Like most consumers, I shopped around at competing models. The Escape - I like the looks, gas mileage (averaging 26 hwy and 22 city), and especially the ergo layout of the drivers position. At 6'4" I need to make sure the vehicle fits me, and other brands (Toyota, Honda) just didn't fit me correctly.
Layout, mileage, sync is okay, but can be annoying at times. Aggresive design.
Rough idling. Beware...I took it into the dealership. They had me sit in another 09 Escape, and it too was rough idling (AC on in Drive). Service guys tell me Ford is "leaning" out their engines to squeeze out the gas mileage. It's bad enough that I can't tell if my Blackberry is vibrating!