I have driven my Contour SE practically every day since I bought it new in 1998. It has the 2.5 L Duratec engine and a five speed manual transmission. This car drives and handles like a quality German machine. The manual transmission also has that German response and feel. I've put 225K miles on the car and it's still going strong. The AC quit a couple of years ago, but I'm too cheap to replace it. Other than that, maintenance has been limited to fluid changes, tires, brakes, shocks, and the front ball joints. Believe it or not, I'm still on the original clutch with no signs of slippage.
I have always owned "Ford" vehicles but this one has to be the best one yet! I am totally impressed. The Number One tip I can share with everyone is, stay on top of your Oil Changes. I have received many cards stating it has many recalls but the way I figured it was if it isn't broken, "Why fix it!" Now if I would have had a problem then that a different story. I just traveled over 1950 miles and I only spent $87.00 in gas. No lie. So, I have no complains. My car has been everywhere and aside from a flat tire. "To be expected!" no other complains. Thanks Ford Company! I am still a committed customer.
I love the smooth feel my car has. I also like that it is great on the mileage.
I would like to see the upgrade of windows. Sense I have owned many Ford cars, trucks, I have noticed that if a little rocks hits your windshield, "There it goes!" So this would be my only suggestion.
Wife bought the car used (26,000 miles) in 2000. I commuted with it for the next 10 years, 72 miles/day for 4 years and 40 miles/day for the remainder. In 146,000 total miles, the worst problem was a/c compressor--$700-at around 50,000 miles. I've also replaced the alternator and the water pump. Gets 30 mpg all the time, no matter where or how I drive. Starting to leak a few bodily fluids, but not bad. Selling her today, but I'll never forget her.
Handles better than I would expect from a plain-jane sedan. Has been quite reliable.
Hub cap clips break off easily, leaving you with black steelies. You see a lot of Contours driving around with no hub caps.
I bought a 98 2.0 Contour in 02' when my 89 Volvo died w/276k. Contour had 58k when I bought it now has 136k. I replaced the orig. timing belt at 102K, did it myself with a book in 6hrs. This car has been nothing but pure joy, all electronic,ac/heat work great. Replaced header exhaust flex pipe 2x, Brakes 2x, car is well maintained at 25 city, 32 hiway mph, engine is still tight and clean no oil burning, when I pulled valve cover to set cams. It has some rot coming thru now in front of rear wheels, orig. rear struts will need to be replaced soon. So impressed with this car I bought a 99' w/59k in 06' and stashed it so I have another. The 99 is just as good. I'm buying a 2.0 2000 to keep 2.
Size, 4cyl. power, dependability in all weather, durability, ease and comfort to drive, and low maintainence and cost with normal routine care. I put 8,205x70x14 Goodrich's tires on both Contours, it increased rideability.
they should have put gauges and tach in all 4 cyl. too. The 99 dash is peeling up a little by the defroster. Get rid of the Focus and bring back the Contour
Had 2.5L V6, Auto. Interior was mostly cheap materials, but ergonomic and simple. Seats were firm, but comfortable enough. Alot of issues with the HVAC. The fan motor resister pack blew out and the fuse box shorted. Water pump broke at 50,000 miles. The control for the secondaries on the air intake was made of plastic, thus it wouldn't work if it got too hot. Constantly had issues with O2 sensors failing. Had an issue with the fuel filler. Cheap wiring in the doors cause issues with speakers. But, engine was strong. Mileage was good, but the tank was small. Excellent handling with the Sport package. Excellent capability in the weather. Traded in do to misfire and detonation in one cylinder.
V6 was strong in cooler weather. FWD performed great in dry, wet, or snowy weather. Car was simple, so aftermarket alarm and sound system were easily installed. Plenty of trunk space. Good looks with rear spoiler.
Should have been a coupe, back seat was absent. Worst wiring ever in car. Hard to find a matching tire for the wheels. Engine compartment too crammed for most jobs and mods, and it would trap excessive heat under the hood. Could have used a better OEM water pump.