The 2004 Ford Escape isn’t all that different from the previous year’s model. In fact, several reviews have shown an improvement in terms of reliability. That might make a 2004 a better choice than the 2003. Either way, doing research to learn as much as you can about the model should always be the first step when buying a vehicle – but in some ways it’s even more important when looking for a used vehicle.
Ford made some changes in terms of trim styles between the different models, but they offered three main levels in 2004. These were the same as the levels from the previous year – the base XLS, upgraded XLT and the high end Limited. Several variations of each type were available again for the 2004 model year. Ford was preparing for a redesign the next year, so the changes were kept to a minimum.
Power Train Options
Just like the previous years, there were both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles available. Automatic and manual transmissions were both offered. In addition two engines – one basically on the lower level versions – were out there. The base engine was a two-liter four cylinder that was rated at around 125 horse power and the upgraded engine was the 3 liter V6 that delivered 201 horse power. Many owners have reported that the 4 cylinder engine tended to be a little on the sluggish side. For that reason it’s probably a good idea to go with the V6.
Just like the earlier models, the 2004 Ford Escape offered plenty of cargo room. With enough space to seat five adults and their luggage and other cargo, the Escape was roomy. For trips with less passengers, the rear seating can be adjusted to create even more cargo space.
New Options for the 2004 Model Year
There were a couple of new packages available for the 2004 model year. Depending on your particular situation you might want to consider looking for one of them. The Limited had a Luxury Comfort Package available. This included leather trimmed seats, heated outsider mirrors and front seats, an upgraded audio system and a reverse sensing system. The XLT had a No Boundaries Package that included a special No Boundaries roof rack, 61 inch sport aluminum wheels and step bars.
It seems like Ford must have made some modifications to the engines (without really changing the overall design) between the 2003 and 2004 model years. That would appear to be the situation because engine problems were commonly reported with both 2002 and 2003 Ford Escapes. By the 2004 model, though, problems with the engine were reported to be infrequent and reasonably inexpensive to resolve. The only real issue that has been reported with any kind of regularity in the 2004 Ford Escape has been rear shocks. Just like the earlier models they are prone to periodic failures and cost a few hundred dollars to replace. Still, overall, this is a very reliable vehicle – and more reliable than the previous year’s model.
By 2004 Ford seemed to have ironed out some of the kinks they were having with the Ford Escape. Considering that the vehicle had been quite good to begin with, that makes the 2004 model even more appealing. Remember, though, that when buying any used car you should consider having it inspected. You can’t be sure the kind of treatment the vehicle has received and even a great car, when tortured and neglected, can be prone to problems. Get any used car inspected before you make the purchase because after it’s yours, it’s too late.