2013 Ford Escape Owners Are Fed-Up With The SUV’s Disastrous Engine

The 2013 Ford Escape has had quite a fall from grace. Shoppers went crazy for the compact SUV upon its initial release. However, it has since given owners nothing but problems.

What went wrong with the 2013 Escape, and is it still worthy of consideration on the used-car market? Let’s take a deeper dive into the first model of the Escape’s third generation.

The 2013 Ford Escape seemed like a winner

A green 2013 Ford Escape on display in front of a blue wall
A 2013 Ford Escape Titanium during the Toronto’s International Auto Show 2013 | Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Some critics weren’t all-in on the Escape. But even they couldn’t foresee the troubles that would plague the vehicle for years to come.

For example, CNET’s review of the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium heavily emphasized how the model wasn’t the “boxy” SUV of years past.

The publication praised the Escape’s punchy yet efficient 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Notably, this powerplant is only standard on Titanium models, but some mid-tier trims are equipped with it as well. Ford outfitted the lower trim levels with either the standard 168-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder or the available 178-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

Meanwhile, CNET didn’t fall in love with the SUV’s new design or its lackluster MyFord Touch system. The publication gave the 2013 Ford Escape a fairly respectable overall score of 7.1/10.

What went wrong with the 2013 Ford Escape?

It’s always risky to purchase an all-new product. Nevertheless, Americans didn’t hold back when the all-new 2013 Ford Escape hit dealership showrooms.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) didn’t hesitate to recall the problematic 2013 Escape. 

The government-backed organization issued the first one in July 2012. Fifteen more recalls followed, with the most recent occurring in June 2020 for defective doors that may open whilst driving.

However, its unpredictable doors aren’t even the most significant issue you should worry about. Specific models feature an engine that’s caused drivers endless headaches, and it makes the 2013 Ford Escape an SUV to avoid at all costs.

This engine gave Escape owners the most problems

The NHTSA recalled Escape models equipped with the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in December 2012 and June 2013 for similar issues. The organization determined that the powerplant could overheat and leak oil or other fluids, possibly resulting in a fire.

It also recalled the same models in September 2012 for a leaking coolant issue.

Owners became fed up with the frequent issues and recalls. The NHTSA registered a whopping 1,829 complaints against the 2013 Ford Escape, and 968 of them had to do with the SUV’s engine and cooling system.

Ford was recently hit with a class-action lawsuit against Ford for its leaking EcoBoost engines. Unsurprisingly, the case includes the 2013 Escape.

The NHTSA also has an open investigation, which began in July 2018, for the Escape’s 1.6-liter engine. Drivers reported a loss of power without warning, causing the SUV to stall while driving. 

Is it worth it to buy a used 2013 Ford Escape with a different engine?

A used 2013 Ford Escape on a dealership lot
A 2013 Ford Escape is displayed on a sales lot in California | Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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It’s best to avoid this troubled model altogether. Escapes equipped with one of the other two engines aren’t as likely to be as problematic. 
However, we are referring to an aging pre-owned SUV that already has 16 recalls attached to its name. These used 2013 Ford Escapes could still experience other severe issues. So, we’d recommend finding a different pre-owned model with a better reliability history.