Just traded my Nissan Pathfinder that was too big and used too much gas as well as being awful on a long trip. The Escape handles well and is very comfortable. Fits 4 adult males comfortably and the 4 cylinder still has plenty of power to move you around. Of course the interior isn't as snazzy as my wife's F-150 Lariat, but hey what do you expect for 25K less?! Overall it's my favorite of any vehicle I've ever owned.
Handling, 4 cylinder gas mileage, interior comfort.