The Ford Escape is a great car for getting around town its not great for going over 50 miles in one way. Maybe if your under 6 foot tall this car would be more comfortable, but for me, its not. Seat are kind of hard and don't provide much support. The front wheel drive makes it hard to handle. And its a bitch to control on windy days. The body is too narrow in comparison with its height.
The engine is good. A bit slow for my taste and not the most fuel efficient V6 either. It never falls to start even on days well below zero. Last winter it was -10 with a wind chill of -30 one day and on that day I cranked the engine about a second longer than I normally do. The car maneuvers well in tight areas and can parallel park easily.
Needs more interior space. Vehicle should be wider or sit lower to the ground. On windy days, the car gets hooked by the wind easily. Make the car rear wheel drive. The front drive makes steering [non-permissible content removed] on windy and rainy days. Headlights are positioned too low. I outdrive my headlights. They need to be higher. I would love a V8 options or maybe a diesel 4 or 6 cylinder. Needs a larger gas tank. My Escape gets about 22mpg on the highway and a 15 gallon tank doesn't make me feel too good about taking a long drive.
I bought my fully loaded Escape new in January 2001 and though well maintained I have had nothing but problems since the warranty expired. Repairs: washer fluid sensor, stereo display, master cylinder, cv boots, cruise control, rear hatch lock, air conditioner. Interior trim pieces fall off faster than the mechanic can put them back on. The leather trim on the door panels is peeling off. Air conditioning sprang a leak at 38K miles and is leaking again for the third time. Various problems cause check engine light to come on intermittently. By far the WORST vehicle I have ever owned.
I bought this car the first year it was introduced and really enjoyed it for the first 85,000 miles. Eventually several small things started happening; radio sounds fine but the display hasn't worked in 18 months. Interior front door fabric material has come unglued on driver and passenger's side. Factory installed tinting on driver's side window has bubbled. Have spent a couple hundred dollars 2-3 times in the last 6 months for engine related issues, and still the engine light comes on intermittently. In general I've enjoyed the car, but it's not built to last - at least the first year edition's not.
Agile & responsive. Drives like a car ans is very nimble. Gas mileage is relatively good. Affordable and fun to drive.
I bought it 3 years old with 47k miles on it. It now has 206k miles (!!!) and is still going strong. I use it to commute, for beach runs, and to haul stuff around, and it runs great. Over the years I've fixed the suspension and brakes a few times, and it ate a tranny at 90k, but otherwise it's been very reliable. It's fun to drive as well. I paid $15k for it and I'd say I've gotten my money's worth. Fuel economy isn't bad, by the way (23k highway). Front seats are more comfortable than in my wife's Mercedes (yes, believe it -- I have a bad back). Worst part of the experience was the selling dealer; I will never return there except to buy a car under invoice.
Engine, handling, seats, storage, versatility
Fuel tank needs to be bigger. Brakes & suspension seem to be undersized. A little more soundproofing would be nice. Multi-CD player is prone to jamming (with my favorite CDs stuck in it)
We purchased the Escape new. It was our first Ford and we have had a terrific experience. For me, it rides a little rough but hey! it's a SUV. We replaced the tires at 35,000; that seemed a little low for me. We have replaced the master cylinder, cruise control switch, ball joints, along with normal maintenance. It seems like normal stuff. We were rear-ended at 90,000 miles and, after $5000 in repairs it looked terrific again. No plans to replace. Definitely recommend the V6. great pick up.