2003 Ford Escape XLT Popular Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I went to buy a replacement Windstar in the fall of '03 and drove home in a red 2WD Escape. My wife and I fell in love with it immediately. Since then we have changed he oil and filter every 2500 miles and replaced filters and belts. The factory tires were horrible and screamed and moaned. I replaced them with Michelins and turned the Escape into a whole new, quiet, smooth-riding vehicle. Other than that the car has not been in the shop. It has required ZERO repairs in 65K miles. None. Zilch. Nada. This is far and away the best, most dependable automobile I have ever owned.
We get 22 MPG on the highway, which is the same as my '63 Volkswagen Beetle. The front seats are comfortable. The car has NO squeaks or rattles. None. The sound system is wonderful. The ride height and visibility are great. The best feature is the utter dependability.
It needed a right side arm rest. The console lid makes a popping noise when you lean on it. Getting in and out takes a little manoeuvering for a sexagenarian driver with arthritis, but this is a very minor complaint. The ride is "sporty" and you feel some road bumps. Pretty minor stuff, no?