I bought my 2001, first year model, new in 2001. It has been the best car I've ever owned. It has done every hauling and snow driving work ever asked of it w/o a problem. With 140,000 miles I still feel good enough about it to send my son to school in snow country with it. Keep up with regular oil changes and service and it will last a very long time. I am buying a 2010 Escape to replace it.
The originals look better than the newer ones.
Go back to the older, sleeker, less bulky body style.
Love the Escape. I will buy another one if this one gives out. I have had very little trouble. Take care of it and it will last. My only complant; can be tricky to work on. Have to remove air intake to replace spark plugs. Have to remove exhaust to replace oil pan gasket. Drive belt hard to get to with the side engine.
Rides very good, roomey, looks great, holds all the things I need to transport.
Put a light on the ignition slot. Hard to see at night to put the key in.
I bought this car the first year it was introduced and really enjoyed it for the first 85,000 miles. Eventually several small things started happening; radio sounds fine but the display hasn't worked in 18 months. Interior front door fabric material has come unglued on driver and passenger's side. Factory installed tinting on driver's side window has bubbled. Have spent a couple hundred dollars 2-3 times in the last 6 months for engine related issues, and still the engine light comes on intermittently. In general I've enjoyed the car, but it's not built to last - at least the first year edition's not.
Agile & responsive. Drives like a car ans is very nimble. Gas mileage is relatively good. Affordable and fun to drive.
So, bought one of these gently used from a friend, despite negative reviews. He had only put 68k miles on it after buying it new, and it was well maintained and clean. 2 months later, replaced the o2 sensor, and the transmission just went out. My wife loves the Escape, but the stories about the transmission are absolutely true.
I bought it 3 years old with 47k miles on it. It now has 206k miles (!!!) and is still going strong. I use it to commute, for beach runs, and to haul stuff around, and it runs great. Over the years I've fixed the suspension and brakes a few times, and it ate a tranny at 90k, but otherwise it's been very reliable. It's fun to drive as well. I paid $15k for it and I'd say I've gotten my money's worth. Fuel economy isn't bad, by the way (23k highway). Front seats are more comfortable than in my wife's Mercedes (yes, believe it -- I have a bad back). Worst part of the experience was the selling dealer; I will never return there except to buy a car under invoice.
Engine, handling, seats, storage, versatility
Fuel tank needs to be bigger. Brakes & suspension seem to be undersized. A little more soundproofing would be nice. Multi-CD player is prone to jamming (with my favorite CDs stuck in it)