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.
I fell in love with this car because of engine growl. Unfortunately the engine is weak, especially with the A/C on. Problems with sunroof closing and rear suspension. Clutch and gearshift are long throws. Both hinder performance greatly. Cheap materials on dashboard and doors. Various interior rattles, ugly green dashboard lights. Radio stinks.
Engine growl. Exterior looks with front end cover. Comfortable leather seats front and back
More powerful engine, better suspension components. Short throw clutch and gearshift. Nicer interior materials. Get rid of the ugly green dashboard lights already!