in that car segment, you might want to look for something japanese for better value. have you looked at the subaru outback or forester, honda cr-v, or even on the korean end, the hyundai tuscon?
american cars do have better quality now (ford is matched with toyota). the escape is a solid choice- my sister drives one, i'm looking into them and my mom is looking into one too. i do agree with snowfox on jeeps because they did become very crappy lately because of daimler.
2011 Never Summer Revolver-R 156
2011 Flux RK30's
2010 Rome Libertines