Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty or Outback?

I need some advice.
My wife and I are in our early 50s. We live in Colorado and do a lot of snowshoeing and mountain hiking, (Check out the report of our first 14er we climbed here. http://brauker.com/mtsherman.htm ) We need to get a four wheel drive vehicle to get us into the mountains better than our Volkswagen Jetta can do.

We don't want a great big SUV, so we have been considering used Subaru Outbacks or Forresters, (Seems like every other person in Colorado has one.) Ford Escapes and Jeep Libertys and perhaps, Grand Cherokees.
We also could lease a new 2004 Jeep Liberty for approximately $1300 down and $249 a month. We would be driving the vehicle less than 10,000 miles a year.
We are concerned about the roll over factor with the Escape, Cherokee and Liberty.
Are any of the Subarus made in the US?
Any advice on the reliability, safety factors, etc. on the vehicles mentioned above, would be appreciated.
Cheers,
Bill Brauker
http://mountainhiking.org
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The VW Jetta are not very good at climbing mountains since they're front wheel drive.

The Subaru Outback are nice SUV cars. The only disadvantage of the Subaru Outback is that they don't have the 4-LO feature if you want to prevent skidding down an icy hill. The Subaru Forester and Ford Escape are great compact SUV's and they are safe. The Jeep Liberty are nice, but has poor to marginal crash test results.

and $249 a month. We would be driving the vehicle less than 10,000 >miles a year.
I would not reccomend the Jeep Liberty, the Jeep Grand Cherokee or the old Jeep Cherokee because of their crash test results. The newer Ford Explorer are safer now. However, they may be out of your price range.

I understand your concern about the roll over factor and the crash test results. That is always my number one concern in purchasing a vehicle. You may want to check out the crash test results from the links below. They may help you decide on what compact SUV suit your needs.
http://www.hwysafety.org/ (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

I don't think so.

mentioned >above, would be appreciated.
See links above.
~CyberWolf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

However, if the lack of a 4-lo is an issue for the use of the lower gearing and engine braking coming down the hill, the Escape ALSO won't help you, as it too is a AWD suv, not a 4wd. If you don't need the true off-road ability of a Liberty or even the Explorer, you may consider the Land Rover Freelander. About the size/price of an Escape, without the 4-lo, but very good offroad and it has a 'hill-descent' feature to control your downhill excursions!
Jon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I looked at Ford Escapes and Jeep Libertys when I wanted to buy a new SUV. I had owned a Jeep Cherokee in the past and will NEVER buy another one. Way to many breakdowns. Because of my past experience with Jeeps, I decided not to go with the Liberty. I purchased the Ford Escape last year. I now have 45,000 miles on it and have never had any problems. I would highly recommend this SUV.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'll second that opinion, and also add that I've had to do emergency maneuvers in our Escape that I'm nearly positive would have rolled a larger SUV. Once you test drive one you'll see why, it's really more car than SUV. It's an awesome winter vehicle.

I
to
to go

45,000
this
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 12:35:23 -0500

If you're buying an Escape, then you should be getting a minivan instead. They will have the same offroad capabilities, since they're both front-wheel-drive vehicles. (Unless you get the 4WD model). FWD vehicles shouldn't ever leave the pavement, the dust from dirt roads can get inside the CV boots and increase wear and tear on the CV Joints.
However, I also agree that the Cherokee is junk. I had a little 4cyl Mazda that weighed nearly twice as much as my mother's 96 Cherokee Sport. That thing was awful. The steering was way too tight. Nudge the wheel and you'd nearly roll. Also got stuck more often than her old Subaru Legacy station wagon. (She drove both of them on a mail route, and both were 4WD, she couldn't stick the Subaru, but she got the Jeep stuck several times, and had to get pulled out. After the second time getting stuck, she added a small winch to the front.
Personally, I would choose the Outback, given only these three choices, as Subaru's are known for their AWD, and are excellent vehicles both on and offroad.
(If you arent going offroad, or towing, then why in the world would you buy a top-heavy SUV????)
I love my Rodeo, and it's only been stuck once, and that was when it had "donut" tires on it.. the previous owner was an idiot and put tires about 4 sizes too small on it... Since I put the right size tires back on it, it hasnt been stuck yet since (came close once or twice, but rocked out of it) and its not even 4wd. (I only go mud-ridin when there's other vehicles there, so we can help get each other out.. but its a BLAST.. try it, you'll LOVE it!)
Chuck Burns
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.