2002 Ford Escape XLS Sport 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I bought this vehicle about a year ago as my first car after much thought, and I must say I made the right choice. I chose it for gas mileage and looks, and was able to get a great deal off craigslist. The required maintenence was pricy ($1000 for a new timing belt), but expected. The vehicle is spacious inside, while being able to fit in almost any parking spot and turning around in places other cars can't. The standard transmission is the way to go given the 4 cyl's engine power.
Gas mileage. I calculate the mileage after every fillup, and my last two calculations were 27 and 28 mpg. It does, though, vary greatly on driving habits. Also, This vehicle is very roomy and open inside for being relatively small.
The road noise is terrible at highway speeds, and the engine runs at around 3000 rpm at 65 mph.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.