I bought this car in 2004 with 160,000 km on the odometer (7 years old). It's now up to 230,000 km and runs the same. Not a lot of maintenance in that time, total must be < $500 for 5 years. I changed the timing belt because I didn't know its history, had the broken rear springs replaced (mainly because they made a disagreeable "clunk" noise). The CV joint boot split one day so I had CV joints done. The front brake discs developed a warp so I changed the pair for $65 Cdn including tax -- the pads still have lots of meat! The car still runs great, no problems. I am having an extremely difficult time finding a replacement that has the same features & functionality(it's now 12 years old).
Very clean, simple car. Excellent mileage, excellent reliability. Cheap, yet still manages to look presentable. This thing just will not quit!
I would consider putting in an aftermarket stereo but the faceplate adaptors all seem to be pretty cheap. Oh well, the factory radio still works 100%. It could use a set of bazooka tubes tho.
I bought this with 30,000 miles. Last year she rolled 210,000 and just flat died. I looked around for a replacement, but couldn't find anything that was even close to a match for comfort, mileage and room. I commute daily and need carrying room. I opted for another engine. It took a bit to get the bugs worked out, but now I am super happy with it. My mileage ranges anywhere from 30-33 depending upon the weather. I use this in the most adverse conditions daily. It has been through -30 temperatures and 70 mph winds, closed roads and snow so deep you were plowing with the bumper. I just can't match this one for a commuter car - my workhorse!
Gas mileage! How can I buy new when mileages are lower than what I am already getting?
I'd buy this car again! I have the A/T, A/C, manual windows, man. locks, no cruise. I avg. 30-32 mpg, best road trip 40 mpg (50-55 mph). I use this car to carry some carpentry gear, I've packed it tight w/ lots of tools, carries 10 /8'-0" studs, roof rack can do 200+ lbs lumber, Lumbar stinks, I use a booster lumbar support, drink holders poorly designed, panic button on key fob occasionally annoying. Low maintenance costs, run synthetic oil, snows up front for winter (decent in snow up to 4"). Ford should have made the rear seats removable for cargo & fuel economy. I'm going to install scan guage II for improved mpg, switching back to summer tires, use a K&N air filter.
Deepen cup holders, panic button unneccessary, make rear seats removeable, make roof rack removeable for reduced air drag when not in use, heated side view mirrors, trunk hatch button & fuel hatch button would be nice
Have had no major problems other than blowing a head gasket at 130K miles. Fixed that for less than $300 with a box of wrenches and a Haynes manual. Drove crosscountry twice, and was main travel vehicle for years. Have hauled 1000 lbs of concrete in the back. Busted the shocks! 4x8 plywood fits nicely on the luggage rack. This car has carried the mail for me and my family for a long time. We used to joke about it being my sons first car. He was 1 when we got it. In a few years he will be old enough to drive it so it just may be. It's not fancy by any means but peppy for a small car. All in all it's been worth every penny.
My favorite feature of this vehicle was it's ease of maintanence. Light and easy to fit in a garage for routine upkeep and oil changes. Parts are relatively inexpensive. I changed equip. on this vehicle mostly as preventative maintanence. Water pumps, timing belts, cables, and fluids.
I would like the suspension to be upgraded. This car ate tie rod ends for some reason. Also I broke two sets of coil springs on the back of it. Once was my fault for overloading it but the second set I have yet to figure it out.
I have a 2006 Grand Caravan SXT and a 2002 Eldorado ETC, but they simply don't compare to the 1997 Escort wagon. Shortly after I bought it the rear suspension began groaning over bumps. I never worried about it, but eventually it turned out to have broken rear springs -- relatively cheap to replace. Absolutely wonderful engine: I have the 2.0L SPI (split port injection) and it makes the correct amount of power. The chassis is still firm, steers straight, no squeaks, though it won't be long until the rust starts at this age. I'll just keep 'er going indefinitely as a winter-beater, top-notch reliability and ease of maintenance.
I love the wagon and the higher-end LS features combined with low-end simplicity and value. Excellent reliability with distributorless ignition, there's virtually nothing to do to tune it up besides screw in new plugs!
Timing belt is getting old and it's a tight pinch to get it out, but that's typical for this type of repair.