Biggest beef - seats are HARD. I have the XLT with the "green" cloth & foam. VERY FIRM seats and not in a good way. 30 mins behind the wheel, you become all-too-aware of your lower back & the fact that there is a seat behind you. It is almost as if there is too much padding in the lumbar area. (There isn't any kind of adjustable lumbar support.) Short seat does not support legs effectively, too. Gas mileage, while good, is no where near EPA estimates if you drive the car with a purpose. And the purpose being making the car move. A feather-light touch on the gas pedal is required to achieve max MPG - and a feather-light touch means poor acceleration. You will find people riding your butt on even the slighest of inclines as the 4 cylinder attempts, but fails, to maintain speed. You will need to step on the gas to maintain speed & the cruise control will do the same, all at the detriment of your precious MPG. I needed an SUV with great hwy gas mileage so this is a trade off. It's a liveable situation, but it is something you will notice. I rated comfort is average because of the seats. Otherwise, the ride is actually very good and I was pleasantly surprised how smooth it rides, even over pot-hole heavy 295/95 in Richmond. The brakes, being drum in back, are alarmingly insufficient. The vehicle will reveal its weight when you brake. It took me some time to get used to how the SUV seems to "lunge" forward - almost as if it speeds up - while applying the brake. Then, all of the sudden I realized I needed to STOP soon so I'd have to apply the brake heavily to stop the Escape in time. Again, this was only because I was not expecting this heavy feel to the vehicle. (My other car is a 350Z) I wouldn't say this is a safety issue or a concern in that regard. Just something you need to get used to: brake early! Interior fit & finish is surprisingly very, very nice. Multi-tone & multi-texture finishes really stand out as above average. I've been in BMW's & MB's where I've sat back & wondered, "And this is top of the line because of... oh yeah, the price" because their fit & finish wasn't what I expected for luxury cars. Ford puts the imports & Chevy to shame with their interior on this vehicle. The new Chevys are improved & very nice - but Ford was ahead of the game here. (I am more of a "Chevy" guy - but hardly a die-hard. No brand loyalty here at all. I buy a vehicle on needs, desires, quality & price.) The sound system is sub-par. Replacing the radio will mean you lose the tailored, put-together look of stock. Unlikely aftermarket parts - which will be required - will be of similar quality. You will also lose the display functionality of the stock radio if you swap it out. I suggest you replace the speakers, though. It's EASY as pie & it's a DRAMATIC, NOTICEABLE improvement. Stock speakers play loudly, but are boomy, slow response & muddy. They output heavy - but SLOPPY - bass. I would call them unlistenable & even a non-audiophile will notice it. I replaced them with Infinity Kappas. While the limitations of the stock radio are still evident, they Infinity speakers are a welcome improvement. Interior noise is controlled - evident, but not overly intrusive. The BIG sunroof is awesome! Should auto-close with one push of the button. It doesn't - you have to hold the button & it's S-L-O-W. Misses: the seats, rear drum brakes, both windows should be auto up & auto down. (Driver's side is auto, but down only.) Window buttons are misplaced - your fingers "naturally" fall on the REAR window controls when resting on the door's armrest. You don't think this is an issue until the 30th time you lowered the passenger side window when you meant to lower the front. Wish the auto-trans lever was on the steering wheel or anywhere else but where it is. Controls are very tactile & feel solid. Disregard any review that calls them shoddy or laughable or "whimsical at best" (I have read these comments on various auto mag sites reviewing the Escape.) The controls work, feel & look good. Not one bit "less" than any BMW or Benz (or Toyota, Honda or Nissan) I've ever driven or rode in. The ice-blue lighting I thought would annoy me like crazy (I can't STAND that awful "aqua" looking lighting so prevalent on Mopar & GM products....) Ford is borderline "aqua" but it's more blue & real nice. Sharp, readable & unique. It grew on me. Paint - very nice indeed. I am really impressed with the finish. Orange peel is evident - as it is on all cars - but the shine is real nice. Folks are always commenting on the color & finish on my Escape. (The black is real nice!)
I recently turned in my 6cyl Ford Sporttrac lease and decided to purchase a 4cyl Ford Escape. So far I have not regretted my decision. I'm saving on gas and my kids love to ride in this Ford Escape. Would reccommend to anyone that does not need the horsepower over saving fuel cost.
For the money, this really is a great compact SUV. I've had my 08 for a year now and I have not regretted getting it. The V6 is very strong and is rated at 24 MPG highway but I've been getting 26. The automatic transmission is very smooth as is the ride. Standard audio system is great and has satellite radio w/6 months free. The looks of the exterior and interior are really improved over the older Escapes. The only issue is some of the interior materials have a cheap feel to them. And the standard cloth seats stain easily... go for the leather. The power windows are far noisier than they should be. But overall, a great vehicle!