19 Best & Worst Ford Escape Years (With Facts & Stats)

Since its launch in the year 2000, the Escape has carved its way as a popular choice for the on-road family-car crowd.

Now in its fourth generation, the Escape is looking to continue its run in the United States as a practical yet stylish option. 

JD Power has provided the Escape with above-average ratings. In 2020, this vehicle received a consumer score of 77 out of 100, with great individual ratings for “driving experience” and “resale,” obtaining 83 and 79 (out of 100), respectively.

Keep reading to find out more about its best and worst years…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Ford Escape Are:

The best Ford Escape model years are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2012, 2006 and 2007. The worst model years of the Escape are 2017, 2013, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2001 and 2002. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Ford Escape?

Listed below are the Ford Escape models that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best.

2021 and 2022 Ford Escape

The 2021 and 2022 Ford Escape models are the top choices if you are looking to prioritize vehicle age, updated safety features, and the latest technology. 

The 2021 Ford Escape secured a 3.8 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.4 out of 5.0. The 2022 Ford Escape secured a 3.9 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.4 out of 5.0.

  • In 2021 the Escape offered Hybrid powertrains to the SE and SEL trims and came as standard on the highest-spec Titanium trim.
  • 2022 introduced a new range of colors – Atlas Blue, Flight Blue, and Iced Blue otherwise it is the same as the 2021 model.

2022 Ford Escape, Edmunds review:

“Completely satisfied. Very comfortable, roomy and smooth ride”

2021 Ford Escape, Kelley Blue Book review:

“We have used it for around town.. long trips and local off-road research in 2 track roads in the region.. the 7.8 inches of clearance does fine with care over high center spots. We have recorded every tank mileage since purchase.. never less than 38mpg…”

2020 Ford Escape

The 2020 Escape is a top pick as it was completely redesigned from the ground up – both inside and out. It adopted more car-like aesthetics to draw punters from the SUV and car markets and came with a plethora of powertrains and driver-assistance features as standard.

The 2020 Ford Escape secured a 4.0 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Over at JD Power, it was granted a score of 77 out of 100. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Kelley Blue Book review:

“like new, excellent mileage, in perfect condition, mostly driven by an old man in the city. brakes and cameras work well.”

2018 and 2019 Ford Escape

If you would like to save a little bit and set aside your money for future expenses such as repairs and fuel, then picking any of these model years will still get you a great compact SUV that will still have its warranty intact. 

The 2018 and 2019 also feature the older design which utilized the same mechanical underpinnings as the now discontinued Ford Focus.

  • The 2018 Ford Escape secured a 3.8 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Over at JD Power, it was granted a score of 80 out of 100. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.0 out of 5.0.
  • The 2019 Ford Escape secured a 4.0 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Over at JD Power, it was granted a score of 80 out of 100. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.0 out of 5.0.

Edmunds review:

“Wife and I each test-drove the SEL, SE Hybrid, and Titanium Hybrid. We drove them on both a sunny day and a rainy day. The handling, acceleration, and braking impressed us…”

2016 Ford Escape

The 2016 Ford Escape is one of the least problematic models made prior to 2018. The positive feedback for this model year revolves around its style, handling, and fuel efficiency.

The 2016 Ford Escape secured a 3.7 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Over at JD Power, it was granted a score of 81 out of 100. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.0 out of 5.0.

Edmunds review:

“This is my second Escape and again, I was not disappointed. The car looks good, handles great and is a nice value. The size is perfect for me. It holds what I need in the cargo area (golf clubs, shoes, etc.) and is easy to maneuver…”

Kelley Blue Book review:

“I actually bought basically the same model Escape after I leased one for 3 years. I loved it so much I bought an almost identical newer version. And I am thinking about doing it again! Runs really well and in both cases have just done basic maintenance such as oil changes and top ups of fluids. Battery still running strong after more than 5 years.”

2012 Ford Escape

The 2012 Ford Escape is quite old in terms of vehicle age, but if you have a good eye for picking quality used vehicles, then consider finding this gem. This model year has received a lot of praise, but the most frequent positive comments are about its handling, reliability, and fuel economy. 

The 2012 Ford Escape secured a 4.1 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Over at JD Power, it was granted a score of 78 out of 100. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Edmunds review:

“My company just delivered to me, an Escape in Steel Blue with the 2.5L and 6-speed automatic. I must say that after 3 weeks I really really like this vehicle…”

Kelley Blue Book review:

“All wheel drive good in the winter, cold AC, warm heat and all the electronics work very dependably. Always starts”

2007 Ford Escape

The 2007 Ford Escape may look a bit too rugged for today’s standards, but comfortable seating, more-than-sufficient cargo space, and a reliable engine make it one of the better models overall. 

The biggest draw of this choice is that compared to many of its older and younger Escape siblings – it was relatively problem free.

The 2007 Ford Escape secured a 4.5 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Over at JD Power, it was granted a score of 79 out of 100. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Edmunds review:

“Just got my new 2007 Escape XLT, and its only been a few hundred miles, and I love every minute of driving it. It has great pickup, drives like a car, and handles some limited off-roading I’ve done so far…”

2006 Ford Escape

The 2006 Ford Escape is the oldest model year on this list but it is also one of the least problematic – especially when compared to other model years of its time.

Aside from receiving consistently stellar reviews on reputable vehicle sites, what makes this model year stand out is its simplicity in performance and reliability. This is a no-frills vehicle, but that is what makes it one of the most trustworthy models in recent memory. 

The 2006 Ford Escape secured a 4.4 out of 5.0 on Edmunds. Kelley Blue Book gave this model a score of 4.4 out of 5.0.

Kelley Blue Book review:

“I can see why the taxi companies in several big cities used these. 25-30 MPG in an SUV w/ AWD – cool. Even with a sunroof, having the room for my 6’3, 280LB frame – awesome. Spending NO money on a very high mile car to keep it up – Spectacular!”

Consumer Scores For Best Ford Escape Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Ford Escape model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
2022 Ford Escape3.9 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2021 Ford Escape3.8 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2020 Ford Escape4.0 / 5.04.4 / 5.077 / 100
2019 Ford Escape4.0 / 5.04.0 / 5.080 / 100
2018 Ford Escape3.8 / 5.04.0 / 5.080 / 100
2016 Ford Escape3.7 / 5.04.0 / 5.081 / 100
2012 Ford Escape4.1 / 5.04.4 / 5.078 / 100
2007 Ford Escape4.5 / 5.04.4 / 5.079 / 100
2006 Ford Escape4.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA

Related: How Long Do Ford Escape Hybrids Last? (12 Important Facts)

What Are The Worst Years For The Ford Escape?

The Ford Escape has also been on the receiving end of several complaints and issues due to its myriad problems or defects. The models listed below are the versions of the vehicle that you have to steer clear of.

2017 Ford Escape

If there is one thing that CarComplaints.com and CarProblemZoo.com can agree on, it is the fact that the 2017 Ford Escape has had numerous reports of premature engine failure.

The 2017 Escape had a total of 125 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 783 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2017 Ford Escape are the following:

  • Coolant leaking into the cylinders (engine failure)
  • Transmission failure
  • Check engine light on

2014 Ford Escape

“Beware of the clunker,” claims CarComplaints.com, indicating how poor this model year was. In fact, the leading problem of this model year is transmission failure at around 70,000 miles. It was also plagued by engine overheating problems.

The 2014 Escape had a total of 317 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,754 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2014 Ford Escape are the following:

  • Transmission failure
  • Engine cooling issues

2013 Ford Escape

If the 2014 model was a “clunker,” the 2013 bagged the notorious badge known as “avoid like the plague.” This means that this model year is riddled with numerous problems. The top three issues of this model year all happened before even hitting the 100,000-mile mark. 

The 2013 Escape had a total of 456 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 2,930 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2013 Ford Escape are the following:

  • Transmission failure
  • Power steering failure
  • Engine stalls/shuts down while driving

2011 Ford Escape

The 2011 Ford Escape is yet another “clunker” awardee according to CarComplaints.com. This model year was well known for its power steering failing whilst driving and was also plagued by engine and power train issues.

The 2011 Escape had a total of 231 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,582 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2011:

  • Transmission failure
  • Power steering stopped working
  • Complete loss of throttle response
  • Jerks and hesitation when shifting/acceleration

2010 Ford Escape

Some Ford Escape models just cannot seem to escape the “beware of the clunker” badge.

The 2010 is unfortunately one of those who were unable to escape this dishonor.

Engine problems are at the forefront of the most reported issues for this model year. This is also corroborated by the over 500 reported issues of engine (and engine cooling) concerns over at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2010 Escape had a total of 270 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 2,812 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2010 Ford Escape are:

  • Transmission failure
  • Rear window exploded
  • Loss of power steering

2008 and 2009 Ford Escape

CarProblemZoo.com finds both these models to be guilty of over a thousand cases of steering issues. Another commonality between these two models is the “avoid like the plague” badge, awarded to both by CarComplaints.com.

The 2008 and 2009 Escape models had a total of 958 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 4,279 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2008 and 2009 Ford Escape models are:

  • Transmission failure
  • Power steering quits while driving
  • Jerking into gear

2005 Ford Escape

“Avoid like the plague,” says CarComplaints.com.

A problem that is extremely prevalent in this model year is computer (PCM) failure. This particular issue occurs at approximately 101,000 miles and costs a whopping $2,000 to repair completely.

The 2005 Escape had a total of 532 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,931 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2005 Ford Escape are:

  • Computer (PCM) failure
  • Excessive wheel well / shock tower rust
  • Engine shutdown while driving

2001 and 2002 Ford Escape

The 2001 and 2002 Ford Escape models both received the “avoid like the plague” badge from CarComplaints.com, much like the previous entries.

Aside from transmission problems, CarProblemZoo.com lists engine (and engine cooling) problems as the most frequent issues to have occurred for these two models. 

The 2001 and 2002 Escape models had a total of 337 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 2,277 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The main problems of the 2001 and 2002 Ford Escape models are:

  • Transmission failure
  • Engine failure
  • Clogged catalytic converter

Related: Ford Escape Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several Ford Escape model years, both old and new, that have received numerous complaints through the years.

Listed below are complaints and problems listed for each model year: 

Model YearComplaints (CarComplaints.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2022 Ford Escape012
2021 Ford Escape274
2020 Ford Escape20224
2019 Ford Escape22135
2018 Ford Escape70322
2017 Ford Escape125783
2016 Ford Escape174560
2015 Ford Escape117631
2014 Ford Escape3171,754
2013 Ford Escape4562,930
2012 Ford Escape249679
2011 Ford Escape2311,582
2010 Ford Escape2702,812
2009 Ford Escape3412,084
2008 Ford Escape6172,195
2007 Ford Escape171313
2006 Ford Escape276552
2005 Ford Escape5321,931
2004 Ford Escape119678
2003 Ford Escape175666
2002 Ford Escape2131,171
2001 Ford Escape1241,106

What Problems Do Ford Escapes Have?

Based on the information we have gathered online, here are the most common issues that you may encounter with a Ford Escape:

  • Engine failure
  • Transmission failure
  • Computer (PCM) failure

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Ford Escape?

The Ford Escape is considered a good option in the compact SUV segment.

However, cars.usnews.com was unable to acquire sufficient data to provide a ratings so we have predicted its score based on industry data.

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda CR-V8.8$26,400 – $36,200City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 32 – 34
Hyundai Tucson8.8$25,800 – $36,800City: 24 – 26 / Highway: 29 – 33
Mazda CX-58.7$25,900 – $38,650City: 22 – 24 /Highway: 27 – 30
Ford Bronco Sport8.4$28,165 – $34,590City: 21 – 25 /Highway: 26 – 28
Subaru Forester8.3$25,395 – $35,495City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 28 – 33
Mitsubishi Outlander8.2$26,095 – $42,695City: NA /Highway: NA
Nissan Rogue8.2$26,850 – $38,130City: 28 – 30 /Highway: 34 – 37
Toyota RAV48.1$26,525 – $36,465City: 25 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 35
Volkswagen Tiguan8.0$26,490 – $37,320City: 21 – 23 /Highway: 28 – 30
Kia Sportage7.9$25,990 – $36,790City: 23 – 25 /Highway: 28 – 32
Jeep Cherokee7.7$29,995 – $39,345City: 18 – 23 /Highway: 24 – 31
Ford Escape7.7$26,510 – $36,630City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 34
Chevrolet Equinox7.6$26,300 – $33,100City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 30 – 31
GMC Terrain7.5$27,900 – $36,600City: NA /Highway: NA
Jeep Compass7.2$26,785 – $34,210City: NA / Highway: NA
Jeep Wrangler7.2$30,295 – $79,995City: 13 – 22 / Highway: 17 – 29
Ford BroncoNA$29,300 – $49,475City: 16 – 20 /Highway: 17 – 22
Mazda CX-50NA$26,800 – $41,550City: 23 – 24 /Highway: 29 – 30
Mitsubishi Eclipse CrossNA$25,795 – $29,295City: NA /Highway: NA

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: Ford Escape Alarm Going Off? (8 Causes & Solutions)

References

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/ford/escape

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Escape/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/ford/escape/

https://www.edmunds.com/ford/escape/

https://www.kbb.com/ford/escape/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2021/ford/escape