What is a Ford Escape?
The Ford Escape first appeared in 2000, as a 2001 model year priced below the Explorer and immediately proved itself popular with buyers. As Ford owned a controlling interest in Mazda at the time, the Escape was similar in many ways to the Mazda Tribute and shared several of its components. A second generation came along in 2008 and various interesting versions started appearing in this form, including a plug-in Hybrid model.
A total redesign took place in 2013 which propelled Ford’s top-selling compact SUV substantially further upmarket. With its bold, appealing look and its all-new platform shared in part with the Ford Focus, the days of the Escape being somewhat the base model in the market quickly disappeared.
2014 Ford Escape SE Price & Specs
The 2014 Escape lineup offers three model choices (S, SE, and Titanium), but it’s the 4WD SE (midrange model) that we will concentrate on today.
Our 4WD 1.6L SE test vehicle came base priced at $29,199 but with a few niceties added (Nav/Equip group 201A/Chrome package) it topped out at $34,644, for which you get a good-looking and well-presented compact SUV.
All models feature a 6-speed automatic transmission and fuel ratings are respectable at 9.2L/100km (city) and 6.6L/100km (hwy).
Safety equipment standard on all models includes AdvanceTrac traction and stability control with roll stability control, Curve Control, Torque Vectoring Control, two-stage frontal airbags, driver knee airbag, side airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, tire pressure monitor, and rear-view camera.
Driving the 2014 Ford Escape SE
The 1.6L GTDI engine offers up ample power (178hp), although there were signs of occasional hesitation at times, especially from a standing or low-rolling start. However, forgiving this, the twin-turbo power when it comes is strong and I would view the vehicle as quite sprightly.
The overall ride quality is in the good to very good range, and apart from the occasional engine growl upon heavy acceleration, the 2014 Ford Escape SE offers consumers a surprisingly quiet ride.
The 6-speed automatic transmission is efficient, yet the toggle switch on the side of the shifter, designed for manual shifting, is perhaps a tad on the awkward side. This has become popular on many Ford vehicles of late, and personally I’d prefer to nudge the stick rather than fumble with a little button. Of course, as most owners will probably drive their vehicles in auto mode, it’s more of a personal preference than an issue.
Steering, stability, and brake effectiveness are perhaps best described as bettering most in its class, as the 4WD Escape SE can be driven in a somewhat rapid fashion with complete and utter confidence.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Ford Escape SE
The exterior styling of the 2014 Escape SE is bang up to date and could possibly be described as the new segment benchmark. The vehicle boasts a sports-like image which other SUV manufacturers often attempt yet fail.
Stepping inside, the sporty look continues with a well-designed cockpit layout tuned with the driver in mind. There’s also a sizeable centre console storage compartment that is useful as it’s deep, although I wasn’t overly impressed with the cup holders as they tended to grip my medium Timmy’s a tad too enthusiastically.
However, for the rest of the interior, the materials used are mostly soft, and the plastics appear to be of high grade.
The 2014 Ford Escape also offers some pretty good cargo space (68.1 cubic feet behind the first row and 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row), and the standard 60/40 rear seat folds flat quickly using one lever.
Comparing the 2014 Ford Escape SE
While the Ford Escape has several competitors listed (Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and Volkswagen Tiguan), it manages to dance to its own tune. The lineup offers a good selection of engine choices and its sporty platform tends to pamper to the more spirited driver.
While not perfect (in my opinion, no vehicle is), it’s a very nice package for what is available in the compact SUV market today.