I just traded in my '01 Intrepid for this '05 Escape. So far my husband and I are very pleased with it. This vehicle is great if you are looking to step up to your first SUV from a car. The Escape is very responsive; it drives and handles great. I agree with other reviewers about filling the gas tank: it is annoying because you can't just put the nozzle in, lock it in place and walk away. It always clicks off a few seconds later so I have to stand there and hold it, which I never had to do with my car. The gas mileage on the v6 isn't that great. I'm constantly filling my gas tank (city driving about 90% of the time). the ignition could have been more well placed (odd spot, have to search).
6 disc changer, get the upgraded roof rack & running boards, responsive, no trouble hauling materials, perfect height for getting in and out comfortably (I'm 5'10), seats fold down easily for storage
place the ignition in a better spot, the steering wheel should be able to move up higher when you release the latch so larger people can get in and out easier, fix the issue with the gas tank
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