I bought my Contour used and have put a lot of happy miles on it. It has the largest standard wheel/tire combo available and I suspect the engine management chip may have been tweaked by a previous owner. It handles like a dream, virtually the same as my '03 Focus SVT (it helps that it's lower and wider than the SVT). Power from the Zetec 4 is quite adequate for occasional gusto driving, and works well with the OD automatic transmission. The state troopers once gave me a certificate that it can indeed go 92 MPH without breathing too hard. The only costly maintenance has been to replace the timing belt at 60k miles as recommended.
Excellent balance of comfort and performance. Overall, I have to say it's my favorite of all the cars I've ever owned, including the SVT I replaced it with when it reached 80k miles. My wife now drives it, but I still take it out to blow the plugs off from time to time.
The cup holders stink, but I understand they can be replaced with larger ones from later models. Now that it's 10 years old, it's apparent that Ford could've used better grades of plastic.