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The Ford Escape is one of the most popular compact SUVs. It provides comfortable seating, useful cargo space, and a smooth ride. Whether you’re considering a new or used version of this small crossover SUV, you’ll want to know the most common Ford Escape problems and how they could affect your driving experience.

What are some common Ford Escape problems?

2020 Ford Escape in Orange Posed on a Grassy Lawn
2020 Ford Escape | Ford

There are a few common Ford Escape problems to be aware of. Hundreds of thousands of consumers have driven the Ford Escape since it debuted in 2000 for the 2001 model year. The automotive repair and maintenance site RepairPal has collected data from real owners to show the most common Ford Escape problems. Here are the top three areas where this Ford SUV could improve:

  • Ignition misfires — reported by 435 owners
  • Check engine light and hesitation or stumbling while driving — reported by 387 owners
  • Internal transfer case problems on four-wheel-drive models — reported by 217 owners

Typically, ignition misfires in the Ford Escape occur because of a faulty ignition coil. This part tends to go bad after an average of 129,000 miles and costs between $99 and $128 to replace. Replacing the ignition coil as soon as the problem is detected is important in preventing further damage to the engine.

What are some other Ford Escape problems?

The second most common Ford Escape problem is engine hesitation. It occurs while driving, which can be scary on the highway. In the most severe cases, the EGR valve is damaged and must be replaced. This repair generally costs $151 to $178.

The 4WD transfer case in some Ford Escape models is notoriously troublesome, becoming damaged from regular use. When the noise begins, it could sound like a bearing howling, but it can turn into a clicking at higher speeds. Changing the transfer case fluid can help, but most owners reporting this problem have had to replace the entire unit. This problem generally appears after 125,000 miles with regular use of the 4WD system.

Is the Ford Escape a reliable compact SUV?

2023 Ford Escape on a Rooftop Parking Deck
2023 Ford Escape | Ford

The Ford Escape earned a good reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0 from RepairPal. That places the Escape 16th out of 24 compact SUVs. The rating is based on three factors:

  • Cost: The Ford Escape’s average annual repair and maintenance costs are $600, compared with $521 for all compact SUVs.
  • Frequency: Escape owners take their vehicles to a mechanic for unscheduled repairs 0.31 times per year, compared with 0.3 for the class.
  • Severity: The probability of severe repairs for the Ford Escape is 11%; that’s on par with 11% for all compact SUVs.

Although this small SUV is typically reliable, some model years have received more owner complaints than others. Five of the worst Ford Escape years based on the number and severity of complaints are 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014. Conversely, the 2016 Escape is an excellent model year.

Is the 2023 Ford Escape a good compact SUV?

Ford redesigned the Escape for the latest model year, marking a new generation for this compact SUV. The 2023 Escape has two hybrid engines, a sporty ST-Line trim, and sleek styling. Ford also added new advanced driver-assistance technology to make the Escape safer than before. In addition, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains boast an estimated driving range of 400 miles.

Overall, the 2023 Ford Escape is a solid but middling compact SUV. Despite its fuel-efficient powertrains and easy-to-use infotainment system, the base engine is noisy, and the interior materials look cheap.