The 2004 XLT is a great vehicle... It is a powerful machine, it is a roomy machine, it is a fun machine. The Ford Escape is a great example of an SUV. It can tow, store, fly, and lug people around! The fuel economy for this SUV is extremely amazing for an SUV!!!
2004 Ford Escape Limited 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I bought my car because I wanted something with a little more space when I had my child. It's perfect with kids and car seats, enough space for everyone to be comfortable. I've always trusted Ford because with the exception of the older "Exploders" they've made great cars. My car isn't an exception. It has 165,000 miles and it still runs pretty good. Only complaint is leaking oil, but aside from that, it's been pretty reliable. Alternator went out recently, but that's to be expected.
One Ford trait, is blowing coils. Two days after I bought it, at 140,000 the coils around the spark plugs blew,which caused a misfire. Could have been a pricey fix other than being married to a mechanic.
Update. 185,000. Engine still runs strong, but we've found a few more of those pesky Escape design flaws. I've been through two more alternators, and we've battled the EGR problem off and on for the past year. Google the EGR fault and you'll get 10 different possibilities of what it could be, and every Escape runs into this at some point or another. Aside from all that, we keep this one because it is still a good family car, and it's amazing with snow and inclement weather!
Bought this vehicle new in Oct. 2003. No trade in got a good deal from the dealership. Car has been one of the best we ever had for the money. 202,000 miles and still running strong. I change my own oil, every 5,000 miles w/Motorcraft oil and filter and the 3.0 V-6 never uses any oil, average 1/2 qt. in 5,000 miles. Very happy with the car. Went out and bought another new one hope it is as good as the 2004 has been. Got 26MPG highway with Continental tires, went on the cheap with Cooper tires last set never again. Tires are loud, ride rough had them balanced twice, plus MPG DROPPED 2 MPG stay away from Cooper tires.
My mom bought this SUV in October 2012 (I've daily driven it since September 2014) with 113,000 miles, with almost all the maintenence reports, and the vehicle was very well maintained. First year of ownership was great. It Handled very well, rode very nicely, had a lot of power, and got good gas mileage (25 MPG combined). About 13 months later it started having normal issues, like needing tie rods and tires and spark plugs. Then the vacuum leaks popped up. Then the exhaust falling off the car. Then needing a seal on the transfer case replaced. My car died in September 2014, and I've been driving the Escape almost daily since. In that time, it's needed struts as well as two new tires, which are normal things to wear on a car. The not so normal? Power steering pump failed twice, needed new brake lines, new front calipers, as well as a new master cylinder, more vacuum leaks, exhaust leaks, ball joints, and a wheel bearing. Fast forward to now, the car sits at 153,954 miles, and the car has an extremely rough idle, a plastic melting smell that will literally burn your eyes, and stalling. I'm pretty sure it's a vacuum link, my mom thinks the engine is blown. Either we're not sinking any more money into it, as the transmission was on it's way out as well.