To the person who wrote in on May 8, 2010 about the check engine light. Be sure to read the owner's manual. You should fill the car with gas and let it run through a few cycles and the light should go off. (The same happened to me, I did this and it worked!) A cycle is defined in the owner's manual as a cycle of fast/slow driving. Don't pay a rip-off mechanic to investigate this and tell you he "found" the problem and fixed it. I have a 2001 Ford Escape (XLS stick shift) in the U.S. and am very happy with it. I bought it when it was a baby with 6 miles. Now, 220k miles later, it's a workhorse adult and still going strong. Good luck.
First would be to replace degas bottle and ECT sensor, and while that is being done, clean the throttle body and air filter?
I own a 2001 XLS 4.0 cylinder stick shift 4x4 version of the Escape. I bought it in January 2013 and had a few problems, but nothing major.
I had the pads and rotors replaced, as we live in Minnesota and the road salt can do a number on the parts.
I have a mechanic that is a friend of mine, who has his own shop. He has done any of my repairs for me. I tend to stay away from dealerships, and can tell you that if you find a good honest mechanic, stay with them as they are worth their weight in gold.
Overall I like this small SUV. I bought it used on Craigslist for $2800 with an extra set of tires.
I am impressed with the gas mileage, as I drive about 34 miles a day to work round trip. I have managed to get 23.5 MPG city/highway mix. This vehicle has 240,000 miles on it and still runs fine. It is not a speed demon by any means, but starts up and gets me from point A to point B.
I had some rust around the rear wheel wells; sanded it and used some Bondo and re-painted it. Looks good, and I hope to use it for a few more years. I have never owned a Ford before, but so far so good.