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.
I really like my 1997 Escort. It has lots of power and I really like the handling on dirt and asphalt roads. My only complaint is that the back of the car is too light and it likes to slide when going through curves on dirt roads at high speeds. But I added weight and it is great now.
The engine power is the greatest
More horsepower and more weight in the back if the car. Other than that it is a great car.
I got this car after graduating college. Basically because I wanted an economical car that could move stuff. The Escort wagon seemed like the perfect choice. I was really impressed by how well it starts in cold weather conditions. With a new battery, it has started up great, even with a windchill of -30. The cold did take a toll on the interior, one of the rear locks (the thing that sicks up) snapped off. I guess it got really brittle in the cold. So be careful! It is a bit sluggish, but what can you expect from a basic economy car? It has delivered what I expected. So far, I cannot complain.
Gas mileage, roof rack, cargo room, maneuverability.
Cup holders, interior components, lower back support, noisy cabin.
I inherited this car from my sister when it had 95,000 miles one it. Now it has 130,000. It is the "fancy" model with power windows, power locks, keyless entry, alarm, power mirrors etc. Until now it has been absolutely reliable with no problems whatsoever. Recently the service engine soon light came on and I took it to the shop and they replaced the oxygen sensor. This solved the light for about a day until it came on again and the engine started to act like it was trying to cut out. It was a great car but it is not worth putting any money into. I would recommend this car to someone looking for a used car. Make sure it is a low mileage one though, it is an economy car and falls apart with old age, apparently.
Power windows/locks, keyless entry/alarm, power mirrors, rear window defroster. These are things that are not usually found on an economy car of this age.
They don't make the car anymore but the only thing I would change is the stereo, it is beyond terrible.