I bought this car slightly used, based on favorable reviews in the car magazines. It is a sporty sedan that packs a lot of value for the money. The engine, suspension and brakes are well-suited for the enthusiast driver. However, this is the most fragile car I have ever owned. With less than 75k on the odometer, I have had to replace the water pump (a flawed design with a plastic impeller wheel), the catalyst, and the starter motor. The check engine light turning on is a quarterly event. The stock CD player would skip if you looked at it cross-eyed. Owning this car makes me believe that when Ford lines up suppliers, it always takes the low bidder. Ford: you have lost this customer.
Performance, gas mileage.
(These comments pertain to current Ford sedans, since the Contour is out of production). The car needs to hold up better after the warranty expires. Long-term durability must improve on Ford products, because if the Contour is any indicator, it is horrid. Will the Fusion be any better? We'll see.