Ford has come a long way in recent years. They are still known for their workhorse pick-up trucks but they’ve also carved out for themselves a spot in the reasonably-priced consumer car space. With SUV’s and Crossovers on the rise, Ford has again entered the market with their own line up. From that collection, I had the chance to try out the 2014 Ford Escape.
2014 Ford Escape SE / Titanium SUV Crossover Review
If I had to describe this car in one word, it would be ‘solid’. The steering is somewhat heavier and the suspension is a bit tighter. What that means is that this model feels like it has substance. You feel safe and in control at all (well, most) times. My husband and I mostly drove around town doing errands but it was even a smooth ride all the way to California’s Great America (amusement park) and back, which was about 1/2-hour each way. One note – the turning radius isn’t very good so you might want to give yourself extra room when making U-turns.
The interior and exterior design of the car are aesthetically pleasing with soft, yet defined lines. Basically, it looks good both inside and out. I absolutely love the Ice Blue lighting and the layout of the dash is clean. I did have a hard time getting used to the cruise control and handsfree paddles but the gauges were simple and clear – the best way to be in such an area.
There was plenty of room inside and out. The back seats folded all the way down for a level cargo surface and, in the upright position, also reclined at a slight angle. This is really appreciated when you’re stuck in the back on a long trip and don’t want to sit at a perfect 45° angle the whole time. My daughter did notice that the middle seat is more narrow. Make sure to only put the skinny kids there 😛 At least they’ll be happy having control of the backseat vents.
Did you notice that middle compartment? It’s nice and deep, perfect for those tall water bottles that don’t quite fit in the cup holders or the door cubbies. The mini-media setup is a great idea for charging those electronics or plugging stereo A/V cables in for a portable video player.
The Ford Escape is supposed to be pet-friendly. With a lower clearance in the back, larger dogs can get in and out without so much burden on their joints. In theory, this makes total sense. Unfortunately, since our clumsy dog Speckles tore her the ligament in her other leg and required surgery, there was no climbing in and jumping out of the back for her. So, I decided to compare it to the Honda CR-V we own.
Side by side, the height was basically the same. However, many other cars that I’ve driven have been much higher and I usually have to lift Speckles above my head to get her in (well, not really but you get the point). When you have a dog that’s 60+ lbs. those inches make a HUGE difference.
The (hands-free) power lift gate did come in handy when it was time to bring Speckles home to recover . . . when I figured out how to work it properly. It is a little slow so some patience is needed, something I obviously run short on as seen below.
Due to some issue with the windshield, I first had some driving time in the SE version of the 2014 Ford Escape before it was switched out with the Titanium. I must say that the SE FWD and the Titanium AWD were like night and day.
For one thing, the middle control console is completely different. The SE had a teeny, tiny screen for the backup camera and oodles of buttons. Its lack of touchscreen capability called for extra options, including a full-on 10-digit keypad. There’s no sugar-coating it here – it was all terribly confusing. Plus, the buttons were small and tough to read. Working with this while in motion would be equivalent to texting while driving.
On the Titanium, the need for all that is replaced with a large touchscreen. This was much clearer and easier to us. I had to be very deliberate when pressing on the desired option to evoke a response though. Since the screen was set in the dash quite deeply, there were times I had to move my head / body over to see it.
Both cars had a built-in blind spot feature. The SE takes an ‘old school’ approach with a curved mirror affixed in the corner. My mom said that she often used something similar, in lieu of the rear view mirror, on an old truck her family used to own. For me, it was hard to adjust my eyes to the two types of reflection. The Titanium version had the more modern monitoring. A small circle would light up when a car entered the blind spot.
Sync (voice activated system) and keyless entry come standard on the SE and the Titanium. Another feature they had was the Keyless Entry Keypad. Reminiscent of the number locks some cars had on their door handle, the touch-sensitive panel could be programmed with your own unique entry code.This was not set up in the cars I tested so I couldn’t really try it out. However, I thought I should mention it since I kind of said to myself, “What in the world is this for?” when the numbers lit up.
If you are thinking about getting a Ford Escape, definitely go with the Titanium package. The leather trim, larger touchscreen, stronger engine, etc. really made it a a car you’d be happy with. There is a good $8000 difference in the upgrade but getting this car without those extras just won’t made sense. It will impact your entire driving experience. Period.
There was one thing I had qualms with in the 2014 Ford Escape. Around the lower exterior, you’ll find numerous sensors placed round about. While this is a great safety feature, it can be overkill. Anytime the sensors picked up a nearby object, the car would start beeping. When we pulled in or out of our parking space in the underground garage, it would beep due to the pillars. At the crosswalk, a man walked by with his two dogs – it beeped. I could have missed it but I would’ve really, really liked the option to deactivate or adjust this feature. It just kept beeping at me!
The 2014 Ford Escape has a whole other feel to it. I haven’t yet driven a Ford truck but imagine it’s a bit similar. The Escape is a sturdy vehicle that does what it’s meant to do – run. This simple yet direct approach just might be what some are looking for. In one family I know, the dad is a dedicated Ford truck guy. Even with an extra cab, this still isn’t ideal for everyday family use. The Ford Escape is. I’m sure his wife will have an easier time convincing him of this car than any other crossover.
So step back and give this one a test drive. It may just be what you’ve been looking for!
For more reviews & car-related tips, visit my automotive site for women & families, DrivingMamas.com.