I purchased my 2001 XLT V6 used with 52,000 in 2003. I have 79,000 on it currently. Even though some people have been unimpressed with the Escape's reliability, I have not had any major problems. The only things I have had to repair/replace were the brakes at 65k miles, egr sensor, and the coolant sensor, and tires which all together comes to about $1,000. Not bad for a SUV with 79k miles on it. Hopefully nothing major will happen any time soon. I usually get 20 mpg average. What I have found though is that the engine runs MUCH better if you run it with 100% gas and none of that 90% gas and 10% alcohol junk ... trust me, pay the extra 3 cents per gallon.
Handles extremely well for an SUV, V6 engine is peppy, and the premium stereo is awesome.