I've not had any problems in a gear higher than 1st. I bought the vehicle used a few weeks ago, so there may have been some work done previously, but nothing was mentioned to me when I asked, and the vehicle report didn't show any major repairs.
Over the past week, the problems with 1st gear have disappeared. It may have just taken the PCM a bit of time to get used to my driving style to accommodate the shift timing.
The only thing I've experienced with highway driving was when coasting to a stop down an exit ramp, the vehicle shifted hard into 1st gear without any input from me. It hasn't happened again.
I bought my first Ford in August '09 when I drove the '09 Escape Hybrid off the showroom floor. It's now sitting at the dealership for the 7th time with the latest in a range of defects that had to be replaced: console cover, 4 window motors, rear window, steering wheel, A/C vent motor, and now they are trying for the 3rd time to figure out why the sunroof glass creaks when it's cold.
I've spent a ridiculous amount of time at the dealership on this car. Last night I received a voicemail from the service manager, that they've concluded the creaking is natural, and so Ford isn't going to pay for the sunroof glass to be replaced. But this same guy is the one who rode with me yesterday morning, listened to the creaking, and said it sounded like the glass was loose. This car is a lemon!
We test drove the Escape against the Toyota RAV 4, and ended up with the RAV 4. It is much quieter, smoother, quicker and better driving all around. It is also rattle free even with the sunroof. I thought the interior materials were pretty much the same level on both trucks.
We liked the Escape overall, but I am kinda glad we went with the Toyota now. It is so much more fun to drive. It is like having a sports car that is an SUV, all at the same time.
We have owned our 09 Escape for 2 years, and have 52,000 miles on it.
The 3rd week we owned it, the starter went out.
The sync drops my wife's phone about every 2 weeks. We then have to redo the hook up (what a pain).
We have the cloth black interior. The seats stain very easily. I put aftermarket vinyl seat covers on, so I wasn't cleaning them all the time.
We have rotated our tires every 6000 miles to no avail. Excessive inside tire wear!!! The noise is so annoying, every time I get in the vehicle, I get livid!! I have had tire noise since 20,000 miles, and it's documented at our dealership. I have been waiting for a response from a Ford engineer. I have talked to front end specialists, and have been told that the toe in is too aggressive. This gives the Escape a more sportier feel. Ford doesn't care about tire wear. The Escape's alignment is in specs, and is an inherent issue with this vehicle.
I had one of the managers from our local dealership go for a ride with me. All it took was a speed of 20 mph and he could hear it. His quote to me was he would be livid if he had to put up with it. They are actually trying to get a response from Ford about this, and now they're getting the same complaints from other owners with less miles. My recommendation is run don't walk from this vehicle. The tire noise will drive you nuts.
Other than the issues I raised, it's been reliable, and the gas mileage is really good average is 28 mpg.
However, I own a 03 Olds mini van with 200,000 miles on it, and the only thing I have had to do to it was intake gaskets, brakes and fluid changes, and tires of course. NO road noise ever, and I haven't rotated tires like I should have.
Next vehicle, I guarantee, will not be a Ford.