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2021 Ford Escape Should Be Avoided, Says Consumer Reports

In recent months, Consumer Reports has gushed over the Ford Edge, naming it one of the most reliable mid-size crossovers on the market and one of the best and most affordable used vehicles for teenagers, a top SUV available for less than $40,000one of the best mid-size crossovers with standard safety features for under $35k, and a top 10 best SUV on sale today. However, CR members haven’t shown the same appreciation for the Ford EcoSport, while the consumer organization itself recently placed the 2021 Ford Explorer on its list of two- and three-row SUVs to avoid. Now, Consumer Reports is also recommending that shoppers avoid the 2021 Ford Escape, too.

CR put the 2021 Ford Escape on its list of popular cars to avoid list as a vehicle that sells well but doesn’t score near the top of the organization’s own rankings. It cites a number of reasons for placing the Escape on this not so prestigious list, including the fact that it “lacks the fundamentals to compete with the best small SUVs.”

Some of those complaints boil down to the performance of Ford’s 1.5L EcoBoost powerplant, which has plenty of power and returned a good 26 miles-per-gallon overall but is plagued by “an annoying vibration at low engine speeds,” according to Consumer Reports.

In the handling department, the 2021 Escape is “nimble and secure,” but CR finds ride quality to be a bit subpar thanks to an “underlying firmness.” Braking is apparently a chore, as the pedal is a bit sensitive to input, making smooth stops a challenge.

On the inside, Consumer Reports notes that the 2021 Escape’s controls are easy to use and that the rear seat is roomy when it’s pushed all the way back. However, it found the front seats to be a bit flat and uncomfortable. Throw in the Escape’s below-average predicted reliability, and it’s clear that CR isn’t a fan of the popular crossover, even though quite a few consumers are.

We’ll have more on the Escape soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Escape news and continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Bob

    Just an OPINION from CR.
    They change their opinions constantly.
    ho hum

    Reply
  2. David

    1.5 litre? That’s comical. Probably be junk before it gets 100,000 miles on it.

    Reply
    1. Mark

      You do realize that cars are far more reliable than any definition of “the good old days.” A honking big block V8 from the 60s-80s can’t touch a modern engine for reliability.

      Reply
    2. Jamie

      Turbocharged to 181 hp, and does 0-60 in just over 7 seconds.

      Reply
      1. Nick

        Had mine for about a year now. It’s a dang strong little motor. Super flat torque curve. I live in a fairly hilly area and it will pull along quite happily at less than 2000 rpms or just as happily run 5000 plus. If I keep my foot out of it it’s no problem to get 33-35mpg. I’m impressed with it for 91 cubic inches

        Reply
    3. Nettie1960

      I have a 2020 escape with 1.5 motor. The only time it lags a little is whe u have it put in eco and then it’s when you almost stop before u get up and go, as for the ride this sits and rides alot better than a hrv and alot of other same sized vehicles, I drove alot of them before I chose my escape which I love.

      Reply
    4. Stalkbroker94

      It’s the same displacement as the previous 4 cylinder option, but you wouldn’t know that because you think the only thing that matters in an engine is sheer displacement.
      I guess Ford should put the 4.6L 2V Modular V8 Interceptor into the 2021 Escape instead of the 2.0L I-4 Ecoboost. I mean, who cares about the weight distribution, fuel economy, or space under the hood. They both make about 250hp and around 280lb-ft of torque, right?

      Reply
  3. Aaron Swafford

    I have a new bronco sport. I am in love with it and 5000 miles and no issues. CR trashed it. They should of tested my badlands. CR is so critical of American cars and loves anything across the pond. I had a 18 crv and tons of issues. CR kisses and loves on Honda. That is why after 20 years with CR I am not renewing.

    Reply
    1. NCEcoBoost

      Fool. The Badlands version is WAY overpriced and the 2.0L EcoBoost isn’t worth the money – it’s had a TON of problems. Can you imagine having a nasty 3-cylinder in a off-road-intended vehicle? Neither can I. I’d pass on the Bronco Sport as I would the Escape. Ford’s not doing a great job these days.

      Reply
      1. Nettie1960

        Really if you want an off road ? I drive off road everyday living on 6 miles of dirt roads. My 3 banger gets me through it all, and your transmission and tires also have alot to do with it to

        Reply
        1. MustangJim

          the technology now totally surpasses what “was”. That little three banger never would of worked without modern technology, ie: variable timing, direct injection , not to mention turbo charging. That is a great little motors. I have had two 2,0’s and they are great, I have a 2.3 now as well. I will date myself here..but embrace the technology. I remember the following:
          Aint gonna drive them automatic transmissions, too slow for me
          Nothing but a V8 for me, noothing else matters ( that little 1.5 will beat the first 289 I ever had)
          I can go on and on.. but I’ll take a 1.3 eco over a “E” car anyday… and yes. I do still own a V8 Mustang

          Reply
      2. Ghosttraveler

        Your opinion or actual experience?

        Reply
    2. Ghosttraveler

      I haven’t paid much attention to CR for about 30 years now, I always wondered who was getting paid off to print such wheel spin smoke.

      Reply
  4. Josh

    So is it just the 3 cylinder? Cause I’ve heard the 4 cylinder is pretty good and the hybrid is one of the best in the industry

    Reply
    1. NCEcoBoost

      The 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo has had its share of troubles, along the lines of the previous 1.5L 4 turbo. Both were engineered improperly and have (or, hopefully by now, had) misplaced coolant holes in the engine block, which allowed coolant to mix with oil. There’s a pending class-action lawsuit covering up to and including the 2019 model year, but nothing for 2020 and later. Assume the problems were fixed for the ’20 model year, but I wouldn’t spend big bucks to get that engine.

      Reply
      1. MustangJim

        Never a problem with my 2015 2.0… Never a problem with my 2018 2.0

        Reply
      2. Chris D.

        Besides the updated block design on the 2 liter as you mentioned, the 1.5 used now is not the same engine family as the previous one. The current 1.5 is the “Fox” 3-cyl from the former Fiesta and Focus. It was known to be a relatively reliable engine per a Ford tech I watch on YouTube.

        Reply
      3. Steve

        In 2019 Ford fix the issues with the ecoboost engine program. Ford has been making the 1.5 3 cyl in Spain for about 8 years with no issues. The 2.0 got revised also. Now it has 250 horses. Ford listened to the technicians at all the dealerships and mechanics shops for once. They knew there was a problem. At least the fixing it. GM hasn’t yet

        Reply
    2. Ed L

      Hi, I own a 2020 Escape SE Sport Hybrid.
      Have driven it about 11k miles. Wife and I love it. No problems. Fantastic mpg.

      Are you familiar with the Consumer Reports video show on YouTube—Talking Cars?
      The hosts of the show called the hybrid model “the Escape done right.”

      Reply
  5. Dr. Jim Adams

    Consumer Reports has a long history of trashing Detroit while overrating everything foreign. Their “predicted reliability” ranking is not based on reliability testing, but usually marketing surveys. I spent 42 years in automotive quality.

    Reply
  6. Misha

    I can agree with CR about the front seats but everything else makes my ’21 Escape PHEV the most relaxing car that I have ever had.

    Reply
  7. Cheryl Wells

    I own a 2018ford escape with 1.5 eco boost and I love it, my family all have as well and have been excelllent

    Reply
    1. NCEcoBoost

      See my reply to Josh, above.

      Reply
  8. Cheryl Wells

    David, my brother has an escape with 100,000 miles, never have had problems, I take care of my cars and drive right, makes difference in any car

    Reply
  9. CHARLES

    I agree to most of the replies.

    Reply
  10. Tom

    In recent years. CR’s car reviews have shrunk down to several paragraphs. I find their ratings to be somewhat arbitrary and confusing at times. I think their reliability rating are based on only those readers that actually return their surveys. People tend to be more inclined to return these surveys when they have a problem. When purchasing a car. I rely on other car publications that do a much more thorough job with their car reviews than CR.

    Reply
  11. NCEcoBoost

    Oh, STOP with all the Consumer Reports kindergarten whining. They have been spot-on with my purchases for decades. The Escape is a disaster. The 3-cylinder NEVER should have made it into this (or the Bronco Sport either) and the other choices are horrendously overpriced. It’s also underequipped across-the-board. And the brain-dead folks at Ford (whose numbers seem to be constantly growing) are DECONTENTING annually, rather than increasing content. Wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Just dreadful.

    Reply
    1. Nettie1960

      Sorry but I have one and it has no problems , got me through 10 inches of slushy snow with no problem. And through the winter I still got over 30 mpg,

      Reply
  12. Wanda

    I really liked my 2017, until the paint peeled on the drivers side of the windshield and starting to peel on passenger side. Of course I was past my 3/36 warranty. Ford won’t do anything except charge me to paint it. I checked on the internet for any complaints…hundreds on 2017 paint peeling on each side of windshield. So I say, something was wrong with the paint in 2017. If I trade in, I will be penalized for the peeling paint, that is Fords fault. They should be recalled.

    Reply
  13. .Laverne Campbell

    I have had a Ford Escape for 4 years now and haven’t had a problem with anything, works like a charm and am ready to get my new one in November

    Reply
  14. Valrie Benn

    Had Ford’s for years, never a problem. CR always have a problem with Ford.It has become a joke

    Reply
  15. Glenu

    I do see a problem with the CR’s evaluation of all vehicles today & that is the change in their final rating. It used to be “Recommended” or “Not Recommended” now they use the term “to be avoided”. They lay out the pros & cons for each vehicle carefully giving you specs & objective opinions on the topics they feel are the most important for the reader. That is well done but instead of letting you decide which vehicle to purchase they then sum up by advising which vehicles not to buy…ludicrous!

    Reply
    1. BP

      CR is getting far too liberal in their “opinions”. Sour grapes 🍇 ?

      Reply
  16. Ronald Pfeiffer

    I have a 2020 escape sel with the 2.0 best new car i ever owned. It has been Great.

    Reply
  17. Antonio L Dunn

    Consumer Reports needs to just the hell up. They only really Japanese car company’s. They think the Rav4 and the CRV are the cream of the crop vehicles, which they are not. The Ford Escape has always been a consumer favorite.

    Reply
  18. Patty Coram

    I agree with CR about the brakes. Very touchy. I slso hate the engine. Either feels like it is going to stall or it wants to start out fast. Our 17 Escape was much better. The storage compartments were also much better. I loved my Jeep. Will probably go back to that in a year.

    Reply
  19. Joe Lizzio

    I have driven a 2013, 2015, 2017 and now 2020 Escape, for about a 220 k my miles. Virtually trouble free. All 2.0 Ecoboost.. Absolutely loved em all. I have found CR”s relentlessly negative bias of any American products, so frustrating, when always compared to their “go to” favorites, like Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Mazda, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi ect.
    They should be a European based Magazine/Show by now. I’d be more honest…

    Reply
    1. Ken Marshall

      Our 1.5 Eco-boost is smooth with no issues in our 2020 Ford Escape SEL

      Reply
  20. Gregory Milliot

    Hmm. Hard to take CR serious. I have a 2017 Escape with 133,000 miles on it. And I have to tell ya, I haven’t done anything outside of regular maintenance on it. And I’m not a Ford guy!

    Reply
    1. Ken Marshall

      Sounds right, our 2020 is small, but we were down sizing from a Ford Fusion Titanium

      Reply
  21. Ken Marshall

    The complaints listed must be unique to the 2021 Ford Escape, we have a 2020 and there is no vibration with the engine. They need a side by side review of both years, also great gas mileage if my wife can keep it under 80 – 85 mph on the Interstate

    Reply
  22. Donald Hayes

    It seems like Consumer reports has an issue with all the Ford products excluding the Edge. I have never used their recommendations for buying any product. My Escape is fantastic. My wife’s 2017 Edge Sport is comfortable, roomy, great performance and my wife loves her Edge with 40,000 miles. My son’s Explorer ST and Mach E are two great vehicles with the ST being the family trip SUV with higher than average miles for a nearly 2 years old vehicle. He traded his Ram pickup and loves driving his ST. The Mach E is newer and driven by my daughter in law to and from work to carry my grandkids for shopping and school functions. My 2017 Escape Titanium has been trouble free with the exception of the infotainment center issue that was repaired in 24-hours. Come on Consumer reports. With your poor product recommendations I’ve decided it’s a waste of time even considering your reviews. Now I have the perfect fire place starters using your magazines. I certainly won’t be buying future new copies.

    Reply
  23. Ted H

    2020 2.0 SEL is Awesome!
    Mileage is a little down…22.4 all intown, but it RUNS! Sorry, I leave it in Sport all the time.
    And the engine is smooth as silk.
    Little too much road noise, seats are firm (FIRM) but comfortable.
    Have towed a 12′ U haul with no trouble.
    Great Car.

    Reply
  24. William

    Ford is always criticized for their products. One of the best car manufacturers in the US. Toyota is overrated, their trucks are junk. 2017 Fusion with 92k on it. No issues. Love Ford products very much.

    Reply
    1. Doc Beasley

      Toyota trucks are junk? Wonder why so many used in cess pool countries with few roads. All pick ups popular around here I chose my Lexus & Wife’s Hi Lander. we see a lot around here.

      Reply
  25. Richard

    Consumer Reports should be avoided.

    Reply
  26. Richard

    NCEcoboost is all over this site making negative comments. It really gets tiring. Go somewhere else.

    Reply
  27. Tom Devereux

    2015 escape best care ever 88000 titanium

    Reply
  28. M. Dotson

    I purchased a 2021 Escape hybrid se on 9/7/21. The hybrid had 3,074 miles on it. The car ran flawlessly til February 25, 2022. The gas engine would start to vibrate when it first started. The stop safely now red display would appear and car would lose power. After several starts and stops I drove straight to my local ford dealership. The service folks were swamped and offered an appointment in two weeks. I promptly left the service area and found the dealership manager. They took my car and gave me a 2021 eco sport to drive.
    A few days later they called to advise my car was done. I picked up and the car performed fine. They had inspected the intake, throttle body, cleaned MAPT sensor, reprogrammed PCM, reprogrammed BECM, SOBDMC and ABS. CEL still on. Ran self test, passed but light stayed on. Updated all module that had updates, cleared code, retest, passed and test drove.
    The next day same problem again! Took back to dealership on February 28, 2022. I was given another eco sport to drive. In a few days my hybrid will be in the shop for a month. Ford has problems and they had better step up to the plate and correct these problems!

    Reply
  29. Joe brown

    Read that ford warranty on 1.5 liter engine covers the timing belt for the “life on the engine.” Called info rep at the factory and also local dealership service rep and neither were able to confirm. Also “life of engine” comment sounds ambiguous.

    Reply
  30. M Dotson

    The saga continues. Took my 2021 escape hybrid se to dealership on February 28, 2022 as stated above. I just picked my car up yesterday ( April 20, 2022.) So far so good. This is what they did to my car during all that time.
    Ran self test. Code po 300, po 301, po 303, po304, po316, p1aoc. R&R throttle body again, cleaned intake again. R&R MAPT and clean. DEL Data display, power balance test, MISFORE monitor test, R&R injector rail. CK injector connectors. Swap #1 & #4 plug/ coil/ injector. Road test with data recorder, monitor with power balance. Misfire on #1. R&R valve cover & inspect valve and cam shaft. OK. Replaced MAPT sensor ( oil contamination) Manual compression check. #1-155, #2-155, #3-160, #4-155. Test injector wiring from PCM to injectors. All less than 0.5 ohms/ no short. Test coil wire to PCM- passed. Ck for PCM updates.-none. Replaced #4(now #1) injector. Improved but still runs rough at times. Replaced #4 ( now #1) coil and spark plug. Performed misfire re learn. Road test. Confirmed repair.
    Does this look like faulty parts or some bigger engine problems? This car has 7393.6 total mileage. I love the car but now I’m wondering if I should start investigating lemon car laws.

    Reply
  31. M Dotson

    The saga continues. Well… my check engine light came on today. I have driven the car slightly over 100 miles since it’s extended stay in dealership. This is really BS! My new car with 7000 miles is a piece of crap! Why does my 2021 Ford Escape hybrid se continue to have misfire problems? My patients is wearing out.

    Reply
  32. Mustafa

    Do not buy a 2022 Escape, unless you are under psychiatric care and need weekly or more sessions to get your head read. If so i have some swamp land to sell you for your new home build.

    Reply
  33. Rocko

    Very true the new Ford Escape is not an SUV it is a car with a 3 cylinder engine, well maybe Ford has future plans and visionary scope to put a 2 cylinder lawn mower engine in its 2024 escape and Bronco lineup.
    And why not, if people will buy them.

    Reply
  34. MichaelS

    I say if this is the crap coming out of Ford, the bus is looking like an option.

    Reply
  35. Genghas

    All 3 Ford, GM and now the almost defunct FAC have paved the way, no pun intended through decades of fails to their own demise.
    Buy Japanese

    Reply
  36. Journey

    Just having read this article and almost choking on my coffee, this vehicle not just the engine but FAKE 4 wheel drive like its counterparts across the line even in the Ford Explorer.
    Why bother????????
    Wait, young people do not understand the concepts of a true 4×4 and will then cry mommy i am stuck, plz help me.
    In a world of information available at your finger tips we have a society of morons that also build cars.

    Reply
  37. LBronski

    OMG your Escape is in the shop again, a light went on in your dash and you took it to the dealer.
    I ask one question, what light went on in your head in the decision to purchase this vehicle?

    Reply

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