The Ford Escape was all new last model year, and its safety ratings reflect the better protection that's inherent in its modern body structure. And for 2014 it gets better, with a rear backup camera system standard across the Ford Escape lineup.
Standard features include dual front, side, and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; and Ford's MyKey system, which lets drivers place limits on speed, volume, and other functions, for younger drivers. Standard curve control limits power to all four wheels to help the Escape stay on a safer path if the driver approaches a corner too quickly, and for 2014, a backup camera system is included. Additionally, Titanium models now include rear parking sensors as standard.
Elsewhere in the lineup, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are available, as well as blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts. The Escape's electric power steering also makes active park assist possible. As on some other Fords, this system judges parallel-parking spots, and steers the Escape into them when it will fit, with the driver operating the pedals.
Then there's all-wheel drive; it's optional throughout the lineup. And with the towing package, it comes with HID headlamps and trailer-sway control, which uses stability control to compensate for the rocking motion induced by a trailer.
As for those crash-test ratings, they're top-notch or nearly so all around. It's earned mostly 'good' scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as four-star overall ratings (with five stars for side impact) from the federal government.
The one serious blemish looming over those otherwise-great safety ratings is the new IIHS small-overlap frontal test: The Escape was given a 'poor' rating (the lowest) in that.