Bought my tracer in 2004 with 54K miles. It's very basic but was good for local running around. Mileage was about 24 city, 29 hiway. Took good care of it. Mystery problems began at about 100K miles - engine light would go on, codes were checked (minor stuff) and fixed, engine light would stay off for one day or one week (never knew what to expect). Thought it might be the ECM, but it wasn't. About 2 weeks ago it died - valve seat problem. RIP, it was good while it lasted.
I've had this car for the past 12 years, bought it new. Great little car, very reliable, fantastic gas mileage. This little 4 banger is quick, fun to drive with a manual transmission. I routinely average high 30 MPG range, close to 40 on the highway. GREAT Car, had to replace clutch and alternator twice, but otherwise a great little car
bought the car for $2000 and had no problems other than recently in 2008 the rear springs/ shocks have all but given out forcing me to get a new car. it also idles hard with shaking and does not have any passing speed on highway, even with oil/filter/air changes ever 2000 miles, and new spark plugs, cables. paint was pealing off when purchased but has not gotten any worse since. never had a problem starting up in the dead of winter even after sitting around for about a month without a engin turnover. a bit dull on the overall design.
great on gas, fluid changes are very easy to access, and very reliable
tape, or cd player would have been great when in locations that don't pick up radio, cruise control
I just bought A 4DR LS with a brand new engine. It has been the worst car I have ever had. Everything is going wrong. Recall on the airbags, brake pedal loose (lights wont turn off), no A/C useless interior, ugly design. I do realize that this is a old car but it had sat for 4 years before it got a new engine there is no reason it should be like this.
The great gas mileage and fun to drive experience.
I bought the car 11yrs. old with 34k miles. As of 7/10/08 the car has 48k miles. It's been an ideal car for me. I work in town, but commute an hour away for college. The car has been very reliable and economical. Maintenance is cheap. It sips fuel. The wagon body style has come in useful on many occasions. The car seems very well built for just being a cheap economy car. The interior is comfortable. It drives pretty nicely. Great brakes. Great steering. Very smooth, yet stable ride. The seats are firm, but seem good for my bad back. For the low initial price and dependable, affordable service that follows, this is a great choice in used economy cars of this age.
Fuel economy, driving dynamics (brakes, steering, handling, ride), affordability to buy and keep up.
Cup holders in console are completely useless. Too shallow. No in-dash CD player offered by Ford. Aftermarket units look dreadful in this car. No center armrest on the upscale LS trim? Monotone grey interior is very drab.