I received a lengthy list of recalls on the vehicle in the summer of 2007 and had them all repaired. Apparently, the previous owner ignored his letters from the Ford people.
Front brakes replaced at 126,000 miles. Rear brakes replaced at 136,000 miles. The air conditioner must be recharged every summer, probably due to holes in the tubing (Ford is notorious for directing rubber air conditioning tubing too low to the road, causing salt and dirt to deteriorate it). Luckily, you can do this yourself for about $20.
The factory-installed CD player skips with abandon and is really near worthless at this point. It is worse if it is exceedingly cold or hot outside. If it is winter and the heater is on, forget it. I think it's kind of neat that it also has a cassette player, but since I got rid of my cassettes in the late 1990s, it isn't really functional. It is almost like a tailbone or appendix on the body. I will eventually get around to replacing the whole thing.
Area above the tire wells in the back began rusting out within a few months of purchase in early 2007. It is bordering on unsightly. It was only after I purchased the car that I realized it was from Vermont, which would probably explain the premature rust situation. This aesthetic blight is my biggest complaint with the vehicle. The vehicle is white and rust is not easily hidden.
Driver's seat has begun to wear out for some reason. There is an almost significant hole in the vinyl and the entire thing is beginning to come undone from metal part to attaches to the floor. I only weigh 145 pounds. I'm waiting for the day it just comes off completely and I'm sitting on the floor.
Only recently, I noticed a very small sticker on the inside of the driver's side door. This sticker indicates that while the car was under warranty, something (not specified) went wrong and the owners at that time were not satisfied with the repair and Ford was forced to take ownership of the vehicle. I do not know what was wrong, but feel that SOMEONE should have pointed this out to me before I bought it (i.e. the dealership I bought it from). I was not aware stickers like this existed beforehand.
The battery light on the dashboard illuminates frequently, particularly when the headlights are on. It has done this for over a year for apparently no reason, as I have yet to replace the battery or alternator and it starts up every single morning without an issue. I don't see a reason to pay someone to do a diagnostic test if there is not something clearly wrong with the car.
I have not experienced any major mechanical difficulty as of yet, which is amazing since the odometer is creeping up to 140,000 miles. I am very satisfied with that, though I may have jinxed myself.
The Escape drives like a Taurus with bigger wheels. You can't hate the Taurus to like the Escape. I, personally, am not a huge Taurus fan (I find them to be very generic), but find the Escape to be the better-looking cousin to it.
The on-the-dash shifter is badly placed. When the car is in drive, you can't see the rear defrost button, so turning it on is a pain and looking to see if it's still engaged is not easy. Some of the heating elements on the rear defrost don't work anyway, so it isn't as useful as I'd like it to be.
The Escape is shockingly roomy, considering it is not a large SUV. Friends constantly comment that the backseat is very comfortable to sit in (I have yet to accomplish this myself, seeing as I'm driving it). It seats 3 adults very easily without being squashed. I frequently get drafted to drive for road trips.
Gas mileage isn't ridiculously bad and is quite average for a moderately sized 6 cylinder vehicle. A fill-up is about $50 with today's gas prices and it lasts at least the whole week. I work in the town I live in, but will make further trips 2-3 times a week (around 50 miles per trip) on average. It doesn't seem to suck a huge amount, though I wish it didn't use any at all and ran on sunlight. :)
If I had to buy another car tomorrow, there is a good chance I would buy another Escape. I like the size of the vehicle and it's overall fairly easy to drive. Though minor issues have arisen with the car, it can easily be chalked up to being a 7-year-old 3-owner vehicle originally from an area where there is a lot of salt on the roads.