I talked my wife into buying the Escape XLS 4x4. We felt it the car would be nice as a future family car. My parents own 2002 Ford Escape XLS and have been quite pleased. So far, it's been a dream driving, performing well in snow, wind and sleet. Great purchase below $20K, we even able to talk the saleswoman into installing fog lights at no additional charge. This vehicle will perform great anywhere in the country.
Wheel handling, ability to make tight turns and decent stereo system.
Would love to see the manual 4x4 put back in, not sold on the intelligent 4x4 option.