2014 Ford Escape Titanium
2014 Ford Escape Titanium
2014 Ford Escape Titanium. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Tom Sedens

I was at the LA Auto Show in November 2011 when Ford took the wraps off of this all-new Escape. Witnessing the unveiling of an all-new vehicle that is very important to an auto manufacturer is very interesting. To call the reveal of the new Escape a big deal to Ford would be an understatement – there was a lot of confidence but some nervousness too. Perhaps the fact that they had redesigned (from the ground up) the bestseller in its class had the Ford folks wondering if they’d done the right thing?

The Escape was (and remains now) a huge seller for Ford in 2011, so at the time it was somewhat surprising that they would take this perennial sales winner and completely redesign it, inside and out.

The in-your-face modern styling of the Escape has become familiar on our roads now, and isn’t as fresh as it once was. You’ll find some common Ford themes, including the corporate snout and three-hole trapezoidal grille. The body is chiseled and although it’s tall, it appears sleeker than it is. A character crease runs the length of the side, at door handle height – starting at the faux air vent (can we stop using those now?) on the front flank. The roofline has a dramatic slope toward the back, giving the whole thing a somewhat rakish appearance. I thought the rear end got a little busy with a whole whack of indentations, creases and angles. The Titanium has really nice 19-inch wheels, shod with some serious 235/45-size rubber.

Interior space is good in the front – there’s plenty of headroom, and considering it’s not a particularly wide vehicle, you never feel cramped. Materials are nice – soft-touch plastics cover many of the inside surfaces, and there are a few glossy trim strips. Overall, I found the interior to be quite dark – I’d love to see a little more contrast. Fit and finish seemed good and the vehicle was rock-solid over bumps and potholes.

2014 Ford Escape Titanium2014 Ford Escape Titanium
2014 Ford Escape Titanium. Click image to enlarge

The seats are very comfortable and actually provide excellent bolstering. The middle of the dash houses the ubiquitous MyFordTouch touchscreen system and a couple of hard buttons and a rotary knob. I’m starting to get used to the idiosyncrasies of this system, and for the most part, it does what it promises. It handles the stereo (an excellent-sounding Sony-branded system), the navigation system, phone functions and climate control. All this sits in a kind of chin that juts out of the dash and below it is a dual-zone automatic climate control system. Side note – thank you, Ford, for not burying the seat heater controls in the MyFordTouch screen.

Considering how critical the MyFordTouch screen is to some of the vehicle’s major functions, I have to say its placement sucks in the Escape. It’s set too deeply into the plastic “cheeks” and “chin” surrounding it. Unless you’re E.T., it’s a bit tough to touch the outside edges of the screen – which is where some of the most-used soft buttons are.

Speaking of ergonomics, I also don’t like that the controls near the bottom of the centre stack – such as the climate control system and the trunk opener – were difficult to reach with the shift lever in Park.

2014 Ford Escape Titanium2014 Ford Escape Titanium2014 Ford Escape Titanium
2014 Ford Escape Titanium. Click image to enlarge

The rear passenger area has three seats. The seat cushions look horribly thin – unsurprisingly, I felt the rear seats were too firm and I found the thigh cushions to be a tad short too. The seatbacks do recline and I found headroom to be fine for me (at 5’10”) and leg room is decent.

We really appreciated the 110V household plug – a convenient addition to the back seating area. Getting kids in the back is no problem – the doors open wide, and there are two LATCH anchors for kids’ seats.

Connect with Autos.ca