Re: 2003 to 2005 Escape Buying Advise
I see it's been a while since you posted, but I'll give my two cents. I like the Escape, but I'm not 100% confident that the corrosion protection was done well. There are various reports of people with rusted out rear shock towers which concerns me. My 2004 model is a tick over 100,000km and it's got some relatively minor rust in the wheel well and underbody, but it's not to the point where it's causing problems.
The 04 and later Escapes are pretty reliable, but I wouldn't say fuel economy is all that great with the V6. If you can find a 4-cylinder with AWD, that may suit you better, but it reduces your trailer towing ability. Good luck!
2006 Volkswagen Jetta
2004 Ford Escape