I have always been a fan of Escorts and was excited to get one as my first car. It was purchased in July of 2006 with 79,000 miles and I'm almost to 91,000. When I bought the car the radio had stuff spilled in it so that was replaced. My check engine light gave me trouble for an idle speed thing, fixed and it idles very well. Other than that I blew one rusty trans line, the CEL is on again for the EGR valve (im ignoring it) and my blower motor just went, but other than the trans line which is expected in a winter climate, all my repairs have been cheap and have not been detrimental to the car in terms of running. Hasn't left me stranded, and we're almost to 91,000 miles.
Reliable, radio panel is actually very ergonomic, predictable handling, timeless looks, cheap parts, throaty 4 cylinder, ful economy (about 25 in the city).
Better seats (they have no side support) a little bit more pick up (passing can be a pain), and fuel economy (25 is good but I'm hearing much better than that on here.)