The only major problem with this vehicle was a cracked head at about 115,000 miles. It cost me, along with some front end repairs, about $2,000.00. My mechanic said cracked heads were common in high-mileage Escorts. Ironically, the car has never used oil and has always started, even in harsh Wisconsin and Minnesota (where my son drives it now) winters.
I love the fold-down back seats and hatchback. These combined features are getting harder to find on newer models (Ford/Escort/Focus doesn't make one any more).