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.