My wife and I traded in our 1985 Jeep grand wagoneer for a 2009 Ford Escape XLT as part of the cash for clunkers program. We had researched this vehicle and it was definitely the best vehicle for the price. One year and 23,000 miles later, we are still happy with the Escape. It is a good looking, (flame red) good handling car. The 240 horsepower v-6 gives it sports car like performance. We've only been able to manage about 24 mpg out of it on the open road, but that is really good mileage for this type of vehicle. We've had the transmission computer reprogrammed and a sensor replaced at no charge to us. Neither of these things affected the drivability of the vehicle.
The dashboard layout is great, and the 240 horsepower V-6 is quiet and powerful. The nSync system is impressive.