The Ford Escape is one of the most popular compact SUVs on the US market which makes it one of the most popular cars in the US market in general. The Escape is popular because it gets lots of standard equipment, it is really safe, and it offers enough seating space for up to five adults.
However, even though the Escape is a good car overall, there are some issues worth talking about. The Ford Escape tends to suffer from issues related to the transmission, the engine, the AWD system, the brakes, and issues with the power steering system. Most of these are due to lackluster maintenance which means that they can be prevented if you maintain the car well enough.
Older 2006-2009 models seem to be the ones experiencing the most issues, but the 2014 Ford Escape is the worst specific model year for the Escape in general. Therefore, the Escape is a decently reliable car, but only if you maintain it well enough.
If you fail to do all the necessary maintenance whenever needed, you will face yourself with significant repair bills that cost more than a decade worth of maintenance.
Ford Escape – Transmission issues
The Ford Escape is available with either an automatic or a manual gearbox. According to many sources online, the manual Escape is known to go through clutches relatively quickly if you drive the car in an aggressive manner. Automatic Escape models are prone to delayed shifting, hesitation, and grinding noises while putting the car in drive or reverse.
It seems like Ford recalled as many as 320,000 Ford Escape models due to transmission issues that could cause the car to stall. The most common solutions for these issues are either complete transmission replacement or rebuild if possible. These tend to cost between $3,000 and $4,000.
Ford Escape – Engine issues
The ignition coils seem to be the most common Ford Escape engine-related issues and the only way to fix them is to replace them entirely which could cost up to $1,000. Models made between 2001 and 2013 seem to be the worst. Either way, be sure to replace your coils if you come across this issue because you can cause a lot more damage if you don’t.
The EGR (Exhaust gas recirculation) valve also seems to be a sore point of the Ford Escape. The EGR fails to maintain the right pressure and can cause the engine to stall and prompt the check engine warning light. These aren’t as expensive to fix, therefore you should fix them the moment they start causing any trouble.
Ford Escape – AWD system issues
The Ford Escape comes with an AWD system, but the AWD system on the Escape is not without its share of faults. The most common AWD system issue with the Ford Escape is associated with the transfer case which can get damaged during regular use. The good news is that a replacement transfer case is not all that expensive, but the bad news is that transfer case issues shouldn’t be a thing at all.
If you experience any howling or clicking noises, chances are that your transfer case is to blame. Be sure to take your Escape to a Ford dealer and they should be able to replace the transfer case for about $100.
Ford Escape – Brakes issues
The Ford Escape is also known to experience problems with the brakes, especially the 2016 and 2017 models. The brakes can get noisy and relatively hard to press which can be a severe safety issue. In order to get the car to a complete stop, you need to stomp onto the brakes with quite a bit of force.
These issues are caused by worn-out pads, a faulty brake booster, or issues with the brake vacuum pump. These issues aren’t as common on other Escape models, but they do cost about $400-$500 to fix.
Ford Escape – Power steering system issues
Power steering system issues are something that plagues only older Ford Escape models which means that newer models are a lot better. The NHTSA investigated almost 750,000 Ford Escape models between 2008 and 2011 due to power steering issues while the car is in motion.
Ford says that this issue was caused by incorrect software EPAS configurations which weren’t able to detect driver input and thus the system failed to assist the driver while steering.
Which Ford Escape models should be avoided?
The Ford Escape is very different reliability-wise through its production. For example, according to customer satisfaction surveys, the 2014 Ford Escape is the worst model out of them all. However, 2006-2009 Ford Escape models also seem to be at the lower end of the reliability spectrum.
You should also avoid the 2013 Ford Escape and the 2005 Ford Escape. All other Ford Escape models seem to be a lot better. However, it makes sense to consider a Ford Escape from these model years if you are able to find one that has been kept in great condition as most of these issues are down to lackluster maintenance.
Is the Ford Escape a good family car?
The Ford Escape is competing with some of the best family cars on the market such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. The Escape has lots of seating space in all rows and it comes with a fairly large trunk. This makes it a great family car and arguably better than some RAV4 and CR-V models.
Moreover, the Escape also gets lots of family-friendly features in the interior which further makes the Escape a really good family car. If you have the chance, try to test drive one to see if it fits your specific usage requirements.
How safe is the Ford Escape?
Ford knows that the Escape is designed for family use and that is why they made sure to make it as safe as it can be. Therefore, the IIHS rewarded the Escape with a stellar 5-star safety rating in both front seats and the back seats.
It also got a 5-star rating in every other category which means that the Escape certainly is a really safe car overall.