I bought my '98 Contour (2.0 Zetec VCT, 5 sp manual) with 26,000 miles on it 8 years ago and now it has just crossed over the 100,000 mile mark. It is reliable, comfortable and economical. I've replaced a few things over the years as expected but this car has spoiled me. Sometimes I think it's time to upgrade but when I read reviews,I go running back to my Contour.
Handles like a VW, corners flat, engine has "like-new" compression, tight body, good looks.