I have had my '05 Escape since Aug '04. It now has 6,800 miles on it and I love everytime I need to utilize its functionality. I have the XLT, moonroof, V6, AWD, with tow package. It pulls my two quads with enough power to "almost" not notice they are coming along for the ride.
The seats are comfy and supportive, I drove it from Omaha to Chicago at 75 MPH and had no problems. I get 18 MPG in town and 21 in the highway - and that's with AWD...
Certainly not a sportier car though. I had a 5 speed manual Contour before this that I use to drive like a Vette. I thought I was going to have a faster accelerating vehicle in this smaller SUV, but that wasn't the case... but now after owning this "truck" I almost dread driving my wife's 01 Accord EX V6.
I would certainly recommend it so far... I considered an Equinox, Rav4, Liberty, Vibe and they all came up short to the Escape. The decidin factor for me (besides the awesome deal I got) was the FLAT folding second row. I put my 6' Christmas tree inside my Escape no problem.
To comment on the last guy's comment. This is not a "true" 4WD it is however an AWD - so of course there isn't a low range. And I absolutely cannot believe that you didn't "think" of your particular vehicle needs when shopping. How can you not think about a slopping, mountainous, sometimes snow covered, S-shaped driveway when shopping for a vehicle. Suppose you won't make that mistake again.