I bought this car slightly used, based on favorable reviews in the car magazines. It is a sporty sedan that packs a lot of value for the money. The engine, suspension and brakes are well-suited for the enthusiast driver. However, this is the most fragile car I have ever owned. With less than 75k on the odometer, I have had to replace the water pump (a flawed design with a plastic impeller wheel), the catalyst, and the starter motor. The check engine light turning on is a quarterly event. The stock CD player would skip if you looked at it cross-eyed. Owning this car makes me believe that when Ford lines up suppliers, it always takes the low bidder. Ford: you have lost this customer.
Performance, gas mileage.
(These comments pertain to current Ford sedans, since the Contour is out of production). The car needs to hold up better after the warranty expires. Long-term durability must improve on Ford products, because if the Contour is any indicator, it is horrid. Will the Fusion be any better? We'll see.
My Contour now has 198,000 miles on it. I bought it used with about 34,000 miles(mostly highway) and have owned it for 7 years now. I changed the transmission once, the alternator once, several belt changes, headlight problems, and several other minor changes, but never any engine problems. It is still a fun car to drive but since it was my first car I am ready to move on to foreign cars (less maintenance).
This car fails to meet normal wear and tear, it starts at about 5 years old. First the engine check light come on and no can fix, except for 250 dollars, then they can turn it off. Next, continual problems with the wheel, axles, bearing, alternator assembly; replaced alternator, water heater, timing chain, and last but not least the transmission is shot -- every time I turned something was wrong with this vehicle. What a piece of junk, I will never buy anything again that says Ford or Mazda since my car has a Mazda transmission in it. Need to have over head light in the middle of the car you can't see in the back seat when it's dark.
Ease of driving, cruise control, 4 doors.
First the engine check light , wheel, axles, bearing, alternator assembly, replace alternator, water heater, timing chain, bearings, u-joints and transmission. JUNK IT- This car STINKS, make back doors easier to get thing in and out, square them off not round.
Bought from my father who owned it since new. This car has had multiple maintenance related problems. By 85,000 miles, replaced alternator (which is difficult to access for remove and replace and very expensive), heater blower motor, heater resistor pack, and both wheel hub bearings. I have a continuing problem, yet unsolved, of the radiator fan not turning on when the temperature gauge reads high unless the a/c is on. Check engine light comes on intermittently with an "EGR flow excessive" code read-out. This seems to be too many problems for a car that has had regular maintenance and mostly highway miles. For those reasons, I do not recommend buying, even though it drives well.
Handling is great, especially in snow with the traction control.
This car is very fun to drive. It handles great and has a lot of power with a small 2.5L V6. I have a SE model which in my opinion looks better and it handles better due to different sway bars and shock valving. No problems with this car, just regular maintenance.