2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0 Duratec from North America
Decent daily driver if you need AWD
Driver's side seat wears out quick and the interior isn't the best quality.
Rear pinion seal at 105,000.
Passenger side output shaft seal at 105,000.
Sway bar link at 105,000.
This is a reasonably reliable car with reasonable comfort, performance, and fuel economy. But if you take it to the dealer for its scheduled maintenance, it can get a little pricey.
My Escape averages 19 MPG, which is reasonable for what it is. It offers good cargo space with the rear seats that fold flat with the removal of the rear headrests. The AWD system is amazing in any weather condition with a decent set of tires. On long road trips the car can be uncomfortable for the driver and passengers, but only after hours on the road. Also the car has a pretty good towing capacity, even though it can seem kind of gutless. I pulled an enclosed 6x12 U haul from Georgia to North Carolina loaded down, and it worked pretty hard, but did a steady 65 mph on the highway with the overdrive off.
Maintenance can be a pain and a little on the pricey side for this car. The intake manifold has to be removed to change the back 3 spark plugs, which is around $300 at the dealer or a nervous 2 hours with a Haynes manual for the DIY. I was personally a little bummed that the pinion seal, output shaft seal, and sway bar link failed at 105,000 miles, but those aren't really major repairs and can be done by DIY or for $600 at the dealer. Also the transmission has a none serviceable internal filter, so I pay the $150 to have it flushed every 30,000 miles... better safe than sorry.
All in all, this is a really decent daily driver if you need AWD. I wish the maintenance and repairs were little cheaper, but technicians need to make a living too, so set a little money aside for it. If you can do your own maintenance and repairs, it really does pay off with this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 7th April, 2014