I bought this car in July 2013 from a friend, I'd say less than 24 hours of ownership it overheated, hose blew and split a hose and blew water pump gasket, oil pan leaks now fixed antifreeze leaks with k-seal(does wonders) rear struts are junk, pulls hard right ,poor gas mileage, erratic idle, can't loosen tensioner pulley to replace serpentine belt, THE slowest and least powerful car I've ever set foot in, my old Buick would blow the doors off this. The only positive thing is it's never broke down, only not started once from maf sensor wet, other than that I think about running it into a tree to put this useless excuse of a car out of its misery, also all windows have wiring issues
Hasn't broke down
More power, easier to maintenance, better fuel economy, my old 96 Camry had more power, and better mileage with a larger 4 cylinder engine(5sp ftw)
Well, I started off the first year with really no issues except the air conditioning compressor blew. Well, the past 4 months have been HECK! The tranny has started to knock, the windows get stuck down, the alternator and/or starter is going, the abs light flashes, the o2 sensor blew, the hood release snapped from the cable, drive side headrest broke, and the engine stalls at stop lights. It's been a good first car,up until now, I just can't wait to upgrade!
The front seats are pretty roomy for a small car. The trunk is HUGE. Engine is pretty peppy for a small car, excellent handling.
Every cheap part put into this car. Transmission, cup holders, seats, hood release.
This car has been a nothing but trouble. Every problem requires a trip to the mechanic because the car is designed so you can't fix anything without special tools and disassembly of the entire engine. The water pump is a constant problem having to be replaced twice as well as the timing belt. Engine is continually running hot because of poorly designed coolant system. Doors creak terribly when opened. The car has terrible fuel mileage compared to its small engine and pathetic amount of power. The only plus to this car is the availability of used parts. You can find several of these cars at almost any junk yard. That is where mine is headed shortly.
If you're reading this, you're probably wondering about a '96 Contour as a used car prospect. There were some early recalls and warranty problems, but I've done decent maintenance and ended up with a reliable, fun-to-drive, economical car. The timing belt broke at 90K (no harm done; I should have replaced it sooner), but routine maintenance has been fine, brakes long-lasting, transmission no trouble. I'll be selling it reluctantly, 'cause I think it has many more miles on it!
Great handling, reliability, comfortable for long hauls, even the 4-cyl--which loves to rev---has been a fine freeway cruiser.
Car is out of production, so this doesn't really matter. Evidently Ford could hardly manufacture this for less than the Taurus, but could never ask nearly as much for it. Too bad--though I'm happy to know the Mondeo platform survives, and has been updated, in Europe. Will Ford ever import these?