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Bringing home a pre-owned Ford Escape AWD in Canada

Contenders included the Honda CRV, Hyundai Santa Fe & the Jeep Compass too.

BHPian Sangwan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Background: My best friend lets call him A, is a software engineer and working remotely as of now. His mother is going to join him this coming September so there was a need of car. Until now, he was doing good on his own and used public transport if I wasn't able to travel with him. But he didn't want his mother to travel in public transport and also he had so many travel plans to different parts of British Columbia with his mother and thus a car was necessary. Back in India, he was driving a 2003 Honda City, the dolphin shaped one.

Requirements:

  • It should be a 4WD or AWD as he will be taking this car everywhere.
  • It should be Automatic because when the time comes it will sell quickly as Canadian Market is not very keen on Manuals as per my observation.
  • Should be reliable and have low mileage if possible.
  • Shouldn't be 20 years old or nearing 20 years old mark. As that was just too old for him.
  • Budget was around $CAD 5000-6000 but could be increased for the right car.
  • Gas mileage wasn't a concern as it will be driven on weekends
  • Preferably in SUV shape as he developed a liking after driving My Santa Fe

Aim of this thread:

  • To maintain an ownership thread and see what is the cost of ownership of a Ford Escape
  • To help future owners of this car and assess whether or not they should buy it as this thread will save a lot of time for both seller and buyer
  • To share all the awesome memories we are going to have with this car

The buying process

All in all it took us 3 days to find THE CAR for us. There are many things one should keep in mind while buying used cars and with the state of used car market right now it is very hard to find good cars and that too in great price. Hope the prices come down and this outright steal stops. When you look for cars under $10K especially AWD or 4WD then there aren't many choices available as at least at present because the same names were reappearing again when I was in the market earlier this year.

So, who are the usual suspects under $10K:

  • 1998-2004 Nissan Pathfinder (the beauty)
  • 2001-2010 Ford Escape (There was a generation change starting 2008)
  • Nissan Murano (Ugly looking car)
  • Nissan Rogue (Can't believe Rogue and Pathfinder are from same company, so opposite in the way they look)
  • 2000-2006 Land Rover Range Rover (You need "10 ka Dum" to maintain these ones but nice to know we could have bought them home)
  • 1990s Toyota 4Runner
  • Ford Edge (Just a couple of examples)
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (I seriously love this car now)
  • Chevys, Pontaic, GMCs were not considered
  • Mazda CX-7 (odd looking car)
  • 2003-2008 Honda CR-V
  • Jeep Liberty
  • Jeep Compass
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee

So, as you can see there are tons of these available but the problem we faced were:

  • Cars were nearing 20 years mark which we liked more
  • RUST. You have to be very careful of rust. There were examples which were low on KMs but were having rust all around
  • Appalling state of interiors and exteriors.
  • Not all but some of the car dealerships had pressure washed the engine bays and I am no expert so you really couldn't tell if there is an actual leak somewhere or not.
  • All the Hondas or Toyotas were having close to 4 Lakhs KMs on the odometer.
  • If there were some cars which seemed good then they were of "Rebuilt" status and sometimes the owners of these cars were not so forthcoming about actually what happened.
  • Another major issue I feel is that there are so many used car dealerships, then there is used car section of all the car manufacturers in Canada, so you have to juggle a lot of websites to find a car. If you use Autotrader then response might be slow, FB doesn't have drivetrain filter on their system and so you are going through a lot of ads to see if it was a 4WD/AWD/FWD.

We went to few dealerships to see some cars, we never reached to the test drive part because it seemed all pretty bad from every angle. First day was a dud overall. Then the next day was spent screening more cars online and in the evening we found a Maroonish Ford Escape. Very low KMs compared to market, Clean Title and clean from the pics. Went to the owner and the owner tells us that now the car is his name but it really is his friend's car, so he doesn't know squat about the history of this one.

Our thoughts:

1. It looked good in person. Nothing major out of shape and body was kept well, on the inside too it wasn't great but not bad either.

2. Only one key. Don't know why people keep on loosing their car keys in Canada.

3. Driver side seat is electronically moved and wasn't working, it sometimes worked and sometimes didn't.

4. Car wasn't insured so took it for a really short spin around the block (First Red Flag). Car felt underpowered and I took it on a driveway to reverse and felt this unsettling sound but ignored it (Second Red Flag). Returned back to the owner's house.

5. Took a look underneath and there was rust everywhere (Huge Red Flag). And still we thought to go ahead with this car, how stupid of us! Tried to buy it for $6500, the guy came down to $6700 but we were firm on 65 and he turned down our offer. So glad he did that. Now I feel we saved ourselves a lot of trouble.

Again back to square one. More car screening, next day was off for everyone of us and was the D Day, we had a feeling today we will get one car for sure. Below is the lineup for the day:

1. 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe, 1.90 Lakhs Kms (if it was India we wouldn't even dare look at car with so high odometer reading). Clean Title, Black in color. $8000 Approx

2. 2007/2008 Honda CR V, 1.87 Lakhs Kms. Silver in color. Clean Title and $8000 Approx.

3. A Ford Escape, I don't even remember details about it.

4. Wildcard entry: A 2010 Blue Ford Escape. Low KMs and it looked very clean. $7500.

So, we drove the Hyundai Santa Fe, it felt just like mine and except for a hideous hole in front bumper and a dent, rest was kind of clean for a 12 year old car. It was clean underneath as well. Owner was willing to let it go for $7200. This car deserves another Thread on team bhp and will be posted soon. . Overall, we felt happy with Santa Fe and were going to buy it if the Honda doesn't checks out.

Honda CR-V. So, this car was bought by the current owner in Feb of this year and her father was going to drive it but he shifted to Alberta and she was left with the task to sell this car. So, how was it? Well in one word BAD. This car was kept like a garbage can, the lights were yellowish, there were snacks lying in the whole car and while driving it felt under pressure like it is so hard for it to pick up speeds. It wasn't visible at low speeds but once you started to push it, then you feel like there isn't much power. But all this wasn't the big issue. As per ad this car had 187,xxx Kms on it but when I got into the driver's seat here's what I saw. The speedometer had Miles as its main unit, then the fuel gauge was in gallons and the odometer wasn't increasing as soon as it would if it was indeed in KMs. So, this car didn't had 187,xxx KMs it was all MILES which is roughly 299,xxx KMs. I still thought I might be wrong but the owner wasn't sure too. Hence rejected the Honda as well.

The wildcard entry of this whole operation. 2010 Blue Ford Escape. We saw the car parked and it looked gorgeous. Checked it from everywhere. There were scratches at some places inside but it was good overall. Again the car wasn't insured but the owner did allow us to take it for a spin around the area and it was just amazing. The power delivery was linear, the car felt nice to drive and I was sold but not before I drove it, my friend was sold right in the first looks. I remembered me when I saw my Santa Fe in flesh for the first time, he was exactly on the same page. This was going to be THE CAR. The only bad thing was that it was a rebuilt title but that was just because of a minor fender bender, it happened with the current owner and he was very open about it, we were satisfied with his explanation and also everything was fine with the car. A negotiated with the owner and for $7600 including taxes, the car was ours.

The first pic of the car when we bought it home.

A's 2010 Ford Escape

Let's get over with the stats first:

  • Model Name: Escape
  • Make: Ford
  • Year: 2010
  • Odometer: 132,XXX KMs
  • Color: Steel Blue Metallic
  • Engine: 3L V6 240 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Status: Rebuilt

Exterior

This car looks just so beautiful. Those rugged tires, the square shape everywhere, it all looks great in flesh and in pictures. I am loving this color even more with each passing day. You look from any side and its all squares and lines, I like it but that might be not to everyone's taste. I love how the ESCAPE is embedded in front bumper. Glad that the chrome isn't there. The Tail lights are tastefully done and this car looks great from every angle. There have been reviews on the internet stating that this car isn't a looker but I disagree, you look at it every time when you park it.

The front

The Side Profile

Still have to figure out this lock on the door.

From the rear angle

The Engine Bay

The Rubber

The Interior:

The Escape comes in the black or beige interiors. Again, its the same story once you step in, its all square everywhere. The fonts on the driver's console are clear and big. Everything feels practical, its a lot of plastic but gives you the build to last feeling. The central console has a lot of buttons and that is really distracting for a new driver of this car, it takes a little bit of time to learn where the buttons are, like now when I drive I still need to figure out but A's fingers go to right spot without him taking his eyes off the road. There is no heated seats but there is Bluetooth functionality but me and A haven't still figured it out.

The middle row seats fall down all the way and gives you enough room to haul as much as you wish. The seat cushioning everywhere is good and you don't feel tired on longer journeys. We are not tall people, I feel even though Escape looks big and almost the size of my Santa Fe (more on the comparison below) but Ford could have managed space in a much better way. My biggest complaint is how the lower dashboard is made, the angle of the plastic and positioning is such that your knees will be touching the dashboard if you're tall, mine were touching once the front seat slides forwards. So, there would be some adjustments if there were taller people or they won't be comfortable at all. Now, don't think that taller people don't own the Escape but what I think is that they are travelling only in a group of 2-3 people maybe and then can sit comfortably in the car. Also, the material used all around the seats is a dirt magnet, so it will needs good upkeep. There is support of putting in child's seat so that is a good thing.

The cupholders are there but they are not that big and aren't able to hold regular size bottles but will do just fine with coffee cups etc. The AC is a chiller in this one, there are no vents in the middle row but till now we haven't used it to the max setting and had to turn it off in between because even the lowest setting starts chilling you to the bone. The sound system is a CD Changer and is of good quality. We all loved it.

One of the best feature of the Escape is the opening of only Glass Area at the rear and it is so convenient when you're in a hurry and just need to keep small things in the cargo area.

Attaching interior pics below:

The Driving Experience

  • The visibility is excellent. The driver can see the end of the bonnet and also it gives you the feeling of driving a proper old school SUV. I love sitting in the driver seat of the Ford Escape.
  • Parking brake is in the driver's footwell and is released by the hands.
  • The insulation is poor in Escape and engine noise gets into the cabin. But when you're pressing the gas pedal hard then the sound is amazing.
  • The rear brakes are drum and so the brakes are good but are spongy.
  • Amazingly light steering! You're at ease while driving this thing because the visibility is excellent and the light steering helps especially in the city driving
  • Power delivery is linear. Driving the Escape you'll never get into trouble with law enforcement because with the Escape maintaining speed is easy but even being a V6 you'll feel that acceleration isn't lightening fast, you can reach high speeds but it just takes a little while. May be this won't be an issue to others but me and A felt it because we were driving it right after spending days driving the Santa Fe which is a monster.
  • Lights are good and so is the fuel economy. We are getting 10-11 KMPL as of now but still not much driving has been done and real figures might change ones we put more miles on the odometer
  • The ORVM are having small blind spot mirrors which I personally don't like. A is used to them now but I feel the design could have been better or Ford could have just provided the regular OVRM and people like me could have added the blind spot mirrors for mere $7-$10 from places such as Canadian Tire.
  • The windows are large and there is enough sunlight from everywhere.

Overall, there are still so many things to learn about the Escape which can be both good or bad but as of now it has been a pleasant journey. Some more pics for the readers:

Continue reading BHPian Sangwan's report of the 2010 Ford Escape for more insights and information.

 
Power to the people