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.
I heard that the automatics can be not so reliable. I have the 5 speed and I love it. No major repairs in the 6 years I've had it. Got it used with about 80,000 miles on it and it's going to be hitting 200,000 this year. I fully expect to get 300,000 minimum. This car is amazing in the snow and overall handling.The dimensions or center of gravity must be just right because this this is a serious trooper. I Live in North East Pennsylvania, I've commuted to my job as a snow plow driver in snow nearly a foot deep to where the bumper was pushing snow. Rain, snow, ice whatever you throw at it as long as you know what you're doing it can handle it all.
We were the second owners of this car and it was good at first but after making numerous trips of over 500 miles the car did not prove to be reliable. We had many problems with the belt and brakes. It was very small for us. Once we stayed local and drove only 3 mile a day, we were ok and didn't have prolems, but it always felt like the car was in the shop.
Got the car as a gift from my grandfather for my first car. Had 115k on it. Now has 123k and is sitting in my driveway. I loved it when I first got it... But it started to deteriorate substantially after a rough new england winter. Traction is terrible, but never killed me. Always idled very rough, car shakes when not moving. Rusts out cery bad. Tranny started to shift hard, throwing code for tranny failure. Got rid of it for an '05 jetta, Love it much more. All in all, not a bad choice for a first car/cheap transportation
My familly has owned a ford escort sport zx2 from 1999 to now. of the course of its life a huge tree has fell on it and still it runs. however some of the accessories arent doing so well, cd changer and cassette tape doesnt function perhaps because the wiring is faulty after being repaired from the tree. It is now my first car and it is great. i love how it rides. i usually dont like carpeted interior but this car wouldn be what it is if it didnt have the carpeted interior. I encourage everyone to buy it unless you are like 6 feet tall cause it has a low roof.