Used 1997 Ford Contour Sedan

1997 Ford Contour
List price range
1997 Ford Contour


  • Great peformance with either engine when equipped with a manual transmission. A worthwhile alternative for those who have BMW tastes, yet are restrained by a Ford wallet.


  • The Contour still uses Ford's, small-lettered stereo which is hard to tune without taking your eyes off the road. The back seat is inadequate for most full-size adults.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Ford spent $6 billion developing this new "world car," designed to be the best compact in every market in which it was sold. The program tested Ford's ability to utilize all of its worldwide resources to create a car that would streamline production, thereby slicing overhead and building bigger profits.

Who cares? The result is the Ford Contour, and for the average amount of a typical car purchase in the United States today, you can get one loaded up with equipment, with performance and road feel you never would have expected from a sedan made in America. Actually, the road manners of the new Contour are no mystery, given that Ford of Europe did the development work on this car.

The SE variant of the Contour comes with a 24-valve, twin-cam, 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6 engine that doesn't require a tune-up until the 100,000-mile mark. Also included on the SE are a sport suspension, big tires mounted on alloy wheels, and more sporting front seats. Load on air conditioning, power windows and locks, moonroof, cruise, traction control, antilock brakes and a CD player with premium sound and the sticker stays under $21,000, with lots of room for negotiation. Contour GL and LX are equipped with a four-cylinder engine, and are surprisingly zippy in feel when mated to the manual transmission. Optional on GL and LX is the Duratec V6.

Much has been made in the automotive press about the Contour's rear seat, and after spending a week with one, we found ourselves wishing for more room. Acceptable only for quick trips to the grocery store, the Contour's rear bench will squeeze most adults. The front seats in the Contour are great, offering plenty of room and very good support; not what one would expect in an American compact.

In the last two years, the Contour has won plenty of awards and has received great press from automotive critics. Thus, the 1997 Contour offers very minor changes. The most notable is the newly optional Sport Package which transforms the rather dowdy GL and LX models into attractive sport sedans with the addition of fog lights, aluminum wheels, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

The Contour looks good and handles like higher-priced German sedans. The body structure is stiff, and the ergonomically correct instrument panel features legible dials and well-placed controls. We really like the way the Contour feels, but for people who need more interior room the Dodge Stratus offers a convincing argument to shop around before buying.

1997 Highlights

The addition of a Sport Package for the GL and LX models and the inclusion of a standard trunk light are the only changes for the 1997 Contour.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Ford Contour.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Why did they stop making it?
The bean counter,11/22/2002
Super car. Liked it so much, I bought another one. I have been commuting 100 miles a day r/t for the past 7 yrs and have kept extensive maintenance records on all the cars I've owned for the past 10 yrs. When I factor in all of the costs of ownership (incldg depreciation), this was the hands down winner. The one I just bought to replace it has the V-6, sunroof, and leather interior.
I bought this car for my son but decided to keep it for myself because its zippy acceleration would only have caused me much grief. I enjoyed the car while I had it, but it ultimately saved my life in a nasty head-on car crash. The car withstood a 110 mile per hour impact. After a couple weeks in the hospital and months of rehab, I can honestly say the car performed as Ford planned. Between the air bags and the engineered crush points, I'm happy to be alive to submit this review.
1997 FORD CONTOUR GL 48000 MILES FOR $2400
Picked up the 1997 Ford Contour GL with only 48000 miles for $2400. Found it on Craigslist and the ad had it for $1995. It was mistake because the dealer I spoke to said it should of been $2995. When I brought a copy of the ad they had to honor the sale of the price. The dealer said I got this for a steal and since they didn't want to get in any legal trouble they took my cashiers check right away. The Contour runs great. The interior is in excellent condition. I am happy with my Contour. Just good luck I found this car. There lost is my gain.
Fix Or Repair Daily
I bought this car brand new and I had numerous problem issues with it. The interior cheap plastic broke on numerous occassions, Passenger shoulder harness housing, cuptray, etc. Driver's window motor broke twice in 4 yrs. time. Transmission went out at 52k miles. I am an aircraft mechanic and I maintained this car twice as better as the recommended maintenance intervals. I purchased a 2002 Toyota Corolla brand new it has 62000 miles now and still has not given me any problems. I am convinced that if you want a dependable transportation car you need to buy a Japanese one. I will never buy american junk again.
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Features & Specs

18 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
170 hp @ 6250 rpm
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
125 hp @ 5500 rpm
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
125 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 1997 Ford Contour Sedan features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Ford Contour
Used 1997 Ford Contour Sedan Overview

The Used 1997 Ford Contour Sedan is offered in the following styles: SE 4dr Sedan, GL 4dr Sedan, and LX 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Ford Contour Sedan?

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Used 1997 Ford Contour Sedan Listings and Inventory

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Can't find a used 1997 Ford Contour Contour Sedan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Contour for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,401.

Find a used Ford for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,707.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Contour for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $23,407.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $10,101.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Ford Contour?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Ford lease specials
Check out Ford Contour lease specials