This model of Ford the escape was not sealed properly on the rear passenger side. At 100,000 miles the rear wheel well and shock mount was rusted through to the interior!! If buying this vehicle have that thoroughly inspected and put a rust sealant on the bottom of the vehicle, the wheel wells and hinder good of car as my good also has a huge use HOLE in it. Repairs were $1,100-$5,000. Not worth the risk of you're depending on this vehicle to last you at least five years. Invest in a newer model where they have fixed this issue. Or stray away from Ford all together!!!
I bought this SUV last winter with 100k miles on it. Took it to my mechanic to get all the filters, fluids changed, who found rust holes in rear passenger inner wheelwell that compromised the strut and safety of vehicle. Fixed that, and took all the plastic cladding off exposing more rust than I've ever seen. Driven 20k miles and no real mechanical problems except the exhaust needs replaced. Very simple interior compared to new vehicles. AWD system is excellent. I get 20mpg. 3.0 engine may have been powerful 10 years ago, but its relatively slow compared to today's SUV standards. These are great deals if you are looking for an AWD vehicle.
I like the box styling and simple interior layout. The leather interior cleans up nicely. It drives like a car but you feel like you're in a truck. The AWD is automatic and gave me no problems driving through several snowstorms. Its pretty compact and easy to park. Mechanics are familiar with them so repairs are cheaper compared to other makes.
Address the rust issues. Its everywhere on these vehicles. If you ignore the rust, you will have huge problems. The rear seats are a pain to fold down and back up. If I was buying a used Escape again I would avoid 2005 models because of the known wheel well defect. If its not fixed early, it can be a very expensive fix.
We bought a 2005 Ford Escape off of craigslist knowing full well that it came with rust issues. At the time we bought it, the rust looked to be only cosmetic. But about after about 10 months, the rear right wheel well began to rust through and then rust away. Some of inner portion of the wheel well was gone and you could see the material used to line the inside of the vehicle. As a result, the rear right shock was barely hanging on and every time you hit a bump just right, there was a very loud popping sound coming from the area. Quotes to fix it were between $700 and $1600.
Previous owners installed a DVD player, but it kinda messed up the electrical system and the lights the were supposed to light up when the headlights were turned on, no longer did.
Rust was an issue, so I suggest a material/treatment that can with stand tough Wisconsin winters and salted roads.