Re: Wanting to buy an Escape???????
Joey, I have a 2005 Escape Limited - and I haven't had one issue since buying. I am not sure where you are, but in Australia ours are made in Japan next to Mazda's production line - so from what I can tell from reading on the various forums, we get less issues (its a build quality thing ..).
Anyway, its a great car that gives you a close to car feeling, but at the same time lets you get your wheels dirty if you decide to go off-road (but I wouldn't push it in those stakes).
Definietly go for the V6, as I have heard the 2.3L (4 cyclinder) is underpowered for this car. The V6 is powerful, and has got alot of punch in it. Also, if you want to save $$, you can do some of the servicing yourself, its actually not a hard or complicated car to work on (ie..changing oil, oil filters, sparks..etc)
Fuel consumption(mileage) is good, provided your not a "lead-foot". Start pushing her "hard" and she'll make you pay !
Transmission is good (more like just o.k). Can be a bit hard between changes, but again depends on how you drive it. This particular transmisssion actually likes being "flogged", and in my experience I find smoother changes with hard acceleration - sounds strange, but thats my edxperience !. - I have only heard of one transmission failure I know of, and it wasn't a Ford Escape it was a 2002 Mazda Tribute that had done ALOT of towing after about 3 years (transmission went dead just as the warranty ran out - poor bastard !) - so if your intending on doing alot of towing, probably look elsewhere.
Handling is o.k for a 4x4, but I must admit the ride is a bit hard & firm. It really makes you feel the bumps and holes in the road as you go over them - so I keep my tyres down to just above minimum pressure -helps dampen the shock some-what. So if your after a soft or lush ride - look elsewhere ! (ie..like Toyota Kluger). Wondering if anyone else has this feeling about harsh ride in the Escape ? (any solution for this ...??)
Else the Escape is a great 4x4. The remarks you here in this forum are pretty rare cases, so I would probably be surprised if you had any of the same issues, but be-aware if your buying second hand though. Here in Australia very few are on the 2nd hand market because they are such good/reliable and economic cars - so if someone's getting rid of it early - its usually because it has problems.
Sand Dune - V6 Escape Limited