We bought our Escape brand new in Feb '04. It has been a great little SUV - our first experience with an SUV. Only had cars or PUs before. I've read some of the problems other people have had and we have not had ANY. Only have replaced tires, brakes and battery (usual stuff). We have one problem with the sunroof sometimes sticking so we do not open it anymore. Have had all maintenance done at dealer & we think that makes a difference. Now at 116,000 - hope to go up to 200,000. We average 21-23mpg - best on trip was 26. I bought a '07 Civic to drive to work & have had more problems with it than this Ford! We use the Escape every weekend for shopping & around town.
We can haul almost anything with the back seats down!! It has been very handy for hauling large items and 50 lb sacks of animal feed . Easy to remove groceries from back. The seats are great-clean up is easy - we haul pets too & grandkids!
Since it's 6 years old, I'm sure any suggested improvements have already been made. Wheel base s/b longer to improve the ride. Ford - you are doing alright!