I've had my Escort for almost a year now. I love it, except for when things go wrong or when there's people in the car with me. The car is great when you're alone and is reliable (some of the time) - you wont want this car when it has problems, one problem leads to another. All of my problems are because of up keep (bought the car not even thinking about it). It's in the shop as I speak. It's shifting rough and the engine is sputtering. I don't know? I was also driving without a outer tie rod and stabilizer link a few months ago. I've learned if you want an Escort, keep the maintenance up. Spark plugs, fluids, clean fuel, etc. This is why my car has everything wrong with it; otherwise good car
Alloy wheels and spoiler, colorful pattern in the seats, seatbelts, hatch, cheap gas - $25 to fill with gas as expensive as it is.
Make a larger and more peppy Escort hatchback. Make it more durable too, the door got stuck and I ripped it open and bent the fender. ;( Low maintenance too. My sister bought a '92 Beretta for $600 and put 10k miles on it and not one problem like this. i bought it for $2,000 and put $3,000 in it.