Bought this car used with 125k miles on it. Within a year my transfer case was shot and I needed a new one. I've replaced my brakes multiple times and have only had it 3 years. My muffler got very loud and when I had it fixed the mechanic told me that for the 97 they completely changed the muffler and then changed it back in 98 because they probably figured out it was bad news. Last but not least, my timing chain just blew and when the mechanic looked at it, he said 'What the hell was Ford thinking when they did this?' There's 4 chains that need to be replaced and you have to remove the motor to change them because they are all over. I don't wish this on anyone.
Comfy seats. Love the sunroof. I felt very safe while driving it (at least from accidents). Fantastic in the snow.
Maybe they tried to change up the 97 but when they realized their mistake, they made the 98 like the 96. My driver side seat handle broke too and it can't be used anymore either.