$11,177 - $15,192

2014 Ford Escape Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Ford Escape was new.


Performance: 8.3

More than one reviewer endorses the 2014 Ford Escape as one of the most fun-to-drive compact SUVs on the market. While test drivers say the base Ford Escape has satisfactory power, they are thrilled with the hearty performance delivered by models with the optional EcoBoost engines. Most test drivers say that the Escape offers superb handling, with plenty of agility and control around turns.

  • "Overall, the 2014 Ford Escape is arguably the best-driving compact SUV on the market today." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • “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." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "The best compact SUV in the mainstream segment, with the handling of the Mazda CX-5 and the quietness of premium-segment models." -- MSNBC (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Ford Escape comes standard with a 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Turbocharged 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engines are available, which produce 178 and 240 horsepower, respectively. The EPA rates the base Escape at 22/31 mpg city/highway, which is average for the class, and the Escape earns its best fuel economy ratings with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, returning 23/32 mpg.

Critics say the base trim's 2.5-liter engine delivers adequate power, which should satisfy most shoppers. Still, many prefer the performance that the EcoBoost engines provide, noting that both optional engines deliver plenty of highway passing power. A few reviewers are partial to the brawny power of the 2.0-liter engine, which one auto reviewer says is a great choice for drivers who want the power of a V6.

  • "The base 2.5-liter engine is competent enough, but it's the EcoBoost engines that really make the Escape zip along. We found the 1.6-liter engine more than satisfying in both its power delivery and fuel consumption. The Titanium's optional 2.0-liter turbo is a brute, and those accustomed to having a V6 will want this option." -- AutoTrader
  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the 2014 Ford Escape is one of the better-handling options in its class. They also note that the Escape offers a smooth ride, and that the suspension easily absorbs bumps and road imperfections. Some test drivers say that the available 19-inch wheels can make the ride a bit harsher, while others claim that the Escape rides just as well as with these wheels as other models.

  • "The Escape's taut suspension settings give this little SUV a sporty demeanor, not unlike the related Focus hatchback. We like the ride on the SE and SEL, but found the Titanium's larger 19-in wheels had a tendency to magnify road imperfections." -- AutoTrader
  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "The Escape rides well, whether it's on the SE model's seventeen-inch wheels or the Titanium model's nineteen-inchers. … In other words, an Escape with a more powerful engine and larger tires should ride and handle similarly to one with a less powerful engine and smaller tires." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "We found the 2.0-liter Escape Titanium with its large 19-inch tires and additional 200 pounds of heft (thanks to the all-wheel drive) to be the smoother ride and better handler." -- Popular Mechanics (2013)

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