"We bought ours new in 2001, V6 AWD.
First the good: Handles very well for an SUV, brakes work well and steering feel is good. Ride may be a little stiff for some but I hardly notice it. All of the controls are easy to read and use (although the shifter partially blocks the radio when in drive). Behind the wheel it is a very nice vehicle to drive.
Now the bad: Mileage isn't very good about 17.5 mpg over all. The front seat cushion is a little short so if you have long legs or just plain tall you probably won't find the seats very comfortable. It is a bit noisy inside (road/tire noise etc., the car it replaced was a basic economy car that was built with everything thin so this was actually and improvement for us.) And the brakes can be a bit noisy at times. So far have replaced the rear shocks, power steering lines, tie rod ends (can cause unusual wear in tires) and have a dash light that goes out intermittently (then comes back on). All repairs were under warranty.
Now the really bad: The reliability of the engine has been absolutely terrible. At 92000 miles, the list of things replaced so far: 4 coil packs, egr valve, 3 egr sensors, belt tensioner (it fell into pieces one day after shutting of the engine), oil pump (pressure at idle was too low) and a cylinder head. Between the various warranties (bumper to bumper, emissions performance and extended) our out of pocket repair expenses have been low.
A few things I have discovered: change transmission fluid at recommend intervals and do NOT mix fluid types! Newer fluids are frequently compatible with older fluids (eg Mercon V in place of Mercon III) but for whatever reason that does not apply to this trans. If you don't know what is in there take it to a competent shop and have the trans fluid flushed (not a drain and refill). You don't need any special additives, there are enough detergents in the fluid to clean everything (assuming a quality fluid is being used)."
"The only problem I had was transmission trouble at 70,000 miles. A fellow rebuilt it for me for $1,400 and provided a 36/36 warranty.
The original tires lasted 95,000 miles and it still has the original brakes. I averaged 27.5 MPG on the highway when using 100% gasoline."
"I have owned this car since 2005 and have never had any major problems with it. I do the maintenance, the oil changes etc. It starts up it goes, its dependable - it handles well in snow and slush though the front wheel drive took some getting used to- previously I drove standard transmission fords. Am a ford person thru and thru. Love the compact size of this SUV and can still pack it full of stuff- back seat is a little tight but.... its only us and the dogs."
Pros: "Easy to drive, comfortable with decent MPG."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this vehicle for almost 7 years, put over 200,000 miles on her and have not had major issues! Largest expense was a new alternator (approx. $450). Other than that it has been all routine maintance: oil changes, and tires. It even gets decent gas mileage, ranging on average for me at 22-24 MPG. I have moved several times in the past, and other than large pieces of furniture can fit just about everything in the vehicle, when folding the back seats, great size trunk in general too!"
"We bought this car new and have been driving, towing, touring, commuting for the last 12 years with this dependable Ford. I use it now for my daily commuting to work and around town. The CD player gave out last year but everything else still works. We have dutifully performed oil changes and beside tires/breaks we have only had to replace the water pump but at 10 years I consider that regular maintenance. My only knock at this point is the gas mileage and the fact that it is starting to feel old, but with no car payments for the last 7+ years I truly could not be happier."