Used SUV Guide: 2013-2019 Ford Escape

5 Tips for Finding a Top-notch Example of a Used Ford Escape

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The 2013 Ford Escape hit the road in 2012, after an overhaul that made it mass appeal in the highly competitive family crossover segment.

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Competing with machines like the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue, this generation of Ford Escape took advantage of the auto industry’s latest powertrain, safety and connectivity technologies, and was available in a wide range of grades and configurations to suit the needs of nearly any shopper.

A major update was implemented for the 2017 model year, when Lesley Wimbush called it a crossover that won’t leave you dying of boredom. Read more about it here. 2017 brought some cosmetic updates, a retuned suspension, and new and updated EcoBoost engine options including the popular 2L turbo with 245hp. Look for a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. on select models, plus better onboard materials, improved safety feature content, and an all-new technology suite with Ford’s most modern Sync 3 system launched online that year.

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If it’s within your budget, the 2017 or later Escape is the top choice for fuel efficiency, safety technology, and infotainment, plus a few more reasons we’ll cover below.

Check out related links and stories for more Ford Escape reviews, news, specs and other information, and read on for 5 tips to help make sure you find the best Ford Escape you can use for your dollar.

Tip 1: Start smart

When buying a used modern crossover, certain tips and checks should be considered mandatory regardless of make and model.

Checking the health of your vehicle’s battery and charging system, and replacing an old or dying battery before purchasing are great ways to stave off problems with many vehicle systems, and will make using Escape more reliable. A healthy battery can help stave off problems with the Escape’s fuel-efficient auto start/stop system.

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Second, be sure to check out the onboard technology for commonly reported issues identified by experts like JD Power and its partners, making sure to confirm an appropriate number of USB connectors and charging ports, proper performance of Bluetooth and smartphone communication systems, and to check From the old map navigation system.

These are important ways to start your property experience right.

2016 Ford Escape SE 4WD
2016 Ford Escape SE 4WD Photography by Brian Harper

Tip 2: Coolant Leak

Some owners of earlier Ford Escapes of this generation with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine reported an engine problem manifested by loss of engine coolant over time.

Ford called some Escapes equipped with this engine to check for coolant loss problems, which can lead to overheating, cracked cylinder heads, and oil leaks.

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If you are considering a 2013 or 2014 Escape with this engine, remember that units that were regularly serviced by the dealer will likely have already been recalled.

If the history of the Escape service you are considering is unclear, and you set a model with this engine, having a professional check it carefully before buying is a strong idea.

Remember: A warm, sugary smell in or near a vehicle either while it is in motion or after it, could be a sign of a coolant leak which could cost you money.

2015 Ford Escape
2015 Ford Escape Graeme Fletcher’s photo

Tip 3: Summons

This generation of Ford Escape has one of the longest recall lists among crossovers in use today. A closer look at the recall list reveals another reason to consider 2017 or newer units: far fewer recalls.

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The vast majority of Ford Escapes recalled were from 2013-2016 model year, with only 4 of the 24 total recalls applying to 2017 model year and later units.

Dealers make a free recall to fix inherent safety defects. Shoppers can contact Ford Canada (or visit their website) to search for any specific recalls that apply to their vehicles. Shoppers should also contact Ford Canada to register as a new owner of a used Escape, to ensure they receive future recall notices in a timely manner.

2015 Ford Escape
2015 Ford Escape Graeme Fletcher’s photo

Tip 4: Sending problems

The transmission issue is one of the most commonly reported issues with new vehicles, along with issues with the electronics and infotainment system.

The transmission problem usually results in rough or awkward shifting, poor throttle response, harsh driveline operation, unwelcome noise and inconsistent performance.

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Generally, a problem like this is resolved by a dealer with software updates for affected systems, although the symptoms described above can also be a sign of a more serious problem. If anything comes up with the Escape transmission you’re testing, be sure to have it checked by a technician before you buy.

Many Ford Escape owners say that running updated software and keeping your transmission fluid and filter changes is key to smooth, reliable, long-term operation.

10. 20,554 Ford Escapes were sold in Canada so far in 2016, down 12.9 percent from last year.
10. 20,554 Ford Escapes were sold in Canada so far in 2016, down 12.9 percent from last year. Photography by Brian Harper

Tip 5: Diagnostic Check and Extended Warranty

Performing a diagnostic scan of the used Ford Escape you’re considering can save you thousands of dollars in potential repairs. Whether on its own or as part of a pre-purchase inspection, a diagnostic system inspection can reveal many potential problems and clues related to different vehicle systems and components.

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Even if there is no Check Engine Light (CEL), trouble codes may be stored in the computer, waiting to be discovered. In this way, a diagnostic scan can reveal a hidden problem, or it can confirm that the user Escape you are considering is a health problem.

Most of the Escape’s most worrisome problems seem to affect earlier models of this generation, which makes the extended warranty worth considering—although 2017 and later units seem less worrisome.

Final thought

These tips are designed to help test drive shoppers more easily identify potential problem areas reported by some owners. A test drive and an attentive shopping process focused on the above areas can help you find a top-notch example of a used Ford Escape.

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