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.