At 59,903 miles (about a week after purchase), took the Escape into the dealership for a grinding noise coming from the front of the vehicle. Had right front strut and strut assembly replaced, US$287.96. Also, check engine light came on, was determined to be due to faulty DPFE sensor, replaced for additional US$259.17.
While at an oil change at 65,238 miles, was told an ABS module connector was replaced, $30.90, covered by factory warranty.
For some time, I noticed when there was high humidity, such as after it had rained, or if the Escape was not moved for a day or two, when I started it and drove it, the engine would idle roughly and it would hesitate when I attempted to accelerate in the beginning. The check engine light would blink on and off during this period. After some time of driving, it would smooth out again and the light would turn off. I took it in for this issue at 65,978 miles. Was told the cylinders were misfiring. Dealer replaced cylinder head assembly, gaskets and bolts, parking brake cables (didn't realize my parking brake wasn't working), and spark plugs. Total cost - US$3,275.00; extended warranty I had purchased covered $3,135.00 (only reason I authorized the repair), and I paid $140.00 out of pocket for deductible and spark plugs.
When repairs were completed, was told to bring it back to have the catalytic converter replaced, and it would be covered by the factory warranty. Brought back at 66,100 miles. Replaced this and also the oil light sending unit (dealer stated light came on during repair). $867.62 total, all covered by Ford.
Was experiencing rattling/clunking noises when I went faster than 15mph. Took it to the dealer at 69,350 miles, replaced both front stabilizer links and front lower control arm. $609.00, paid $100.00, extended warranty covered the rest.
All in all, about $5,300.00 in repairs, approx. $790.00 out of my pocket. This did not include the costs of preventative maintenance (oil changes, brakes, etc.) and purchasing of tires.
Had I been required to pay for the mentioned repairs completely myself, this report would probably be a little more negative. Despite those setbacks in the beginning of ownership (I did get approx. 29,000 miles of trouble free operation out of it afterwards), the Escape was more than adequately able to satisfy my day to day requirements from an SUV.
The 201Hp 3.0 V6 gave the Escape some good power and torque, but you definitely pay for it at the gas pump. I averaged about 16 to 18 miles per gallon, combining city and highway driving.
Handling was as to be expected from an SUV, but then again I didn't purchase it for its slalom course prowess.
The 4WD comes in very handy in these Midwest winters; I never came across anything the Escape couldn't handle, nor did it ever "break down" and leave me stranded. Starting up in sub-zero temperatures was never an issue, and the air conditioning always ran nice and cold in our sometimes 100 degree summers.
The interior was well thought out (save for the steering column gear shift sometimes getting in the way of the radio controls when in "Drive").
Though the Escape I had did not come with a center console and armrests, the seats were durable, comfortable, and there was plenty of leg room for all passengers. Visibility was excellent to all directions.
Cargo space was great; I could carry a baby stroller back there and still have room for groceries. I moved a few times during my ownership of the Escape, and once I folded down the back seat, I was amazed at what I could carry back there.
Through this site, I learned these vehicles start having transmission problems as they approach 100,000 miles, and it seems mine was no different. Recently, before I sold it to a dealership to cover home repairs, I noticed the transmission would sometimes have trouble shifting to overdrive as I approached speeds exceeding 65 to 70 miles per hour.
Not my aim to discourage anybody from purchasing an Escape, as they also tend to be reasonably priced, but purchasing an extended warranty that covers the powertrain, namely the trans, would not be a bad idea.