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Sometimes, even trusted automakers and some of their beloved models have their bad years. HotCars put out a list of Ford vehicles made in recent years that it wouldn’t recommend buying for various reasons. Mainly because the vehicles have problems with reliability, a significant mechanical issue, a long list of recalls, or some other reason ownership can be costly. As a result, you should steer clear of five Ford SUVs from specific model years. What problems do they have, and why should used SUV buyers stay away from a specific Explorer, Expedition, Edge, Escape, and EcoSport?

1. 2017 Ford Explorer

A silver 2017 Ford Explorer is one Ford SUV to avoid from these model years.
2017 Ford Explorer | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

First, it’s no secret the Ford Explorer has had its struggles. Although today it’s an ultra-popular midsize SUV, the Explorer had many reliability issues in the past. There are still plenty of things to love about it today, and most reliability problems were solved with modern versions. However, the 2017 model year was a down year for it.

According to HotCars, the 2017 Ford Explorer has had 10 recalls since going on sale just six years ago. There were minor issues, like a loose roof rail and more critical problems. For example, a rear-toe link fracture could lead to losing steering control while driving. Other issues that have plagued the 2017 model include wheel separation because of no self-retention feature and heat shield issues that may lead to the steering gear overheating.

2. 2018 Ford Expedition

A 2018 Ford Expedition is one model to avoid because of its many dangerous recalls.
2018 Ford Expedition | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Next, the large SUV segment is filled with excellent options, like the 2023 Ford Expedition today. However, in the past, the Expedition wasn’t always perfect. Specifically, in 2018, HC says the full-size model had six recalls, mostly involving the seats and powertrain. Many buyers are often interested in a used Expedition from this model year because it was redesigned. The recalls might be enough to convince them otherwise.

Second-row seats were missing reinforcement brackets, meaning the seats could move in the event of a crash. Next, the 10-speed automatic transmission can lose its “Park” function because a rolling pin was not installed. We’re guessing you can figure out what happens when a large SUV can’t correctly shift to “Park.”

3. 2012 Ford Edge

A red 2012 Ford Edge parked outside on grass, it's a Ford SUV model year to avoid
2012 Ford Edge | Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The Edge is an excellent option if you’re searching for something more reasonably priced for a used Ford SUV. However, HC says the 2012 model year is one best avoided. This model year has MyFord Touch controls that famously force drivers to take their eyes off the road. Unlike other Ford SUVs that made the sit of do not buy, this one only had three recalls.

Unfortunately, the three recalls are significant enough to be as bad as 10 for the Explorer. They include fluid leaks that can cause fires and a link shaft that can disengage while driving. Many Ford SUVs made in the last 10 years suffer from recalls that cause vital parts to stop working.

4. 2020 Ford Escape

For the 2020 model year, the automaker redesigned the Escape. It changed to a raised-hatchback body style, looking more like a big car than a small crossover to many. Additionally, the 2020 Escape gained new advanced safety features, powertrains, and technology. Even with these upgrades, it wasn’t enough to avoid the issues.

HC says the 2020 Ford Escape has had 10 recalls. Many are significant issues, like electrical system malfunctions, that can cause a loss of drive power. Used SUV buyers probably want to avoid dealing with that regularly.

5. 2019 Ford EcoSport


2 Ford SUVs Saw a Decline in Reliability

Finally, the 2019 Ford EcoSport is also best avoided. Throughout the EcoSport’s life, it was ridiculed and constantly fell short of other SUVs in the Ford lineup. The 2019 model year is no different, as it eventually led to the vehicle’s discontinuation after 2022.

HotCars says the 2019 model year has excellent handling without the power to match. Additionally, most owners experience engine problems with the EcoSport’s speed lagging behind the driver’s behavior on the foot pedal. Other owners have complained of a loss of engine oil pressure because of broken engine oil pump belt tensioners.

Ford SUVs from these model years are best avoided

In conclusion, five Ford SUVs from the previous decade are best avoided in the used car market. Steer clear of the 2017 Explorer, 2018 Expedition, 2012 Edge, 2020 Escape, and 2019 EcoSport. Each has a few problems owners shouldn’t have to deal with. For example, many have recalls that cause outlandish and costly issues or that put the driver and passengers in danger. Others are just plain bad, like the EcoSport with its tiny, underwhelming engine and the Escape that can lose power.