No huge problems with it. Looks like it will hit 200K in great shape! Worst was the cat converter needed replaced at 80K. New breaks at 90K. The car now has 120K and is fine (still 31mpg). Good deal if you figure under 2K for 8 years. I missed the dash recall and mine warped, but I glued it back down with industrial cement. Also I've been in two accidents with it (lost the front bumper, then the rear). The other cars in both accidents were totaled. Mine had very minimal "face" damage. The car seems pretty bombproof to me.
The V6 is fabulous, for the cost. It's fun to drive, corners fairly well, sticks to the road. For a first car, and a mostly commuting car it's wonderful. I've put minimal maintenance into it (oil changes) and it's been fine. The heater/AC in mine is awesome. Cute little spoiler.
The interior design is lackluster. The dashboard needs redone. The trunk could use some water-proofing. I think I've replaced like six oxygen sensors. The radio system and speaker quality just plain stinks. My check engine light comes on a lot.
We put very light miles on this car, and for that it's OK, but nothing more. It's uninspiring and feels like driving a tank, with a turning radius wider than the Titanic. The good acceleration comes at such a high MPG cost that it's not worth it. The interior feels incredibly cheap, even for a seven year-old $16,000 car. The blower fan is so loud you can't hear people in the back seat if it's higher than "2" ... and that's added to a lot of road & wind noise on the highway. Thankfully we have had no major problems with the car, but it's the niggling things, cheap interior and design quirks that will keep us away from any Ford product when we replace this car.
Better blower - it's way too loud and weak. Better interior design. Tighten turning radius.
This car has required only 2 minor repairs in 76,000 miles. We drive it daily and have taken a number of long trips with it. It handles well. It is a great size for driving in traffic and the visibility is good all around. It's not over-powered, but there are slower cars out there for the price. Too bad they stopped making this car --- I would buy another one.
Having evolved from a European design the Contour has better handling than other American cars its size. Unfortunately they cheapened the quality for the US market. The car has been a major disappointment. The dash top curled up like cardboard. The gas mileage is terrible, never more than 21-22. The plastic gas tank warped and burned out the pump (repair cost $968). The speakers are the cheapest junk I ever saw. It's impossible to remove the oil filter without spilling oil on exhaust manifold. Rear drum brakes don't adjust reliably. Ford took what was an excellent car and turned it into another typical piece of American junk. Never again.
Excellent ride and handling. Smooth engine.
Downsizing the 3-liter Duratec down to 2.5l makes for a needlessly complex engine. Japanese engines in this size are all 4 cylinders with comparable power and better fuel economy.
This is an update of the review I wrote back in 2003. Since then I put another 50K on it and would expect to be close to 200K by year end. I'm talking HARD miles - over road, country roads, sub zero weather, construction sites, any abuse you can imagine. Only expense since last review - tires, brakes & oil changes. Now, as would expect of a car at this price level, with the service it's seen, It's virtually falling apart as I drive it (door handles, interior, power windows, trunk latch). But... It still gets up and goes every day, and I'm not afraid to go anywhere with it.