Crossover & Midsize

The 2014 Ford Escape Is Affordable and Defective

Depending on where you look, the 2014 Ford Escape appears to be a solid crossover SUV to buy used. Generally speaking, the Escape earns kudos for its sporty handling and affordable price tag. And while that’s true for the 2014 model year, it’s best to leave this version alone entirely. 

Why the 2014 Ford Escape is the worst 

A 2014 Ford Escape on a car dealership lot.
A Ford Escape on a car dealership lot | Carl D. Walsh/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The 2014 Escape is a terrible model year to buy, and that’s not an exaggeration. There are numerous problem spots on this crossover, and one of the main reasons why it’s the worst has to do with its transmission. Owners reported that sometimes the crossover would unexpectedly stop while driving. Other drivers said that their Escape wouldn’t shift properly. These problems apply to both the manual and automatic transmissions. 

There are 14 recall actions on the 2014 Ford Escape 

A rearview of a white Ford Escape SUV.
Ford Escape | Ford

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The transmission is a major red flag for the Escape, but there are other concerning issues on this vehicle. The NHTSA recalled the 2014 Escape 14 times and recorded over 1,000 complaints. The first one had to do with the SUV’s front seat assembly, which could loosen while driving. The second had to do with the Escape’s door, which could unexpectedly open.

Other recalls relate to the Escape’s sunroof assembly, electrical system warning, and fuel system. There were also potential issues with this Ford’s electrical system, door locks, engine, and engine cooling. And on top of all of these recall actions, the Escape received below-average crash test safety scores. The NHTSA gave it a four out of a five safety rating. The IIHS gave it a poor rating for its overlap crash test. 

But some critics haven’t completely written it off 

It would be best to avoid the Escape, but some critics still recommend it, mostly because it’s cheap. U.S. News named it as its #9 most affordable 2014 SUV. It also cracked its list of best-used crossovers SUVs between $10K-$15K, but only as #71 out of 100. As a new model, U.S. News also points out that the Escape is good on fuel economy and above-average for cargo space. The 2014 Escape was also the first to have Ford’s Sync infotainment system as a standard feature plus a rearview camera. 

If you really want a used Escape

A Ford Escape on display at an auto show
Ford Escape | GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore the 2020 Ford Escape

Many of the older Escape models have low-reliability ratings, so critics like U.S. News recommend newer model years. The 2015-2016 versions have better reliability ratings. In particular, the 2016 Escape presents better value, and it only has one recall action on it. Before you purchase any used car, make sure to address any safety recalls with the auto dealer. 

Other options to consider 

There many more well-rounded crossovers to choose over the 2014 Escape. For example, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 offers fun, sporty driving dynamics. Plus, the CX-5 has earned far better dependability ratings. The 2014 Honda CR-V is also worth a look, and so is the 2014 Chevy Equinox.