Bought vehicle with zero miles, drove through 2007 New Year's Day weekend blizzard in New Mexico after putting on only about 500 miles - 2WD (front wheel drive) awesome in snow - went through over 50 miles of 6 - 12" deep snow with few or no problems. Nice ground clearance for small SUV. Lots of interior space - just slightly shorter than an Explorer, but same height and width. Unitized construction keeps weight down, allows 4-cylinder engine to do adequate job of propelling vehicle while returning about 25 MPG - and it's not even fully broken in yet! Nice, big (about 20 gallon) gas tank means more miles between fill-ups. Comfortable, easy to drive on long trips, supportive, firm seats.
Easy to see out of, nice-sized mirrors. Interior quiet for an SUV. Black-on-white, backlit gauges. Nice mp3 CD player radio. Powerful heater. Awesome traction/control on snow/ice. Good ABS. Mileage almost as good as compact car I traded in.
Light cruise control buttons, controls on steering column stalks. A bit more low-end thrust from the 4-cylinder engine. Lose the plastic lower-body cladding.
After owning this SUV for 5 years, I would buy another in a minute!
I have the oil and other services done as recommended in the manual, and have had NO service issues.
Got 67,000 miles out of the OEM General tires, and other than replacing the battery at 36 months, and both taillights after my wife and I "customized" them by backing into things we shouldn't have, I haven't had to spend a dime (now 75,000 miles) on repairs.
Brakes still work fine (we do a lot of highway driving, so the brakes don't get too much of a workout).
Interior for the most part is still fine (but the radio won't play .mp3's any more - just regular .cda audio discs).
Transmission, cruise control, lights, windows, locks, A/C, heater all still work fine.
But the best part is: this thing is a MISSLE!
I regularly use an additive with every fill-up (fuel injector cleaner or octane booster from the dollar store) and good regular-grade gas from the corner gas station.
If you slowly roll into the gas pedal when leaving a dead stop, the 2.3L 4-cylinder engine will reward me with ludicrous accelleration every time!
In addition to the visits from Our Blessed Mother Of Accelleration, it gets a steady 25 MPG (25 city, 25 hwy @ 70 MPH) if not driven in Rally mode.
So - the key to happiness with a Ford Escape?
Do the recommended maintenance, when recommended, and ignore what Ford says in the owner's manual, and use Gumout or some other fuel system cleaner regularly.
Still Lovin' It.
Over seven years into owning my Escape, and it's still a GREAT vehicle.
Almost through the second set of tires (Bridgestone SE200's), and all I've had to replace is the rear shocks (done in my garage with some help from my friends), and at 103,000 miles, the timing belt, water pump, and belt tensioner pulley (motor threw the belt because the water pump had play in the drive shaft, and pulley had rounded over the edges, making it easier for the belt to slip off.
Replaced battery again, in warranty so
it was about half-price.I do regular oil changes and maint., get 25 MPG on highway.
Original brakes still good.
Air cond. still blows cold, but may need service sometime this year (takes a while to get cold).
Soon it will need new spark plugs, timing belt, brakes, and power steering and transmission services.
Radio had to go - eventually wouldn't even play audio CD's.
Much happier with aftermarket replacement.
These would make a great used car as long as the previous owner kept up with maintenance.
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