Quick Summary Ford's Escape is a long-standing best-seller among compact SUVs thanks to its appealing combination of usable space, engine choices and drive configurations. Its broad range of talents make it a good pick in the segment and for 2014 it offers new standard features.
The nearly identical 2013 Ford Escape received a "B" rating from Edmunds.
What Is It? The 2014 Ford Escape is a five-passenger compact SUV. It was all new for the 2013 model year and it remains mechanically identical for 2014. With a 105.9-inch wheelbase, the Escape is average size among small SUVs. Its cargo storage and passenger space are competitive in the segment.
Three engines are available: The base engine, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, produces 178 horsepower. Also available are a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines: a 1.6-liter rated at 173 hp and a 2.0-liter rated at 231 hp. All are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available with either turbocharged engine but not with the 2.5.
Our tester, an SE trim, is the middle of three trim levels and stickers for $26,445. The S base trim comes only with the 2.5-liter engine. SE models start at $23,505 and come standard with the 1.6-liter turbo engine. A fully loaded Titanium trim with the optional 2.0-liter engine and all-wheel drive will exceed $37,000.
How Does It Drive? Though the Escape isn't fast, its 1.6-liter turbo engine delivers abundant torque early in the rev range, which gives it quick responses and good drivability both around town and in passing situations on the freeway. This isn't an engine you'd know is turbocharged without looking at the Escape's specs.
Manual shifting (including rev-matched downshifts) is available via a toggle switch on the shift lever. Though this solution isn't as good as shift paddles, it's better than having no manual control over the transmission, as is the case in some of the Escape's competitors.
Sport Mode — available by dropping the shifter one notch below "Drive" — quickens throttle response and holds gears more aggressively. Our tester hit 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is half a second quicker than Honda's CR-V but several tenths slower than Mazda's 2.5-liter CX-5.
Ride quality is acceptable for a small SUV — most of the time. When fully loaded, however, the Escape's rear suspension isn't as well damped as we'd prefer. It rebounds multiple times over freeway irregularities at speed.
With its reasonably quick steering, we were never too busy behind the wheel. Steering weight is relatively light, yet there's enough available information through the wheel to hustle the Escape when needed. It is more involving and more capable than Honda's CR-V, but not as athletic as the Mazda CX-5.
How Safe Is It? New standard features for 2014 include a rearview camera and blind-spot mirrors across all trim levels. Seven airbags — including a driver's knee airbag — are also standard.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration gave the Escape four out of five stars in its overall crash test rating. It received a "Good" rating (the highest available) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in four of its five tests. However, in the IIHS small overlap front test, it received a "Poor" rating because airbag coverage wasn't sufficient and the driver's survival space wasn't well maintained.
Rear parking sensors and a blind-spot warning system are trim-specific options.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Deliver? Front-drive 1.6-liter Escapes like our test car are EPA rated at 26 mpg combined (23 city/32 highway). All-wheel-drive versions earn the same city rating but combined and highway ratings drop to 24 and 30 mpg, respectively. We recorded 23.9 mpg overall during 620 miles with the Escape. That number is lower than the last AWD Honda CR-V we tested, which yielded 26.2 mpg. The Escape produced 27.2 mpg on our 116-mile test loop, which includes both highway and mountain-road driving.
On the low end of the Escape fuel economy spectrum lies the 2.0-liter all-wheel-drive version, which is rated at 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway), but in our testing this version of the SUV produced only 20.5 mpg.
What's It Like Inside? Though the SE model lacks leather interior, its cloth surfaces are both comfortable and reasonably high quality. The front seats provide generous lateral support even for those with narrow frames. Large-framed staffers found them comfortable as well. The driver seat is eight-way power-adjustable, including both height and lumbar adjustments.
Manual ventilation controls (three knobs and two buttons) are both simple and quick to use. The bank of audio control buttons is overstyled but works well enough, with source and tuning controls flanking a centrally mounted volume knob.
Three 12-volt outlets (two up front, one in the second row) as well as a USB and auxiliary jack provide both power and physical interface for devices. Sync voice control is now standard on all trims, but without navigation it comes with a small 4.2-inch screen that displays phone, audio and other information.
Is There Enough Space? Though the Escape's interior space is average for the segment, it can feel confined relative to SUVs with more airy cockpits like the Honda CR-V. Rear-seat space is adequate for average-size adults, provided they aren't seated behind an occupant taller than 6 feet.
Cargo space is average for the segment. With 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, the Escape offers virtually identical storage to the Mazda CX-5. The Escape's split-folding rear seats fold completely flat, greatly enhancing usability. With its second row folded flat, the Escape offers 68.1 cubic feet of cargo space: about 5 cubes less than the Toyota RAV4, which is the class leader in this category.
What Are Its Closest Competitors? Certainly Honda's CR-V should be a consideration if you're shopping for a compact SUV with good fuel economy and practical use of space. It's available in front- or all-wheel drive but offers only one engine.
Nissan's Rogue was redesigned for 2014 and offers either a third row or a flexible cargo area with movable shelving. It also offers the highest EPA fuel economy rating in the segment, but comes only with a CVT (continuously variable transmission).
There's no denying both the frugality and driving reward offered by the Mazda CX-5. As the most fun-to-drive SUV in the segment it's ironic that the Mazda also brings highly competitive fuel economy to the table.
Why Should You Consider This SUV? The Escape's choice of three engines and two drive configurations give it broad-spectrum appeal not offered by many competitors. Top trim Escapes offer unique features like self parking and a hands-free power liftgate. Standard torque vectoring across all trims sends more power to the outside wheel in turns and gives the Escape a handling edge over many competitors.
Why Should You Think Twice About This SUV? Ford's EcoBoost engines are highly sensitive to driving style and will consume more fuel than their non-turbocharged competitors if their driver insists on using all the available torque, which is easy to do.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Is the 2014 Ford Escape a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2014 Ford Escape and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2014 Escape featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2014 Ford Escape? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2014 Ford Escape and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2014 Escape 3.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2014 Escape.
Review OK, so I had to replace the left front parking light bulb two weeks after we took delivery. Otherwise, the only times this car has been in the shop in its first 39K miles are the regular maintenance procedures (oil & filter changes, tire rotations, etc) done at the dealer's shop every 5K miles. Three weeks after delivery we had a 6- to 8-inch snowfall, with moderately heavy (wet) snow. I spent a couple hours driving on unsanded hills, through plowed snowbanks at driveways, around unplowed parking lots behind the business section, purposely putting this SUV into situations where getting stuck would be no surprise. The "Intelligent 4WD" performed perfectly, keeping me on the move with no loss of traction. My wife and I both drive this vehicle, and we both find the seating comfortable and the ride acceptably smooth. What it lacks in smoothness it more than makes up in handling and stability, excellent cornering, and quick responsiveness on the steering wheel and the accelerator. All-round fuel economy is 24.3 mpg; on a 2000-mile vacation trip just completed it was 27.8, with the air-conditioning operating the whole way. As a rule, we do not burn rubber on starts, but I have found no lack of power when I needed quick acceleration to merge with fast-moving traffic. The 6-speed transmission shifts smoothly, and the ecoboost turbo kicks in without the hesitation reported by some users. I often use the "S" position on the transmission selector lever to control downshifting on hills and on stop-sign approaches, to save the brakes, careful to not over-rev the engine. Both of us like the placement of the shift lever at the angled intersection of the center console and the instrument panel. At our last dealer maintenance service, the techs measured the tread in the tires, and told me all four tires show even wear, and have sufficient remaining tread to be street-legal for at least another 15K miles. There have been no interior rattles or squeaks in this car, or defects in form-fit-function. Road noise is sometimes an issue, but that depends on the type of road surface. I expected cross-wind gusts to compromise stability on the road, because of the higher profile vs. our previous sedans, but this has not proven to be an issue. One day shortly after we bought our Escape, a friend asked what I liked most about it. My instantaneous reply was " It's easy to get into and out of". (This is a big plus for folks in their 70's.) We have found the rear seat to be less comfortable than the front bucket seats, but acceptable at least for short trips. On most mornings I get heat from the dashboard ducts about half-way into the 2-mile trip to my coffee shop. On very cold (single-digit) mornings it takes most of that four-minute trip to get noticeable heat -- very acceptable. The rear cargo space is adequate for shopping trips for this two-person household. With the rear seats folded down on our recent vacation trip, the full cargo deck was more than sufficient to carry 3 large luggage bags, three smaller travel bags, a box for snacks and water bottles, and 8 large cartons of dishes which we delivered to a china & glassware replacement service, plus hanging clothes and sundry other items. My only complaint about our 2014 Escape is the "infotainment" panel located in the center of the dashboard, because its operating logic is so convoluted that it defies this simple but rational ex-computer programmer's ability to understand it. In 1979 I bought a new Sedan de Ville and kept it for 10 years. In the past, I've always considered that Caddy to be the best auto I've ever owned. But so far, this versatile 2014 Escape is far more fun to drive, and less trouble to own.
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Is the 2014 Ford Escape safe? The 2014 Ford Escape earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2014 Ford Escape?
Available Ford Escape 2014 Submodel Types: SUV, Hybrid
Available Trims: SE, Titanium, S, XLT, SEL, Limited, XLS, HEV, XLS Choice, XLS Popular, XLT Sport
Exterior Colors: Ingot Silver Metallic, Magnetic Metallic, Shadow Black, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, White Platinum Tri-Coat Metallic, Tuxedo Black Metallic, Oxford White, White Gold Metallic, Lightning Blue Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Blue Metallic, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Sunset Metallic, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Cinnamon Glaze, Sterling Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Sangria Red Metallic, Redfire Clearcoat Metallic, Black, Tungsten Grey Clearcoat Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Blue Flame Metallic, Gold Leaf Metallic, Dark Shadow Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Frosted Glass Metallic, Toreador Red Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Titanium Green Clearcoat Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Light Sage Clearcoat Metallic, Vista Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Karat Gold, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Electric Spice Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, Norsea Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Kiwi Clearcoat Metallic, Black Pearl Slate Clearcoat Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, Blazing Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Bright Red Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Gold Ash Clearcoat Metallic, Lime Squeeze Metallic, Satin Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Sonic Blue Clearcoat Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic
Interior Colors: Charcoal Black cloth, Charcoal Black leather/cloth, Charcoal Black leather, Medium Light Stone leather/cloth, Medium Light Stone cloth, Medium Light Stone leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Stone leather, Stone premium cloth, Camel leather, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Camel premium cloth, Stone cloth, Ebony Black, Medium/Dark Flint premium cloth, Medium/Dark Flint, Medium/Dark Pebble, Medium/Dark Pebble premium cloth, Ebony Black leather, Ebony Black premium leather, Medium Parchment, Medium/Dark Flint cloth, Medium/Dark Pebble cloth
Popular Features: Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Tire Pressure Warning, Stability Control, Trip Computer, Aux Audio Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Power Driver Seat, Back-up camera, AWD/4WD, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Alarm, Heated seats, Mobile Internet, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Remote Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Navigation, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Headlights, Upgraded Engine, Sunroof/Moonroof, Blind Spot Monitoring, Towing Hitch, Upgraded Stereo, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system