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.
Great car! My wife and I have been driving this one for a few years now. Bought it at 70,000 miles and have driven it nearly trouble free to 158,000 miles presently. I have no complaints about this car. Here are the few small repairs. Water pump replacement, some small A/C module to restore normal ac function, serpentine belt of course, radiator leaked a little when it was real cold outside, I finally replaced it after watching it drip during startup for two winters and a small water leak in the cab and trunk. Lastly, emergency brake cables are sticking some, the rubber is breaking on them and the weather has gotten to them. This is normal STUFF. THIS CAR IS GREAT! I used to be a mechanic.
Reliable as they come. The five speed still doesn't need a new clutch at 158,000 miles!
I really love this car--it's the second one I have owned (totaled the first one). It has great pickup considering it's a 4-cyl. The exterior design is fabulous! (I have the 2-dr coupe with spoiler on the back). I love looking at it, even after all these years! Bought both of my ZX2s used, and had minimal repair...until I hit the 90K mark. Then, every inspection has been a $500+ ordeal, but had no emergency repairs. I had to replace the E-brake cable, the thermostat, needed to add freon for A/C, replaced the CAM shaft, and one of the control arms, etc. over a period of about two years. It does get a little uncomfortable for long trips--the interior is small, and the seats are FIRM.
Exterior styling is great--so sporty!, tight handling, keyless entry, overall size, good sound system. Reliable car!
Interior trunk release is needed! Drives me nuts to have to turn the car off to get in the trunk. Car vibrates excessively at idle, not too bad in snow/rain, but not great either. Transmission seems to shift oddly--may be due to high mileage. At 105K, time to think about trading it in.