I've always driven Hondas and Toyotas, but my 99 Escort SE Sport married into the family. When we had our first kid, I sold my Honda Del Sol, and bought a new Corolla. My wife got the new car and I got "stuck" with the Escort. It's been a phenominal car. It still drives like new after 100k (I know thats not much compared to other reviews), and I've never had any mechanical problems. It handles great, has good pick up, and I get pretty good gas mileage. All in all, I really prefer driving it to the new (2006) Corolla.
Great handling, good gas mileage, and very reliable
I would have upgraded the stereo and added a CD if it wasn't for the strange stereo/air faceplate. It was a strange Ford design when everything was contoured and oval.
This car is very reliable, easy to fix, and exceptionally roomy for a compact car. I routinely haul my two dogs, child in car seat, wife, and luggage with ease. I've also pulled a pretty heavy trailer 1000 miles with the car. My only criticisms are that the seats are horribly uncomfortable. The car has very little power, but it is so reliable and practical that it has been a great car. I have 191k on mine and it still is running fine.
My Escort has almost 180k on it now and has never let me down. Ever. She sees high rpms on a daily basis because of how fun this ride is! 5spd is definitely the way to go and the response is outstanding. I thought escorts were grandma cars until i noticed civics trying to keep up! The handling is so smooth that i sometimes forget that I am in an Escort. All my friends look to the ground with rising gas prices as I enjoy the day no matter what with my easily captured 35mpg. Fuel economy is simply amazing in this car! If you want an affordable car that just won't leave you in the dust or stranded, and out runs half the hybrids in the mpg test, i can confidently say "go with the Escort!"
Handling, visibility, and throttle response.
More comfortable seats, sexier headlights, larger tachometer, and a redline that at least goes to 6500 rpms instead of the lonesome 5800 redline. Come on Ford, put the cards on the table!
Drives and handles great. Looks great. Drove it to New Orleans and back last year with no problems at all. Didn't even have it checked out before I left, I have that much faith in it. Just routine maintenance, nothing more.
I like the way the manual transmission revs. Great looks. Never a problem with the cd changer or the roof.
None. If the rear seats were roomier it wouldn't look the same.