If you look on eBay there are plenty of seller selling repair kits for rear shock mounts on the escape. The frame in this area was so rusted the “fix” only worked for a short time. Make sure you check the amount of rust under the rear quarter panel. Other than that it is a reliable cheap vehicle.
I bought a used 2007 Ford Escape from an (ex) friend. It had 180 000 miles (this comment doesn't go through, if I put that in).. I wanted to be sure it works, so with a $1000 deposit I supposed to pay it monthly until I pay off the $3700 price. It went about 5 blocks and it stopped at the first redlight. After a half an hour it started again. Finally I had to tow to a repair shop: the transmission was out. It was on recall. I called the Ford CO, and I was told, that they ONLY repair the car, if I got a letter from the co, that they honor they'll repair it. (The original owner may got it, but I'm the third owner). I he tow truck driver said, that this is the most towed (and junked) car. Have you driven a Ford lately? Oh, you can"t? It doesn't go anywhere? It's a total RIP OFF? (If it would be from a foreign country, it would be BANNED from the US market.
Recently my wife and i decided to get our 17 year old son his own car. For some reason he WANTED a manual transmission and he wanted a small SUV. After looking for several months I ran across a one owner 2007 Ford Escape with the 2.3L motor and the five speed manual. According to the Ford Escape forums, this is the combination you want as the 2.3L uses a timing chain and not a timing belt and if you get the manual transmission it can easily go 200K+ miles. This particular one had been garage kept and had 102K miles, no wrecks, no nicks in the paint, upholstery had no tears and looked brand new, the only option it had was AWD and power windows. As a bonus all the fluids had been changed and it had new tires. I bought it at a reasonable price and drove it for two months until my son could get his license. What an absolute blast that little SUV is to drive! For a four cylinder it will accelerate quite quickly! For in town driving it is the bomb! On the highway it does well though you don't want to go above 70 as you feel like an insect skittering on top of water but that could be the tires. With the AWD it delivers a constant 24.5 MPG with the AC on, we went a week with the AC off and it got 25.5 MPG. I am 6'3" and never felt crowded in the vehicle. My son is 6' tall and loves the vehicle but I had a hard time turning the keys over as I really fell in love with this little SUV. Note: For some reason I do prefer the styling of this year SUV over the later years. To me it seems it has more visibility than the later ones. Parents - if you are considering one for your kid, do get the manual shift! A ki can't hold a cell phone while shifting gears!