Just did a cross country IN to DC avg 35 mpg-200 lb luggage and 450 lb passengers. Even the newest cars don't get that good of mileage. Rides nice with GOOD tires. 5 speed manual make it fun. All interior and exterior mechanics still work. Made some of the repairs mentioned plus new fuel injectors. I keep working of the rust above the rear wheels so maybe I can keep this GOOD little car for a few more years. Added cruise control works as good as factory at a fraction of the price. Don't forget to downshift early on the hills.
Overall, the best car I have ever owned, hands down. I am the original owner, and have close to 250K on it. I'm not religious about oil changes every 3000, but I get to them eventually. There's plenty of power in the manual trans 1.9 engine, I can pull steep grades with a full load of passengers & luggage running in 4th gear. I'm on my 5th set of tires, 4th windshield (darn rocks), 3rd water pump (they go after about 120K, easy fix tho), 2nd radiator (replaced at 210K), 5th timing belt. Those are all pretty minor, even expected things. The engine, manual trans, A/C, suspension, body, interior, all have been rock solid.
I'ts a long lasting car. Acceleration is poor and only seems better during night time. Does not do well against hills. The most gradual hills will cause the car to deaccelerate even when the gas pedal is pushed all the way down. Burns gas quickly and the gas reader begins to shake. The speedometer stick shakes when reaching speeds over 70. The car also lidles too high; it goes 10 miles and hour when just put into gear with automatics. Radiator uses a lot of coolant and often leaks when parked. For some strange reason the car actually keeps on truckin'.
This car was given to me last June and has been an exceptional first car. It was in great condition and still is. For an 11-year-old car, I am impressed by how well the A/C and heat work. It can be loud, and it loses a lot of power going uphill, but that's a small engine for you. Last summer, my mom and I went from KY to NY state with lots of luggage and the A/C running, but it did not miss a beat. It said it was hot, but it didn't seem to be. Everything works except delayed wiper feature. I've only replaced a battery connector. It is also surprisingly good in snow. I'm impressed with this Ford, but I'll probably go Toyota next time. It may have a few flaws, but it is still a nice car.
I got this car 5 yrs ago and unfortunatly I'm getting rid of it soon. It's been a wonderful, relyable car since the day I bought it. Few minor fixes and maintenance along the way, but nothing thats not expected from a car that was 8-9 yrs old at the time and never had that maintenance. Its got 96k miles on it and I would definatly expect it to last at least another 50 if its taken care of. Outside of oil changes and tire rotations I've probably had it in the shop for repairs twice. Pretty good in my opinion when I bought the car after it was 5 yrs old. It would be a definate good buy for a first time driver.