By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
With last year's total makeover, the 2014 Ford Escape compact crossover SUV became one of the segment's leaders in styling, fuel efficiency and forward-looking technology. Highlights include a choice of impressive engines, athletic suspension tuning and an updated version of the MyFord Touch infotainment system. One feature everyone will show off is the power liftgate they can open and close, even with an armload, by waving a foot under the rear bumper. Shoppers may look elsewhere if their top priorities are low price and sheer interior space, but the 2014 Ford Escape is as a must-see for everyone else. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.
Get-noticed styling, great fuel economy and a powerful technology package are three good reasons you might find the Ford Escape is just what you want in a small crossover.
If you and your passengers like to have plenty of room to stretch out, or if you will really emphasize the utility side of compact sport-utility ownership, you might find the Escape comes up a little short for your liking.
After its complete character overhaul last year, the Ford Escape gets no significant changes for 2014, just a few minor revisions to equipment and packages.
Driving Impressions The Ford Escape is the sporty compact car of compact SUVs – a title it shares with the Mazda CX-5. Ford has done well to infuse several of its recent...passenger-car offerings with European-like driving dynamics and feel, and the new Escape also benefits from that effort. With its new-last-year 240-horsepower engine, the Escape runs away from most everything else in its class. Those same characteristics that create the fun factor also help make the Escape easy and pleasant to drive to the store and the office. The 1.6- and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines are terrific, both delivering smooth, ready thrust around town, effortless cruising on the highway and – especially the 2.0 engine – plenty of passing power. This may not be the segment's softest-riding entry, but most will find it plenty comfortable. Overall, the 2014 Ford Escape is arguably the best-driving compact SUV on the market today.
Approach the Escape with your arms full of shopping bags, potted plants or power tools and a simple wave of your foot beneath the rear bumper powers the liftgate open automatically. It's Escape sign language for "open sesame."
Parents can designate a key that will limit top speed, limit audio volume or even disable the audio system altogether if the seatbelts are not buckled. Big Brother can be good or bad, depending on your point of view.
The inside of the 2014 Ford Escape boasts an impressive display of materials, design and available features. You won't pass it off as a mid-size SUV, though, because the Escape's interior is less spacious than others in the category.Exterior
Like some others in the compact SUV segment now, the 2014 Ford Escape shows a strong sense of style. Exterior highlights that distinguish upper-tier Escape models include HID headlamps, fog lights, body-color mirrors and trim, dual chrome exhaust tips and big 19-inch wheels.
The base 2014 Ford Escape S features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux sound system, air conditioning, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, the parent-friendly MyKey system, and a full complement of airbags and electronic safety features. Base-model compromises include covered steel wheels and black plastic exterior trim elements.
A fully loaded 2014 Ford Escape Titanium comes with enough cool features to embarrass many luxury cars. In addition to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 4-wheel drive, leather seats and a panoramic moonroof, a top-tier Escape offers blind-spot warning, automatic parallel parking, an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, Sync with MyFord Touch, and a liftgate that opens with a wave of your foot. You could get an Acura RDX for the same money, but you wouldn't have as many fun features to play with.
The 2014 Ford Escape offers a choice of three engines (unique in the compact SUV class). The 240-horsepower rating of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine looks irresistible, but truthfully, the 178-horsepower 1.6-liter version is still plenty powerful, just as smooth, and more affordable and more efficient in the bargain. The base 2.5-liter engine would probably be fine for many owners but it comes only in the base Escape S, which doesn't look so grand compared to some competitors. All three engines work with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, driving either the front wheels (FWD) or all four (AWD). If you want AWD you'll have to choose one of the EcoBoost engines. And if you want the Escape's full towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, that requires the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine (and note that the towing package eliminates the clever hands-free liftgate option).
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/31
1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
178 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway mpg: 23/33 (FWD), 22/30 (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
240 @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/30 (FWD), 21/28 (AWD)
The 2014 Ford Escape S starts at about $23,600, but that's with the least desirable of its three engine choices, black plastic exterior trim and covered steel wheels. Stepping up to the Escape SE remedies those shortcomings and adds Sync infotainment and other upgrades for $26,500. That's two to three thousand higher than the better-outfitted Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 base models. At the upper end of the price spectrum, a fully loaded Escape Titanium will exceed $37,000. While that's almost $7,000 more than a loaded CR-V, it also includes a lot more power and technology. We expect the Escape to perform significantly better than its predecessor model in the resale market, so you'll get more of your money back when it comes time to trade or sell.
By Joe on Friday, April 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good ride, responsive engine, good looks."
Cons: "No serious problems."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned my titanium since October 2012, when they first came out. Haven't had a single serious issue at all. The only nitpick is that the liftgate does not always respond to the "kick" motion for opening. The vehicle runs very smoothly -- good ride, easy handling, responsive engine. I am very happy with it thus far and would recommend it."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By AD on Sunday, March 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, quiet, comfortable, excellent AWD"
Cons: "Flaky Sync/MyFordTouch"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this 2013 Titanium AWD (2.0 EcoBoost) for 1 year today and have used it mostly for commuting 12 miles to work (24 miles rt) per day with a few long trips >200 miles. The main thing I like about the car is its driving characteristics. It has very nimble handling and plenty of power--as close to a sporty car feel as one could get in an SUV. In addition, the cabin is amazingly quiet and comfortable (I am 5'9'' and average weight) though I can see it might be tight for a bigger person. The gas mileage has averaged 23 mpg overall for the entire year--I never reset the calculation for the 2nd monitor. This is somewhat less than I had hoped for but much better than my other 4WD options (pickup truck). At least it uses regular gas. I have a long (700 ft), steep driveway and we've had a lot of snow this year. After learning how to use the AWD correctly by going very easy on the gas until it figures out how to distribute the power, I have never had a hitch getting home even in 10"-16" snow drifts. I suspect that the folks who wrote about having trouble with the AWD in snow did what I first did--tried to blast up to speed from a standstill--the so-called intelligent AWD seems to require a gradual startup from a stop to get everything engaged. Wheel spinning defeats its effectiveness. I really like the "techy" stuff this car sports. Most of it works well though the Sync stuff is fairly flaky. I can always make a hands-free phone call and that's pretty much all I care about. I cannot get the system to recognize the spoken "USB" when I try to access my iPod, so I have to do that from the touch screen. The blindside warning, rearview camera and proximity warnings are so far reliable and helpful. The HID headlights are awesome! And the foot-kick operated tailgate is much more useful than I anticipated. What would I improve? The MyFordTouch/Sync system would be better replaced by Apple's Siri. The center console is too deep for its opening. The gas mileage could be better, but that may require doing something about the weather--cold and snow do not promote high mileage. I'm not convinced of the value of 19" tires--a recent pothole event has cost me $229 for a single replacement! A somewhat bigger gas tank would be nice. Bottom line: before buying the Escape, I tested the RAV4, the CRV and the RDX, all with AWD. The Escape was by far the most fun to drive and the quietest with comfort equal to the better of the alternatives. These features continue to please and I am very happy with the car. I have recommended this version to several friends and relatives."
13 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Average Joe on Friday, March 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Model S has many std features"
Cons: "Ford doesn't make many Model S versions"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Just got a 2014 base Model S. (made in Louisville, KY) Only options 1) alloy wheels and 2) set of winter and summer floor mats. Sale price was $23600 but got $2500 in FMC rebates. I also got a reasonable trade in for my 2003 F-150 (made in Kansas City, MO) that gave me zero problems over the years. My Wife's 2014 Honda CRV has AWD, a navigation system, leather and sun roof - which explains why it cost considerably more than the Escape. Let the long term side-by-side comparison begin ... Wife says: "back-up camera is brighter in the Escape". I like the hand's free phone that connected easily to my Android. It reads incoming text messages ..."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By lucylee on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice looking vehicle"
Cons: "limited space inside, poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Think twice before purchasing a 2014 ford escape. it is an attractive vehicle, however there is no where to put your small items except for in the armrest console, there are 2 cup holders and nothing else, very cramped in drivers seat. The gas mileage is not great. The wipers move outward, , they do not reach the ends of the windshield making it harder to see when looking to the left. I was looking to upgrade from a smaller car with more room, not sure I made the right choice now, especially after comparing the interior room to my friends Kia Sorento."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Rick on Thursday, March 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Low price for the class it is in, decent mileage"
Cons: "cheap construction, cheap feel, 2 thumbs down"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I traded in my toyota and thought I was getting a deal on a brand new 2014 Ford Escape. This car is just not what I would call high quality for the money. I am used to the solid performance of a brand that obviously takes more pride in what they make. I will be getting rid of this car at the very first opportunity and will not buy another Ford. I do not know if all Ford vehicles are as bad as the Escape, but I am not going to take the chance."
10 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Roybus on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice Stereo"
Cons: "Extremely Poor Quality, MPG, Value and Safety"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Our 2013 Escape has had 7 recalls in the first year. We had an incident where all of the wiring burned out of the vehicle, requiring everything to be replaced, car still smells like burnt plastic. The Synch system works about 50% of the time and the GPS takes about 15 mins to start working. We've had a few different plastic pieces in the interior break off from normal use. Gas mileage is poor for a 4 cylinder at 21 mpg. We looked at trading the vehicle in to get rid of it, but its value has plummeted so low that we will be stuck with it for a while."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful