2005 Ford Escape Hybrid Fwd 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I've never owned an American car before, so this was a big jump for me. I've driven my hybrid for 2 months/4400 miles, and am enjoying it. The instrument layout reminds me a lot of my Mazda. Escape was a joint venture between Ford & Mazda, and it shows. I'm not frustrated with this car the way I am with many American-made rental cars I've driven. Plenty of acceleration - from a start and at highway speeds. Good cargo room (important for me, as I haul a couple of large dogs on my trips). I've been getting around 29/30 on trips and 30/31 in town, but I don't do a lot of stop and go driving.
The cargo area: I had originally planned on getting a Toyota Highlander hybrid, but the cargo area of the Ford (while slightly smaller) sold me on this car. The cargo area is perfectly flat - much better than the Highlander - and well designed for hauling things.
Interior dome light is too far back. I don't like the fact that a buzzer comes on when I engage the parking brake. I miss my sunroof. And wouldn't a green pinstripe down the notch on the side make a nice style statement?