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For pure road-going thrills in a well thought-out package, the Contour makes for a fun car at a great price.
Powerful V6 engine, impressive handling, good value.
Fussy radio controls, lack of refinement.
The 2000 Contour is unchanged from 1999.
We've made no apologies for our unabashed appreciation of the Ford SVT Contour. A labor of love from the Ford Special Vehicle Team (the same folks who bring us the Mustang Cobra and F-150 Lightning), the SVT Contour is a must-drive for budget-minded sport-sedan shoppers. SVT's version of Ford's Contour comes fully loaded, packed with real enthusiast hardware, and is capable of 0-to-60 mph sprints in just 7.5 seconds. It's no wonder the SVT Contour has been a frequent visitor on Edmunds.com's "Most Wanted" list.
Power comes from an SVT-modified 2.5-liter Duratec V6, which makes 200 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 169 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. The sweet-revving engine is all-too-willing to reach redline quickly, and the muted burble from the exhaust makes the $23,000 domestic sedan sound like an expensive, exotic sports machine. Needless to say, acceleration is considerably quicker than a regular V6-equipped Contour.
The tires on the SVT Contour are considerably more performance oriented than those found on the regular Contour. For 2000, the SVT Contour is shod with 215/50ZR-16 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW performance radials. The suspension is equally tweaked to increase handling ability. The sporty little front-driver is surefooted and nimble on curvy roads, and the performance brakes and standard ABS inspire confidence.
The SVT Contour looks good and performs a variety of functions well. It also does this without extracting a huge financial toll for your enthusiast yearnings. It's not perfect, mind you. The SVT version still inherits some of the Contour SE's faults, most of which concern the interior. The backseat is too small to hold three adults comfortably. There's also a difficult-to-operate stereo and too-small cupholders.
We expect 2000 to be the final run for the Contour. And when these cars go, so does the SVT version. Oddly enough, the sport sedan is one of the few car segments that have held promise in the face of booming truck sales. In fact, most of Ford's major competitors now claim at least one strong-selling sport-sedan model in their 2000 lineups. If you want a sport sedan and there are no SVT Contours left, you might want to look at a Nissan Maxima SE, an Audi A4 or a Pontiac Bonneville.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.