I had been looking at new cars for about a month, and the dealer could NOT have been more honest or helpful. However, there had not been any incentives to buy just yet. TWO days before my lease ran out on my Bravada, the Ford dealership announced special financing, and apparently, cars were being snatched up.
To make a long story short, I bought this Escape 100% over the phone, without test-driving or even SEEING it. I never recommend anybody do this.
However, the Escape has been nothing but a remarkable vehicle, and I have NOT been disappointed. I live on a VERY steep hill which most comparable small-ute's can't get up. (think CRV & RAV4). The Escape makes it look easy.
The seats are very supportive and comfortable for long-term trips. There seems to be a generous amount of space (way more than in my Bravada), for such a small ute.
Although I'm indifferent to the front end, I think the Escape looks pretty agreeable, although I'm partial to the Mazda Tribute's looks.
I've heard gossip about how the Escape isn't a "real" ute. I can see where they're coming from (and the tires say "summer!"), but I certainly think if the tires were changed, it would certainly be suitable for the occasional light-trail path.
Besides, that's further than anyone who buys one would take it anyway.
For the money I paid, it was a terrific value, and I would HIGHLY reccomend over the wimpy RAV4's and CRV's ANYDAY.