I bought my 1999 Escort with 90,000 miles on the odometer. I was looking for a late model car that would be easier on my wallet than the Pathfinder I had been driving. I average about 37-38 MPG on the highway, but have noticed a dramatic drop in city driving. The car has enough power to move it down the highway at speed, but acceleration, even with the 5 speed, is somewhat lacking. Road noise is minimal, and the sound system works exceptionally well, considering the rural environment I live in. My only complaint so far is a scrubbing/grinding noise when the brakes are spplied. I suspect either the rotors are warped or the brake pads are worn. Easy fix in either case.
Power mirrors, rear defroster, tachometer, removable cupholders, alloy wheels/upgraded tires.
Relocate cupholders away from gearshift/radio cluster, make cruise control and CD changer standard, add a wiper for the rear glass on the sedan model.