Performance, handling, total driving experience. The Contour SVT excells in all categories. Last year I took mine to an autocross competition and even the instructors were amazed at how well this car performed. We ran it through a training course and it did so well on the skidpad that we had to force it to break-loose to demonstrate the throttle- steer technique. I have driven and owned performance cars since I began driving (1964) and this car is the best "out-of-the-box" performer I have owned.
Great handling and power are smoothly integrated into a total performance package. You'd have to at least double the cost of the vehicle to get anything that compares.
The SVT is nicely appointed and "dressed-up" but untimately, it is based on a Contour and so it doesn't have the amenities avaviable on the more-upscale cars. On the other hand, that's why this car originally sold for about $20,000.