I recently took the car to the mechanic for a periodic full check up. My mechanic volunteered the following unsolicited comment: "I wouldn't think twice about taking this car across country. It is in such a good shape." This experience reflects my feelings about the car and my experience with it: "Not a single real problem in all these twelve plus years!". I chose the car because of (1) its fuel economy, (2) its ample room for either people or for loading shopping, (3) its comfort for unloading or loading because: of low back door and back seat down option, and (4) its sporty look. It turned out that to this I should add (a) its dependability and (b) its reliability.
We purchased our Escort wagon used, with approximately 35K miles, from a local Toyota dealer. It was my wife's daily driver for seven years and it never gave her a problem. Two years ago it became my stepson's car and it continues to be an economical and reliable vehicle. With regular maintenance, a Ford Escort of this vintage will reward you as an economical and fun-to-drive car. Our car has needed the typical replacement items over the years such as brake pads, batteries, plugs, and bulbs. Unfortunately, I also had to replace the heater core recently (which is a monstrous job), marring an otherwise excellent history of reliability. Overall, our Escort has been a great little car.
At 200k+ miles, this ten-yr.-old wagon still runs like a champ. Apart from normal maintenance, it has not required any big-ticket repairs. No frills, but good heat/AC, good cargo space, and surprising get-up-and-go. Perfect for errands around town.