3.0 V6 XLT. Bought it new with leather and towing pkg. Has 3500 lbs towing capacity which was best in class then. Still getting 20 mpg city and 25-27 mpg hwy. Great suv even by today's standards. Heard some horror stories with the transmissions on this vehicles; I serviced my transmission every 50k no problem!
Do not buy this car...replaced the transmission 3 times...Once was under warranty. 5/28/15 had some cable assembly fixed (dealing with the transmission) and now 5/25/16 the O/D light keeps flashing on and off. garage says the code reads Torque converter. I ask did he not change the torque converter when he rebuilt the transmission and I did not get a response. I was told to bring it back when the check engine light comes on! When i can afford to buy another car it WILL NOT be a Ford Escape! The motor has been great but the transmission is worthless..Just a way for Ford to keep bringing in $$.
Right now I have 202,000 miles on my 2001 Escape. I bought it used a year ago. It is a 4 cylinder stick shift. Fuel mileage is pretty good, ride and handling are good, and reliability is great. Plenty of interior room and comfortable. Handles well in snow and driving around the farm. I bought it as a work vehicle and it has been great. The engine is what I like best. This is the first stick shift I have owned and learning has been very easy. The engine has plenty of power, to my surprise it can actually burn rubber quite easily! The only times I have had trouble in the snow are when it needed new tires and when I try to start up too hard the front tires spin, but it's fun.
I was handed down this car from my cousin who wasn't big on maintenance such as oil changes that went unperformed to the point of dipstick scorching and driving on dry rotted tires, the original clutch still grabs great, cold starts are a snap and idle speed is nice and low at 500rpm. No major repairs needed after 180k miles just tires and minor rust repair. The thing handles great and shifts while not as precise as a sports car can still be executed swiftly. If noise isn't your thing the 4 cylinder is much more pronounced than the more loaded v6 XLT. For great performance and dependability you can't beat these first gen Escapes.
Owned this escape since 2001 when it had 0 miles. It now has 235,000 and is still going. Never had any problems, original engine, transmission, clutch, and everything. New front struts/tie rods and brakes at 190k. Replaced the in-dash stereo, but left the speakers, they sound as good as the Bose speakers in our 2007 yukon denali. Vehicle drives great in all conditions, and still looks like new when it's clean. The Escape has never let me down, and i hope to rely on it for years to come.