We bought our Escort SE new in January 1998. This car was going to be a commuter car for my wife. Well, nine and a half years and 100,000 miles later it is still commuting! It has been a very reliable car. The only thing we have done is change the oil and replace items as they wore out. We replaced the struts/springs in 2005 and the clutch in Sept of 2006. Overall cost of ownership has been low and the gas mileage is still good (30mpg+). Other than a dent on the left rear quarter panel from a parking lot fender bender the body is still in good shape.
We have owned this car for 10 years and we can't complain. We've never had to replace anything except for a brake, the alternator, and some tires. This car has been on 3 long road trips (about 650 miles each way with a dog) and we had no major breakdowns. The car is still running (even with over 200,000 miles on it) but we're finally going to purchase a new 2007 Elantra so we will donate it to charity. BTW: We have the bare bones model-5 speed manual, cassete player (no cd), power nothing, no spoiler, basically just a shell with an engine and some tires.
Durability- it's like the little engine that could! Outside styling- I always thought the front looked like bugs bunny.
Standard CD player and get rid of that ugly mocha frost color. Air vents in the back and more than 1 cupholder.
Bought this car new in 98. It's been very reliable and a great city car for maneuvering and parking and mileage. Decent pickup with the five-speed manual. Wet-road handling got better with new tires at 50k. The trunk opening is very small, but with the back seats down you can stuff a lot in. E- brake is starting to fail at 73k.
Pickup and gas mileage. A/C works great.
You can only open the trunk with the key or the keyring clicker (no in-car lever), and the clicker won't work with the engine running, so you have to shut the engine off to open the trunk, which is annoying.
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.
My first car, has held up very well. Bought her with 39,000 on it, so far am at 52,000 in a little over a year. Very few maintenance problems, and any problems were minor, like windshield wipers. Excellent for all of the driving that I do between school, work and home (over 60 miles daily M-F) and I only fill up about once a week. She's always been there for me.
Miles per gallon - while the tank is small, the car goes over 300 miles before the light comes on. Trunk space very good. I love my clicker - door lock/unlock, alarm, trunk pop.
Gas tank is small - Quikfill won't stamp my card because I can rarely put in 10 gal. Doesn't handle well in rain, or snow (without studded tires). Accelerates rather slowly, which also makes it sometimes difficult to pass a slower moving vehicle ahead of me.