I bought my Escort from a couple who wanted a newer car. It had high miles for the year, but didn't look bad at all. I've had Escorts and other Fords before and this car has been the best one for me to drive. Body looks good, inside fits 1 adult, 2 kids and a big dog pretty good. I had a few problems with it, such as the brakes, and now I'm told something is broken in the engine, but that little car still moves. Has always been good on gas, and the only time it left me stranded was when I got a dead battery. I drove this car hard. I live in a hilly region and I tend to lay on the gas. The tranny is good, it's just that some mounting thing in the engine is broke, so the car can take a beating.
Good on gas, big enough for family of 4, pretty good speakers too.
From the beginning - TROUBLE! Strange noises and lots of vibration. Transmission always a concern - dealer said everything ok (while under warranty). Repeated Check Engine Lights - sensor replacements and $$$ Cassette player went out. Hood latch broke, nickel and diming me to death. Lot of brake problems. The latest found on road test diagnosis - major valve & seat damage, went through and damage the piston, block, and cylinder head - needs new engine at $4,000. Dealer maintenance shop keeps telling me there are never any trouble with Escorts. Yeah, right.
Too hard to see past all the problems.
I will NEVER buy another FORD. Both I've had were terribly unreliable cars. Dealer maintenance shop (which keeps changing names and perhaps ownership) has been very unresponsive to the chronic issues with this car. (Fix that Mr. Ford!).
Just got this car not too long ago but it has been in the family for about 3 years. I don't really have to do anything with it besides change the fluids and get new brakes ... just normal wear and tear. The car has about 78K on it and I expect another 100K more at least. The tranny sometimes shifts rough and it idles shaky but I heard those are normal Escort traits. It gets great gas mileage and is quite comfortable to ride in and also handles a lot better than most other small cars. I had a 96 Escort and this generation seems worlds better. I don't know why people are running out and getting Japanese cars, I'd take my little 'Scort over a Corolla or Civic any day. The build quality is great.
Keyless entry, power everything, great MPG, peppy & reliable little motor. Fairly roomy for its size. Better build quality than my 96 or my grandparents 02 Cavalier.
Mostly just minor. Needs a tilt wheel. Stupid ICP makes it difficult to install an aftermarket CD player. You should be able to get the ZX2's 130hp DOHC 2.0. An antenna built into the A-pillar.
Bought my '99 Escort with 24k on it, thinking it was a good buy. Less than a month later I had bad vibrations in the car during idle. Had to rip out and replace the motor mounts, a problem that I've read other people having online. Horrible console design, cup holders won't hold anything bigger than a 20 ounce cup. Bad acceleration and I'm already having transmission problems thanks to it. For some reason gas mileage plummets with city driving from 30-35 mpg to about 25 or so. I like small cars so this is actually a bit big for me; I'd have preferred a ZX2 if anything. Back seat has no room for comfort. My issues with the exterior looks were solved with a body kit. Speakers didn't even survive 2 months.
The only parts I like on this car didn't come on it. The most reliable car I've ever owned, but that definitely isn't saying much.
The gas mileage shouldn't drop that much from city to highway. Motor mounts seem to be a reoccurring problem with this car; look for bad vibrations in the console and steering wheel. Horrid acceleration, I've been out sped by minivans.