Detail changes refine the best-selling Ford Escape for 2014, including a new backup camera and better towing compatibility when equipped with the clever foot-activated power tailgate. The biggest other change to celebrate? A price cut of over $1,000 on the sporty Titanium EcoBoost trim versus 2013.
Full (versus partial on 2013 and before) leather trim inside the Titanium specification is joined by a gigantic available moonroof and a new style of wheels, in what Ford calls 18-inch sparkle nickel painted aluminum.
The Escape still carries much of its concept-car style onto the roads even without the upgraded Titanium’s xenon and LED lights. The proportions are firmly modern but maintain a sense of adventure with tough plastic for the fenders as sills. Overall, this redesign of the previous boxy Escape is a large leap, perhaps two or three normal generations in a single bound.
As such, the tech underneath also matches the future-tech mission of the exterior styling. Three available engines and a twin-clutch automatic are at the very forefront of tech in the crossover space, where the RAV4 and CR-V still bumble along with dated four-bangers and thirsty transmission setups. Is there anything slower than a Honda driver on the phone?
The Escape’s appeal is very solid in the crossover market, even with a price range that can grow far larger than its budget rivals. In top specification, this is truly the thinking man’s Evoque : a mechanically identical sibling of the mini Range Rover , but for almost exactly half the price at all trim levels.
In the real world, is the Escape as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, or as big as the brand-new, 2014 Nissan Rogue that arrives at dealers in November?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Escape, including all the new colors and trim options to go along with the latest backup camera and SYNC technology.
The Escape is still looking very sharp for 2014, nearly a year since its launch on American shores. The slower-than-normal roll-out of the new Escape partially explains why it is not a more frequent sight on the roads, but things are now at full production capacity to sate unprecedented buyer demand.
All Escapes are pretty sharp on the road, with only a marginal style demerit for the cheapest trim levels. All wear 17-inch or greater wheels with largely body-color trims throughout. The biggest difference between Titanium trim and the others is up front, where the base models lose the LED accent in the lower headlights and also the fog lights from down below. The lower lamp becomes a dark orange blinker element, which is not as premium on the road.
The standard privacy glass in back and LED brake lights do wonders for the Escape’s style in traffic, where it even makes the twin-turbocharged Explorer Sport look quite normal.
2014 Ford Escape - Key Updates:
- Hands-free liftgate will be available with Class II trailer tow package (late availability)
- SYNC now available with AppLink
- four-way manual passenger seat now standard
- New full leather-trimmed seats standard on Titanium
- New rear view camera standard on all series
- New exterior colors: Sunset Metallic and Karat Gold (late availability)
- New standard wheel on Titanium: 18-inch sparkle nickel painted aluminum
The Escape’s cabin is largely carryover for 2014, aside from the addition of a standard four-way manual adjustment for the passenger seat. A bit shocking that it did not include that before, but no mind.
The cabin is futuristic and a very easy place to become an expert in all the coolest in-car technology. From Bluetooth calls, to SYNC voice activation, to the on-board media and entertainment choices; the Escape is a very different type of car than even luxury cars from 2005.
The backup camera addition is welcome, as one of the main limitations of the new Ford designs is limited visibility (as least versus the previous model and its thin and upright windshield glass).
For the Evoque experience inside, the creme leather and huge twin-pane moonroof are very nice luxuries.
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
No news here aside from a big price cut for the Titanium trim, but at the expense of losing the standard 240-horsepower EcoBoost engine — the 1.6-liter EcoBoost is now standard. Front or AWD is available on the mid-spec SE and the Titanium up top, and all the engines run a standard six-speed automatic.
The powershift Ford dual clutch transmission is a world better than it was when first launched here on the Focus in 2011. Continual software refinements are better able to address some of the (very few) complaints about it being choppy in city traffic.
Besides that, all the coolest parts of the DCT are present in the Escape. This means snappy changes and much better control of the car when in the mountains or on a track. Ford was a bit sneaky when severing ties with Jaguar Land Rover - agreeing on generous future deals to provide them engines, but selectively withholding significant tech like this twin clutch automatic.
Sprint pace is pretty relaxed in the two lower specficiations, but nears 8.0 seconds flat with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost.
2014 Ford Escape - Performance Details
|Engine||2.5-liter 16-valve I-4 With iVCT||1.6-liter EcoBoost 16-valve I-4 With iVCT||2.0-liter EcoBoost 16-valve I-4 With iVCT|
|Transmission||6-Speed Automatic||6-Speed Automatic||6-Speed Automatic|
|Powertrain Layout||FWD||Front-drive, AWD Opt||Front-drive, AWD Opt|
|Power (Horsepower)||168 @ 6,000 rpm||178 @ 5,700 rpm||240 @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque (Torque)||170 @ 4,500 rpm||184 @ 2,500||270 @ 3,000|
|0-60 mph (Seconds)||9.5, est||8.9, est||8.0, est|
|Top Speed (MPH)||108, est||108, est||130, limited|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||22/31/NA||23/32/NA FWD, 22/30/NA AWD||22/30/NA FWD, 21/28/NA AWD|
Pricing and Availability
The Escape is available now at Ford stores nationwide.
2014 Ford Escape - Prices
|2014 Ford Escape||MSRP|
The CX-5 is also a fresh crossover with a sporty driving demeanor. A more powerful optional engine cuts the original CX-5’s sprint times very nicely, while the base model comes standard with a manual transmission. Base CX-5’s look a bit better than base Escapes, but overall they are very closely matched in most areas. The CX-5 does win on the max possible highway mileage, where its 36 mpg rating is the best of any crossover.
Brand new and revealed this week, the new Rogue is looking sharp with a classy new nose design and an optional third row of seats for the first time. The Rogue’s LED’s are slightly more impressive than the Escape Titanium’s LED style, and the Nissan even offers LED low beams for the headlights.
For one of the most stylish and easy-driving crossover, the Escape’s best-seller status seems like a sure thing in the future. Something about a nimble but high platform even kept the boxy previous generation in buyers good graces.
The latest Focus handling eagerness is refined a bit, with a dash of Fusion-like settings to make the handling even more relaxing. The Escape Titanium is still a very impressive machine, least of all because it shares nearly everything with the Range Rover Evoque . As cool as the Evoque is, does it really seem worth twice the price?
- Escape price range: about $23,000 - $32,000
- Evoque price range: about $44,000 - $59,000
A price cut of the top Titanium trim even lops about $1200 off the price for the 2014 model year. There’s no escaping it: Ford has done a great job on this crossover.
- Classy and cute styling, the base orange blinkers are appealing on the road
- Titanium’s larger wheels and LED lights will be tempting for many buyers
- Price cut!
- If you have a pulse and like driving, skip the RAV4 and CR-V in favor of the Escape
- Crowded segment. Escape still seems new, but not compared to CX-5 or Rogue
- A little stingy with equipment at the base price level
- Where is the hybrid?
- Lots of engines with confusing size versus performance and price
The 2014 Ford Escape five-passenger small utility vehicle combines clever, intuitive technologies that make life easier, outstanding fuel economy and spirited driving in a stylish package.
A key signature technology of Escape is the hands-free liftgate, which allows quick and easy access to cargo with a gentle kicking action. Now this clever solution is available with the Class II trailer tow package, adding even more versatility to America’s best-selling SUV.
“The Ford Escape combines outstanding fuel economy, versatility and helpful, intuitive technology in a sleek package to make it the ‘smarter utility vehicle,’” said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. “This is a hot and competitive segment, and we’ve added more reasons for customers to consider Escape.”
Customers have eagerly responded to the new Escape, which made its debut at Los Angeles in 2011 ahead of its arrival around the globe.
Escape had its best sales month ever in March 2013 with 28,934 vehicles sold and followed that with its best April ever. Escape posted record quarter sales of 72,983 vehicles, surpassing record third-quarter 2012 sales of 72,908 vehicles.
Chief among the additions this year is that the hands-free power liftgate and Class II towing package are now available together. This means Escape owners now can trailer-tow up to 3,500 pounds with the convenience of the hands-free power liftgate.
Enabled by motion technology used in today’s video game systems, a gentle kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper activates, unlocks and raises the liftgate when the driver has the Escape key fob. This allows quick and easy access to the cargo area without needing to set down packages or dig out keys. The same process closes the hatch.
Complementing these easy-to-use features is outstanding fuel economy, which is one of the key reasons customers are flocking to small utility vehicles. Each of the two EcoBoost® four-cylinder engines, a 1.6-liter and a 2.0-liter, delivers outstanding fuel economy – up to 32 mpg highway – with great performance through core EcoBoost technologies of turbocharging and direct injection.
Escape’s EcoBoost engines also add twin independent variable camshaft timing to this successful recipe. Ti-VCT offers up to a 7 percent improvement in peak power and a 5 percent improvement in low-speed torque for better acceleration, passing and merging performance, as well as up to a 4.5 percent improvement in fuel economy versus engines not equipped with the technology.
Smooth, engaging driving
These EcoBoost engines are mated to specially calibrated, six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmissions, which are standard and allow drivers who want more hands-on experiences to manually control gear selection from a switch on the left-hand side of the shifter.
The specially engineered torque converter contributes improved driving feel, silky-smooth shifts and even better fuel economy. Engineers also installed revised gear ratios for a balanced driving feel in all situations.
Intelligent 4WD uses advanced software and sensors to analyze data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and driver input 20 times faster than the blink of an eye.
The system uses all the sensor inputs to turn the vehicle in the direction the driver wants it to go. Intelligent 4WD builds on the preemptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.
This means Escape delivers outstanding handling on pristine pavement and in adverse conditions as well, along with excellent traction off-road.
More intuitive technology that makes life easier
The 2014 Ford Escape offers a host of technologies that help make life easier, including:
- SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, which offers multiple ways for customers to manage and control information through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs. The system’s latest look makes phone, navigation, entertainment and climate controls even easier to use
- Parallel parking the Escape is virtually stress-free with active park assist. With the press of a button, the system detects an available parallel parking space and automatically steers the vehicle into it. Drivers control only the gas and brake pedals
- Maneuvering parking lots and traveling open roadways becomes even safer and less stressful with Escape’s sensor-based BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert. BLIS displays an alert in the side mirror when a vehicle is detected entering a blind spot. Cross-traffic alert warns if traffic is detected approaching from the sides, such as when Escape is leaving a parking space in reverse
- Escape offers Curve Control technology to automatically slow the vehicle when it’s cornering too fast and Torque Vectoring Control to help accelerate through a turn Ford Escape is manufactured at Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Price starts at $22,700 plus $895 destination and delivery charges.