We bought a used 98 model in late 2002. Since then we made a round trip to Canada (about 1500 miles) made a trip to Virginia twice and so far has put on mileage of 60k. The car runs great. No mechanical problems so far. Hope it would keep running, since I am a JDM fan, so astonished by its performance.
Nice exterior and interior for a small car. Comfy.
The handling is really questionable. Have strong doubts about its handling in rain and snow as it skids a lot.
This car is what you'd expect, a 4/5 person economical car mover with a little more space because it's a wagon. My Escort was totaled last week, T-boned at a traffic light. Honda CR-V ran the red light, impacted my car on the front right corned just in front of the tire. Both air bags deployed, all seat belts held, everyone survived, air bags bruised our faces pretty well. This car saved all 3 of us. Due to the car being 9 years old the car was totaled, not because of extensive damage but because the air bags cost $1K each plus labor. Yes I'd buy another Escort if I needed good cheap transportation, 36 MPG highway.
We live in Arizona and the AC will freeze you out...that's a good thing when its 115 degrees out.
Recall item: Motor mounts cause vehicle to vibrate on country roads. Low power makes it slow to pull out into traffic.
Bought this car 7 months ago, haven't had a problem since, never had to replace anything, sure there are worn out mounts and all, but it's typical. Does 0-60 in 7.8! Cannot say enough good things about the fuel economy. I get 42 mpg on flat highway at 65, and 36 aggressive city mpg. Biggest complaint, the vibration and noise. Tires and/or suspension seem to amplify road noise, engine runs at 2900 rpm at 65 which can get annoying. And wheel hop when accelerating at traction limits is ridiculous. But it has a large comfortable back seat and a very inexpensive car to own. Great little car, wish Ford still made it with a Mazda suspension, Zetec engine, 6 speed and standard power EVERYTHING! Oh and yellow!
Much higher overdrive, liquid filled mounts, 17" wheels, Mazda interior quality, 4 wheel disc brakes, standard power everything, factory high power sound, no speed limiter lol! And of course, to still be in production.
I bought this car 6 months ago, and have put on 10000 miles since. Have never had to replace anything yet. I use synthetic racing oil and the engine is just as good as any import. My biggest praise of the car is its mpg. I get a hair over 40 on the highway. I've never gotten below 35 mpg. Also the engine is very fun at higher speed with the 5 speed. The biggest complaint that I have with the car is the noise. The tire noise is actually much louder than the engine noise on the highway. It is a very rough engine when it's idling at a drive through. If Ford still built these with a higher overdrive and a better interior, it would dominate.
Engine power, fuel economy, light weight.
Standard keyless entry, power everything, much higher overdrive, better engine mounts, awesome factory sound system, and of course, I wish Ford still made them.