This is my 2nd Escape. The 04 XLT FWD was good reliable transportation with just a little dose of fun factor included. The LTD adds the MACH sound system which is much better than the standard unit, as well as AWD which I can appreciate as a boat towing kind of guy. Using the old XLT FWD for towing my 3300lb boat was sometimes trouble coming out of the water. The AWD easily gets around any wheel slippage. Getting about 18mpg but drive it fairly hard and at least half the miles are city. Our family highly recommends this vehicle as a good fit between a CUV and any of its much larger politically incorrect cousins.
It's one of the best selling compact SUV of all time. I liked the overall package well enough to stay in the ownership queue for another few years. Like the leather seats, MACH stereo, paint quality, smooth ride and handling.
It's ready for a makeover since it's in the sixth year of production. Streamline the body, increase the performance, do something innovative to get my next purchase. At the very least meet the high standards of our Asian friends.