Bought it at 87K because the salesperson told me it was "Sport Edition" and can't be mistaken with its handling and ride quality. Yes tight handling and way too firm suspension, steering feel is just about as good as a BMW 3 series, interior and trunk space are ample compared to its compact size, nice folded backseat but should offer rear headrest and more rear leg room, road noise can be annoying especially on midwest pavement and jaw-breaking ride which leads to tons of rattles and sqeaks, engine is smooth and strong at highway speeds. Haven't had major reliability issues except once water pump blew up at 96K and minor repairs - right rear window motor and trunk release cable went and now happy at 110K.
All lighting package, leather-wrapped steering wheel, traction control, ABS, sunroof, tight suspension, faster than it looks, immaculate rust coat and paint job, V6 smoothness at highway speeds, reliability.
Dumb and flimsy cup holder (even though didn't use it often), better interior panel assembly, cheap plastic materials,softer suspension, less rubbery shifter, better fuel economy, rough acceleration at low speed (1st to 3rd gear over 2500rpm), seems to lose grip at bumpy corners.
Owning a Ford Contour has been perhaps my worst car experience. Every part of the vehicle seems to be made from toy plastic. I can effortlessly BEND the gear shift. A 3 year old child literally ripped out the cupholders. I have replaced front & rear springs, front & rear suspension, front & rear brakes, and timing system. Don't buy this car unless it is for a very short period of time and out of complete desperation. The good things: The transmission is holding up, and the radio still works. Several mechanics have confirmed that the heater will be the next to go. Be careful out there car-buyers.
The windshield wiper motor costs $400 dollars to replace. A cheap car with expensive parts?
Bought my Contour new in late 1994 and am just about to turn 170,000 miles. Have the 4-cylinder, manual transmission. I've been looking at new cars for about 3 years, but frankly haven't found a need to replace this Contour.The car has been incredibly reliable. Save the expected maintenance (oil changes, brakes, tires, timing belt, etc), I've probably had to put a total of $1000 into it over the last 10 years (and most of that was replacing a couple of engine mounting bolts). Routinely get about 33 mpg highway, and with the manual transmission the 4-cylinder has some pep to it. The car is rock solid and is fun to drive.
Even for a 4-cylinder, the car is fun to drive.
Cupholder design is pretty bad, especially in Contours with manual transmissions (which only have one cupholder). Rated the car a "7" in comfort because back seat legroom is tight if front seats are all the way back. Driver and front passenger comfort is excellent.
I am very pleased with my Contour.
Going on 10 years now, I am rounding
100K and the car continues to run
great. Now, mostly my wife uses it as
a weekend car to run errands; take
the kids to soccer practice etc. Very
Great on gas.