Ford Escape opinions sought, please!

My mom wants a second car. We found what seems like a good deal on a 06 Escape. Anybody have any input on this or the Mazda Tribute or the Mercury thing that it also is?

Considering the XLT package with the V6 and electric options. Anybody got one? Anything to look out for? Any glaring problems? Want to share?


I’m not a car expert or anything, but I think in general the Escape is a very highly rated suv.

I’ve got a 2003 Escape XLT Sport, which I bought new. I absolutely love the thing. It’s reasonably sporty (it handles very well for a small SUV), it’s got great hauling capacity, a great factory stereo (the optional Mach one). To date, the only money I’ve spent on it is for scheduled maintenance. Not a thing has gone wrong with it. It doesn’t have a single squeak or a rattle. The engine is as smooth as new. It drives and feels like a new car.

Today I just got it back from scheduled maintenance. It was the last one of the warranty period, so Ford gave me a free incentive to continue on with the maintenance plan with them: free oil changes for life, so long as I own the vehicle. This maintenance interval included a multi-point inspection, and I was thinking that now that it’s out of warranty, Ford would start telling me that a bunch of stuff was about to fail. But nope. Green checkmarks across the board.

I’d recommend one.

Good stuff! This is what I’m looking for!

How would you compare it to a “Fully Japanese” car with similar milage, if you have that experience? (body rattle, squeaks, and ect. I know this thing is a joint Mazda-Ford and figure it is mostly Japanese anyway)

What is/was the factory warrenty? And is it transferrable, if you know?

How much is the plan for extended maintenance that Ford is offering? My mom would want something like that.

Thanks! Keep the info streaming!

As it happens, we have a Japanese Sedan bought two years later. A Saab 9-2x, which is essentially a Subaru WRX wagon. They’re hard to compare in terms of things like interior quality, because their roles are completely different. The Ford is more of a rugged, utilitarian vehicle, and the interior shows it. It’s functional, but not spectacular. Good fit and finish, and all the electronics still work flawlessly. The Subaru interior is a little more polished, as fits a sedan. The only trouble we’ve had with it is a blown speaker. Of course the Ford doesn’t feel as tight and composed on the road, but then the Subaru is a rally car, and the Escape is a sedan with a truck body.

It’s probably different today. I think mine was 3 years/60,000 kilometers comprehensive, and 5 years /100,000 kilometers powertrain (don’t quote me on that - it’s from memory). Warranties have gotten better since.

I wouldn’t buy extended maintenance, as it’s a real dealer’s cash-cow. I don’t remember what they wanted to charge me for it. You can probably find out at Ford’s web site.

I used to have the Mazda Tribute. Loved it & it was great in the snow.

My only note of caution… at about 30K miles it needed a break job & it was expensive. The guy at the break place said the Tributes and Escapes go through breaks pretty fast.

Not knowing auto repairs that well, I may have been had, but they were grinding when we took it in.

We bought a 2008 Escape XLT last month. We really like this vehicle so far.

SpouseO’s got the '05 hybrid…oh.

So I’ll speak to the interior, instead - it’s exactly as Sam Stone said. Functional, nicely fitted, but yes, utilitarian (which, really, is what I’d expect). Less “sporty” feeling inside than the Nissan XTerra (which is what we owned before), but still nice. Lots of cargo room, as the back seats fold down flush. Responds well, handles well, good view (but grabby brakes. Surprisingly grabby. But I should’ve expected it for a hybrid, no?).

It’s over 30K, I believe, but we’ve never taken it in for anything other than oil changes and we’re really happy with it. SpouseO did blow at least one of his speakers already, but he turns the volume way up when he’s driving alone (which is every weekday - he’s got a 40 mile commute).

FYI, I rented an Escape a few years back and had to do a serious swerve on the highway doing about 60 to avoid a giant metal piece that had fallen off a truck. As I did it, I thought “Oh, FUCK! I’m rolling over!!” because it was so sharp, but that SUV stayed firmly planted with all 4 tires on the road. I was impressed with it’s handling.

My parents have an Escape and love it. They use it not only as a ‘to and from work’ vehicle but also to tow many things on a 200 mile jouney they make fairly often. I can’t help much with maintenance because my dad takes care of most of that himself so he didn’t need any oil change/brake plans. They did have the regular warranty - I want to say it was 5/50000. There was a recall for a piece of it - I can look around on the net and even ask them this weekend. I remember that being a PITA for them but that may have been the dealership giving them a hard time, not anything specific to the car.
They were always strictly a Mazda family before and were all set to buy a Tribute until the sales person did something very unprofessional and they told him to piss off. My point being that if you are shopping used cars and get to a Tribute vs. Escape I would go with lowest miles + price and not lose too much sleep evaluating the differences in brands because it is the same car.
I’ll see if I can find some info on that recall. You will want to make sure that part was fixed if you look at some vehicles from the model year of the recall.

Ford Escape Recalls

This has a list of all - you can check the dates against what year you are looking at. I didn’t get too involved in the website but it looks like you could use it to check against any care you are thinking about buying.

I have a 2004 Escape with a little over 32,000 miles on it (I don’t drive much anymore).

It has been used a LOT over the years to move a lot of things. You can really pack stuff in there. People borrow it all the time, and they have nothing but good things to say about it.

It’s not fancy or plush, but it drives great. I went from an Escort to this and I had absolutely no problems. It’s never felt like a big SUV to me.

One thing about noise - in mine, at least, there is a good bit of noise. Either the back window or the hinges in the seats creak when I drive (something in the back - I haven’t figured it out). Something in the steering column creaks. My cousin, a mechanic, tells me that the front end is “louder” than it should be. I am told that most of this stuff could be taken care of with a little grease, but since it doesn’t bother me that much I just let it go.

A few months ago I had my ABS get broken. There’s a little ring on the axle that controls the ABS and that ring cracked. It was a $700 fix at the dealer, or an $80 fix in my cousin’s garage. I am told this is how all Ford axle/ABS systems work (have to replace the whole axle if that ring gets broken) - and I would assume Mazda works the same way. Chevies do not.

I am also not happy with the factory tires. They squeal when I am making a turn on an incline. But, the tires have also lasted this long, still with good tread, so I keep them. I will be happy when I replace them, though.

FWIW, according to my mechanic/cousin, I’ve still got a few months left on my brakes.

With all of these “problems” (which aren’t really huge problems), I still love my Escape. I’m just trying to be honest with the OP, because they specifically asked about noise.

I’ll also be honest and say that my dad worked at Ford when I bought the car (he’s a retiree now). So, as a young single woman with a large dog, my choices in models were pretty limited. I could have the old person Taurus, the tiny Focus or the spacious Escape.

I am 100% happy with the car, though. Also note that there’s a difference between model years.

BTW, you can find much, much more information here: Escape Central. It’s an excellent message board for Escape owners. If you own an Escape/Tribute, you should check it out.

I have a blue 2006 XLT with the V6. Not sure what you mean by “electric options”, but mine has the push button seats & windows. I love it. No rattles or recalls, not too tippy, decent acceleration, lots of cargo room, acceptable passenger space (my 6’3" 250# husband isn’t comfortable in the back seat, but I have plenty of room at 5’2" 150#. He fits in the front seats), & boring interior.

The heater is fabulous even in a Montana winter, the A/C is barely adequate for a Vegas summer during rush hour (but the engine has never overheated, so I shouldn’t gripe. It’s quite possible that there is no such thing as A/C I would consider “adequate” in Vegas), and the interior is apparently stain-resistant. Or perhaps strawberry Kool-aid is no longer evil. The carpet & seat came clean, for whatever reason.

As short as I am, the drivers seat moves up even closer than I need, and back more than my husband needs. I can reach all the controls without strain. The rear door has hand grips for short people to reach when it’s open (at 5’2", I don’t actually need them, but it is easier with them right there), and is light enough to open or close easily, without feeling flimsy.

The front passenger seat has a sensor that disables the airbag automatically for certain weights (25 to 90 lbs, IIRC), which I’ve never needed, but think would be pretty cool if I did.

I’ve never owned a foreign car, so I don’t know how it would compare.

I have a 2002 XLT with a V6. Love it. I’ve had only 2 problems with it. The first was within a month of purchase my radio was kind of possessed and would auto adjust volume, balance, etc. It was replaced.

Second was it suddenly just died/stalled on me (actually my husband was driving) once about a year or two after I purchased it. There was a recall for that very problem within a few months of it happening and I brought it in and had whatever it was fixed.

That’s it. The only money I have spent on it is for scheduled maintenance.

It’s 6 years old now and doing just fine.

All good stuff. Thank you! Escape owners, keep it coming!

I’m a former Escape owner. In general, I loved that car. I loved the way it handled, the interior was great, and it was very comfortable. Plenty of storage space, too.

I was less than happy with the mileage, though. Ours didn’t get anywhere near the rated mileage, with either one of us driving (and my husband, at least, is a very conservative driver). The gas gauge drove us a little nutty, too. I would fill up, top off, drive out of the gas station, and the needle would fall to 3/4 of a tank. What seemed like a very short time later, it would be registering 1/4 tank, and dinging every five minutes that we should put gas in it. We’d go to the gas station, fill up (putting in what the owner’s manual told us was slightly more than 1/2 a tank), and start the cycle over. If the gas gauge is going to be so badly calibrated, at least they could have made the thing not ding all the time.

I’m aware that mileage and gauge calibration can depend entirely on the specific vehicle, so it may just be that we had one that was poor in that area. So my story is entirely anecdotal. But you did ask. And in every other way, it was a great vehicle.

Happy hunting!

My Escape has a V6, and I’m happy with the mileage. I actually went to the trouble of logging it for six months after I got the vehicle, and it came in right around the factory numbers. And I’ve got a bit of a heavy foot.

StuffLikeThatThere, what year was your Escape? They made some big engine/tranny changes around 2005, as I recall. I’ve got the older Duratec V6, and it’s a fine engine with reasonable mileage. The newer V6 doesn’t have quite the hp/torque of the older one.

Funny you should mention that. One thing we’ve noticed during our brief search to date is the crappy milage most of the cars we’ve looked at get. Personally, I don’t give a Rat’s Patoot, but mom thinks she should get better than what shes driving now. It gets about 20 she says in town. I’m really surprised that the smaller vehicles we’ve looked at are at best 3-5 mpg better! At those figures I always assume are “optimistic” at best.

I drive a monster sedan, with a killer V8, and I drive* fast * and aggressive. Hell, I get about 21 mpg overall average!

Eh. I don’t care anyway. Thanks all for the info!

We took our V6/4WD Escape on a road trip two weeks after we bought it. Driving decently, not hyper miling, but driving between 100 - 110 kms (65ish mph) on a curvy, hilly highway (Hwy 17 on the north side of Lake Superior, a beautiful drive btw.) we hit 29 mpg. Our vehicle is rated at 32 mpg on the highway when driving in 2 wheel mode.

Getting that close to the rating this early in the vehicle’s life makes me quite happy.