Ok - I bought this car 2/00, so I've had it a while. I drive hard, and went 115k before replacing the clutch. Other than a warped dash (fixed under warranty) and a foghorn sound (web showed me how to fix), I have had no real issues with this car. It's still a very solid and reliable performer, and very fun to drive. Yeah, I get made fun of a lot for driving a Contour, but every time I throw it into a turn or hear the exhaust note when I gun it, I still grin (although don't get into the SVT after test driving the new M3 and expect to still feel impressed). Still a great buy if you ask me -- especially considering that you don't see yourself coming and going everyday.
This is truely a great "drivers" car, handles so well stock, and it just has that certain look. It is a true sleeper too, hardly anyone knows what the SVT Contour is, so it makes it that much more special.
This car is fun to drive. I have autocrossed and taken it to a road course. The steering is awesome, the torque build up is linear, same with the brakes, they don't surprise you by doing something you did not expect or ask them to do, and they respond to your input quickly. The exhaust note sounds great, even better when combined with a Cold Air intake. The car does have issues though. I have had to replace the moonroof motor 3 times, fuel pump, front supension components, fog lights burn out all the time, lack of replacement OEM size tires (need to upgrade to 17" rims/tires if you want a good selection), and others issues I have forgotten about.
I bought my 00 svt after owning a 96 tour seV6. Only problem with 96, wheel bearings, thats why I bought a 00 SVtour. It has been a great experience. The paint(silver) quality is far better than expected, no chips on front end. Otherwise, I always use synthetic oil, doesn't burn any.Goodrich KDW tires go quick at 23k, I like the twisties. I will have this car a long time. The exhaust is exotic. The wheels are bend proof. Emergency brake needs lubrication yearly. Not much for aftermarket stuff. Zero faults. Keep intake clean, change coolant,tranny fluid, brake fluid, p/s fluid, filters available at Walmart and you will have zero problems with this car.