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.