This is my first car, got it when I was 16 I'm almost 19 now. When my mom gave it to me it had 150,000 miles. Now it has 215,700. Its been totaled twice. Been involved in a few more little wrecks. I've backed into 4 cars (hasn't messed up either car either time) the timing belt broke on it. Thought the motor was gone, but it wasn't. I tore the front end up and the hole drivers side door up by hitting a fence. It chirps wheels in second gear. I couldn't have asked for a better first car. Gas mileage. Filled it up today for 28$ itll run 300 miles a tank. My kids will probably be driving this car. I have a spare exact same car (but it has a sunroof) with 140,000 on it when the motor blows in this one.
I purchased my used ZX2 about 2 years ago, with 58,000 miles on the clock. Since then, she's only let me down once, and that was because I hadn't performed a regular maintenance item. The timing belt slipped so it wouldn't run, took it to a shop who didn't know what they were doing and they told me my cold air intake and header were why she wouldn't idle (at ALL). Well, they were wrong, the timing was still off. For a year, she's been running with bad timing and she runs like a champ, well, to a certain degree. As soon as I fix the timing (myself!), I'm positive she'll be back to her old zippy, fun self. Please, please buy one of these cars, you won't regret it.
Bought it for 300 dollars, interior was immaculate, had just under 120k on it, someone forgot to replace the timing belt as scheduled, after looking in the cylinders with a horoscope I decided to try just a timing belt kit, new water pump (good logic to do both at the same time as the water pump is a pain in the a** if you don't do it without the motor elevated) and new idler and tensioner pulleys. After that half days work it busted right off and sounded like a pocket watch ever since, it has just under 240k on it now seeing as I drive 130 miles every day. The seats are comfortable enough if you're not a 6 foot 9 Leviathan like me. Surprised that it has legroom enough for me as well. The car is great for 1 or 2 people but if your back seat passengers are anything bigger than kids they're going to be quite cramped, that and the 130 horse 2.0 dohc motor begins to lug down, but come on, it's a 90s economy car what do you expect out of it. Now if it's just me by myself the car performs quite well surprisingly, the handling is very tight and responsive ( if you maintain the front end) it loves interstate driving though it doesn't really like anything above 80 for long distance driving, the ride is very firm but still comfortable enough, braking is very responsive even with the age of the car. The automatic transmission is not the best engineered piece of equipment though, around 150 K when I would turn into a parking lot or take off from a stoplight while still in 2nd gear it would begin gear hunting and jar your teeth when it would finally settle on one after about 3 seconds, I was fortunate enough to get ahold of a shift correction and clutch kit, after the rebuild I have had no problems whatsoever out of the trans other than having to change the fluid every 50k, although if you don't like a firm shift I'd go back to a factory rebuild, me personally it's pretty nice. Gas mileage in town stays pretty consistent at 27 for me, and on the interstate if you stay below 80 it actually gets 32. But other than the transmission issues and regular maintenance (which if you're not mechanically inclined I wouldn't do more than change the spark plugs and wires or change the oil and filters, save for the trans filter, seeing as there's a torque mount brace right under the trans pan.) I haven't really had any issues out of the car, I'd honestly have no problem jumping in it right now and tearing off to California and back to Texas. It is definitely a great car for someone looking for a cheap gas saver that won't leave them stranded as long as they take care of it. And I definitely plan on keeping this car until the aftermarket drops support for it seeing as it has served me well.
My experience with the Ford Escort ZX2 has been horrible from the start. First, 3 months after I purchased it the entire transmission was shot. (Under warranty they replaced it). 1 year later the power steering went out. The break are horrible and even though I change them often the dealership says that these types of cars have that "Squicky" problem.