I thought I'd follow up my earlier review on the 2000 SVT Contour. My SVT now has 143k mi and is going strong. It was built in late 1999 so is now nearly 16 years old. It did need some major maintenance 2 years ago, the differential wore out so I had to pull the driveline to get the transmission repaired. Replaced the clutch and a bunch of other minor stuff while access was easy. Doing my own work (except transmission internals) the job cost under $1.5k as most parts are very reasonable. Quite glad I did it as I'm back to really enjoying the car - I've thought about a dozen replacements but none seem to offer a better combination of features and value as this SVT. I wasn't able to honestly give it as many stars as last time - it's an older car now, has needed some work, new cars keep getting faster and obviously a 90's car lacks all the techno toys of the new stuff. But the SVT Contour is a joy to drive, offers great visibility, great seat, nice exhaust note etc. If you can find one that hasn't been trashed or hacked and can do your own work I think you'll really enjoy it. I think it's an underappreciated classic in the making.
Ok - I bought this car 2/00, so I've had it a while. I drive hard, and went 115k before replacing the clutch. Other than a warped dash (fixed under warranty) and a foghorn sound (web showed me how to fix), I have had no real issues with this car. It's still a very solid and reliable performer, and very fun to drive. Yeah, I get made fun of a lot for driving a Contour, but every time I throw it into a turn or hear the exhaust note when I gun it, I still grin (although don't get into the SVT after test driving the new M3 and expect to still feel impressed). Still a great buy if you ask me -- especially considering that you don't see yourself coming and going everyday.
Handling, exhaust note, limited availability, manual only
Great car, fun to drive, good looking, rare and best of all a great value. A very European sports sedan "made in USA". Not terribly fast or macho, but an excellent handling car in the tradition of BMW but at a fraction of the price. And the exhaust note is perfect, a nice burble at cruise and a snarl when used hard. Oh, and good gas mileage!
I love the way the car looks, and the way it handles, and runs most of the time. Have had some very expensive repair bills however. Needed to fix timing belt tensioner, ended up getting valve job, new head gasket, etc. Also rusting on roof along the rubber channel. Fuel pump acted up when gas was below 3/4 full. When accelerating would hesitate, but when tank full ran like a bat out of h! Replaced original KDW tires at 25000, terrible noise! Since then, other tires are much better. Overall, the car still looks great, the leather is starting to look a little tired, but it's real quick and take the curves like a champ. Wife has a 2004 Jetta GLI (6 cyl),fast, but handling not there.
Looks very good. Excellent design, not overdone. Sound of exhaust great! Sturdy and fast.
Work I needed may not be the norm, but very expensive ($4500) for engine and body work. Maybe would have sold it if I knew it was going to csot that much. Has a 1989 Excort GT, took it out to 209000 miles with no engine work!
The SVT Contour is one of the great performance sedan bargains on the used market. European feel and handling, domestic parts prices and reliability, at a low price. Fuel economy is great, especially on the highway, and if you are at all conservative around town. Quick but not super fast by today's standards, I won't be racing anyone so it's plenty fast. I was looking for a sporty everyday driver with track day potential, seriously considered a similar vintage BMW 3 series, but the SVT is half the price.