We bought our Escape when they came out in 2001. We were drawn to the body style and took one for a test drive. We bought an XLS with a 4 cylinder engine. My wife likes the fact that it has a low-emissions rating. She averages 28 MPG in the summer. It drops to 25 in the winter. This was something we could not find in any other SUV, foreign or domestic. Since the purchase the Escape has been excellent. Nothing more that routine maintenance has been required. We now have 80,000 miles on ours and will buy a new one when Ford comes out with a new body style
The mileage is great (28MPG). The vehicle handles well and has been very reliable.
If I could go back and buy this vehicle again I would add a leather seat and 4-wheel drive.