I bought this car when it was 5 years old with 67k miles. It did well for me the first year I owned it, but then I started having all kinds of problems: The vibration of the SOHC is so intense, I had to replace the motor mounts twice; the factory fuel pump went out (which I heard was a common occurrence for these cars); a power window cable snapped; the CD player started skipping, even with new CDs; and a valve seat fell out of the engine at 95k miles. Considering the age and miles of the car when I bought it, I didn't mind so much of the repairs though it did pull a chunk out of my wallet having been a college student at the time. The engine finally died at 137k.
Gas mileage was fantastic avg 31mpg highway with automatic transmission, tight steering, low road noise, cargo space, and stereo sound quality.
I was never crazy about it's huge rear exterior, but that may be just because I'm picky. Also, SOHC is a rare and expensive engine to maintain.
This car was purchased used from a private seller in early 2009 to be used as a commuter vehicle in Canada. The car passed a licenced (3rd party) inspection when I bought it, but has since required ~$3,000 in repairs in the nine months that I have been driving it - about the same amount I spent buying the wretched thing. So far the front shocks & struts have had to be replaced twice (the first OEM replacement parts broke less than a month after being replaced by a licensed shop), the front brake pads, rotors, & calipers, the rear brake cylinders, the heater core, and the OEM 6-CD stereo. Needless to say, I won't be buying another Ford in the foreseeable future.
The interior is nice, and I rather liked the fact that the seat hights are adjustable. Lots of interior room for a compact car, yet easy to maneuver around a parking lot.
The interior cup holders are ridiculous - located too close to the bottom of the dash so putting actual CUPS in them is never easy. The ride is quite stiff, but I think that's because the "Street" edition has the upgraded engine & suspension?
Very reliable & very good on gas I always said I hated this car b/c I didn't like the look of the hatchback, but it never gave me any problems. I commuted to work 4hrs a day for over a year and never once had any issues. Was recently in a very bad car accident where I was hit at full highway speed by a Chevy Silverado (that's a big truck compared to my little hatchback), my car was totaled, but I lived. I would have to say they are built very well. As much as I hated the look of this car, I might have to buy another b/c I know they're safe.
Bought this new in 2001 and now use it as a second car. Much more fun to drive than my Camry. Takes the Western Pa hills and curves with ease. Very reliable. Only had to replace the spark plug wires after about 70,000 miles.
Responsive handling, roomy interior, easy access to all areas, visibilty.
Engine is course when cold. Road noise. Could use flanges on wheel wells to prevent stone chips on the sides.
You are better of setting a few thousand dollars on fire and then buying a used Honda or Toyota. I have spent 3K on this in the past 6 weeks, three trips to the dealership and it only has 65k on it. I truly would love to see the US produce a car that did not break down every season, but to date every experence that I have had over the past 12 years with US cars are the same. My wifes Honda has 100k and has never, I repeat never had a single problem.
If ford does not invest in quality parts the company will not see 2020