Update..despite all of the comments
, I did get a 2011 Escape 4x4 and we plan on making it our toad. The manual says to lower the tranny fluid and it even has a diagram showing the safe level. We'll have a dealer do it so there is a record that it was done.
Now to get the equipment for towing it. We need to do some more research but I think we're going with ReadyBrute braking system. It seems to be less expensive and I've not read any negatives assuming it's adjusted correctly and the hitch is level.