I've had the Tribute for 2 months now and I couldn't be happier. I priced out the Escape and the Mariner but ended up with the Tribute for the styling, standard 16" wheels, warranty (4 years/50000 miles), and the aggressive pricing from the dealership. Even if you live in a cold climate, the FWD is more than adequate for getting through snow and the antilock brakes are very effective. I test drove the new 4 cylinder and it was fine but the 6 cylinder is much smoother and the gas mileage is still respectable. Give the Tribute a look and tell the dealer that you're seriously considering an Escape. The price will come down considerably. Hope this helps!
V6, gas mileage, fun to drive, 6 disc CD changer, stereo.