rigid chassis — and damped road imperfections. There were many stretches of road with strings of potholes, which reminded me of my sweet home Chicago, and the Escape covered them without bucking passengers or sending sharp jolts.

Perhaps the one flaw in the performance department is the road noise. Over various surfaces, from concrete highways to aging pavement, my co-driver and I both thought the Escape was a bit noisier than the competition, especially the new CR-V and Equinox. It’s not a glaring problem and it certainly isn’t as raucous as the Sportage or Hyundai Tucson, but it’s something to pay attention to on a test drive.

Interior

If the exterior paints the Escape as a sleek, futuristic SUV, the interior conjures images of a sports-car cockpit. Ford has done this before with the Fiesta, Focus and even the Taurus, but all three sacrifice some comfort to deliver that atmosphere. The center console in those cars is so wide that your right knee sits uncomfortably close to it. They just feel cramped.

Not so in the Escape. I adjusted my seat and the standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel quickly and felt comfortable with plenty of headroom, dispelling my fears of claustrophobia. Shoulder room is 56 inches and hip room is 54.8 inches. Both compare favorably to what I find to be spacious: the CR-V’s 58.6 and 54.5 inches, and the Equinox’s 55.8 and 54.6 inches, respectively.

Even better, when I hopped in the backseat directly behind my adjusted driver’s seat position, my knees had inches of space in front of them. At 36.8 inches of legroom, the Escape trails the CR-V’s 38.3, but by referencing photos of both to check my memory, the Escape shows more room for my knees than the Honda. The Equinox has 39.9 inches of rear legroom but that’s due to an adjustable second row that can slide backward and forward. Both the Escape and CR-V have a fixed second row.

The cloth seats in the SE tester were incredibly comfortable after nearly 90 minutes of seat time. The leather buckets in the Titanium trim we piloted for the second half of the day felt a tad firm for my partner, but I thought they were more than acceptable for the amount of time we had been driving.

Driver and passengers will find the exceptionally well-fitted cabin adorned with fewer buttons that are more simply laid out than other recent Fords. Both test vehicles were equipped with MyFord Touch and navigation systems, which add a large 8-inch touch-screen in the center of the dashboard.

We have discussed — seemingly endlessly — some of the flaws of this system, but perhaps familiarity breeds some sort of satisfaction. During our trip, with the map screen in use most of the time, it proved to be on par with the competition in clarity and speed between screens. I found using the Home button on the steering wheel to be an aggravation saver, bringing up the familiar screen with four quadrants of info in much larger type than in past versions.

Buttons — whether they turn up the vent speed or lower the windows — feel great to the touch, but they’re a bit on the small side for my taste. It’s a minor complaint that most shoppers likely won’t notice unless their digits are on the large side.

Cargo and towing

A major selling point of any crossover, SUV, wagon, minivan or other utility vehicle is cargo capacity. In small crossovers, you want a fair amount of space and the second-row seats to be easy to fold. The Escape delivers on both.

The outgoing model’s two-step folding seats have been replaced with an easy-to-use single-step process. Flip a lever at the bottom of either side of the rear seats and they flip forward quickly. Returning the seats upright is a little more troublesome. There’s still one lever to pull, but it takes significant strength to push them back up. The fully extended cargo floor is flat, with a piece of material to cover the gap at the bottom of the seatbacks. This should make loading large cargo hassle-free.

The low cargo floor height also helps. At just above my knee, the cargo floor is easily accessible. That means heaving heavy objects will require less effort as will letting your canine companions in and out of the cargo area.

At 34.3 cubic feet with the second row in place and 68.1 cubic feet with the rear seats down, the Escape is again very competitive in the class. The CR-V is rated at 37.2 and 70.9 cubic feet; the Equinox at 31.5 and 63.7, and Mazda’s new CX-5 at 34.1 and 64.8. The surprisingly huge Toyota RAV4 still leads at 36.4 and 73.

No matter the numbers, there should be ample cargo room for shoppers in this class, and the ease of use is a big win.

Ford made cargo access even easier with an optional power liftgate. Not only can the gate open with a key fob button or release of the latch, but also it has a new feature: kick your foot at the air under the rear bumper and the liftgate will open. Supposedly, this is great for people with lots of groceries in their hands who are unable to reach a fob or the latch. I can imagine myself loaded with goods kicking out my foot … and falling on my rump. My yoga-class-attending wife, who saw the feature on a reality TV show promotion, thought it was the greatest idea she’d seen in some time. What do I know?

Towing isn’t a top priority for most shoppers in this class, but Ford says current Escape owners wanted some capability. They will have to opt for the 2.0-liter model with an optional tow package to trailer 3,500 pounds. That’s identical to the V-6 Equinox.

Features and pricing

When you review a lot of cars, you deal with a lot of numbers, but the most important numbers to any shopper always have dollar signs in front of them. Ford has delivered a terrific vehicle in the Escape, and the base S model with the 2.5-liter engine comes with a competitive starting price of $22,470 before destination charges of $825.

The standard features are enough to get by on and include a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, six-speaker stereo and 17-inch steel wheels with plastic covers. Most important is a standard six-speed automatic transmission. This slate of features isn’t as competitive as those found on the Honda’s CR-V LX that costs $22,495 and has a more efficient engine. The CR-V comes with Bluetooth connectivity, USB input, a backup camera and steering-wheel controls at that price.

The Escape SE starts at $25,070 and adds a significant amount of features and the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. It’s what you get if you want fog lamps, Ford’s Sync system, MyFord system with a 4-inch screen, body-colored door handles and mirrors, a rear-center armrest, automatic headlights, a chrome-accented grille, Sirius Satellite Radio, steering-wheel audio controls and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Move up to the SEL trim at $27,870 and the speaker count goes up to nine; there are more chrome accents outside and the shift knob and steering wheel are wrapped in leather. It also adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, puddle lamps, MyFord Touch, power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, universal garage door opener and 18-inch wheels. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is an additional $1,095 on both the SE and SEL.

The top-of-the-line Titanium trim comes only with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine at $30,370. It adds HD radio, passive entry and push-button start, remote start, premium leather seats, tonneau cover, roof rails, high-intensity-discharge headlights, a power liftgate, reverse sensing system, Sony stereo system and 19-inch wheels.

All of these prices are for front-wheel-drive models. All-wheel drive adds $1,750 for the 1.6- and 2.0-liter SE and SEL as well as the 2.0 Titanium.

Our front-wheel-drive 1.6 SE tester cost $29,015 and came with options like a large panoramic sunroof — not really a necessity — power liftgate and the MyFord Touch system with navigation. Getting that close to $30,000 for a four-cylinder crossover seemed high to me considering that the CR-V tops out at $28,745 with front-wheel drive. However, the four-cylinder Equinox can climb to $33,960. A fully loaded Escape SEL with the 1.6-liter engine and front-wheel drive comes to $32,950 with add-ons similar to the Equinox but with the larger panoramic roof and kick feature on the tailgate.

Safety

The Ford Escape is too new to have been crash-tested by either the federal government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

It comes standard with the usual assortment of airbags as well as driver’s knee airbag.

Optional safety equipment includes blind spot warning system as well as cross-traffic alert that senses traffic passing behind you like in a mall parking lot. A forward collision system and backup camera are optional.

Escape in the market

Ford continues its winning ways in the styling department. The attractive package should help bring in both Escape loyalists and folks driving the competition. There isn’t much competition that can top the mileage, performance, comfort or interior size, either.

Like most buying decisions, the Escape’s success may likely come down to the sticker price.

2013 FORD ESCAPE REVIEW SUMMARIES

What reviewers liked most about the Ford Escape:

…the cabin is a quieter, more subdued place to hang out.

– Car and Driver

…the Escape interior is fresh and crisply contemporary without trendy excesses.

– MSN Autos

What reviewers liked least about the Ford Escape:

Lackluster braking compared to rivals, [the] folding down second seat [is] needlessly complex…

– Motor Trend

Ford Escape Comparisons:

Lackluster braking compared to rivals, [the] folding down second seat [is] needlessly complex.

– Motor Trend

Best one-liner about the Ford Escape:

With the caveat that we compared it to a Golf—not a GTI—it’s a fun-to-drive crossover with great space utilization; a fantastic infotainment system; and now, engine and transmissions to match.

– Automobile