I bought this car, intending only to keep it for a few months. Well its 2.5 years later and i'm still driving it. I have over 160,000 miles on it and it still runs great. Only things i've replaced have been tires and the serpentine belt, regular oil changes and 1 tune up. This is a great college car, its cheap to buy, run, and maintain. The 5-speed has a lot of pickup after 1st gear, so its a nice ride. Good in the winter and rain, no complaints, i would recomend this car to anyone who doesn't mind driving an escort.
I brought this 1996 Escort wagon new in 1996. I currently have 114,000 miles on it and have had zero problems. It get's great mileage and I can carry just about anything with it. I also pull a trailer with a motorcycle on it and the Escort does fine as long as you don't have to use the air. I don't know how good the new Ford Focus is but I think Ford made a mistake when the got rid of the Escort wagon. My wagon has a standart shift and will keep up with any situation I've found myself in.
This is my second Escort, loved my first one, very reliable, both the drive tyrain and chasis was bulit by Mazda. Ford built the body. I had a 4 door 1.9 now a wagon 1.9 i seem to have lost a bit of power. The wagon only has 50kgs of more weight, but lacks of power accelerating. I would love a 5 speed but very rare. This car is very pratical and reliable. I love my Escorts. My 1991 had 250,000k's on it and was still going strong. That's why I bought an another one. My opinion? Buy an Escort, good and reliable cars.
I purchased the car new on April Fool's day of 1996. It has been great with no major problems. I replaced the speedometer at 84,000 miles, a weak point with all Fords of this era; miles and timing belt, it will happen to all of them, at 100000+ miles. I replaced the ignition pack at 110,000. It will do 30+MPG on trips and 26 MPH town and country. With 113,000+ miles it still runs like new on original tune and spark plugs.