This is a great car.I bought it in 2004 with 17k and currently has 106k.I'm not a FORD lover,I only bought it cause it was in my price range and got good reviews.Ive fixed only brakes, rotors, belt, tie rod and flex pipe piece ($1050).Just moved cross country with almost 900lbs of stuff.No problems handling it at 85 mph. Does display the common rough idle which most escorts do just due to the type of engine.So far it beat the life of my parents chevy malibu and dodge intrepid, which blew head gaskets and transmissions before 100k.I'm not a car guy,dont prefer one brand over another,but this car doesn't die, starts every time. Not much to look at. Gets you from A to B with no problems at all.
Car was purchased very inexpensively as a commuter scooter. I needed cheap miles and this car fit the bill. Only 8400 miles at the time of purchase but with hail damage that didn't affect operation. Issues have been easy to fix (relay module, tie rod end and vacuum hose) but otherwise no problems in over 100,000 miles. It has never left anyone stranded. Great gas mileage city or open road. Easy to work on by a shade tree mechanic. Now my daughter considers it "her" car for use at college. I see it several times a year now and keep the maintenance up for her. She understands the economics of inexpensive, reliable transportation instead of a fashion statement.
I keep getting check engine soon light. The transmission is burning fluid and I have to flush the transmission fluid out every 4-6 weeks and then the light comes on again. I received a quote from a transmission place in Hayward, CA for a rebuilt transmission for $1600. Another place quoted me $1700 for a used transmission. The car still runs okay, but I keep putting in about $100 every month for flushing the transmission fluid. I've had a fairly good run with this car, and it's time to get a newer vehicle and I plan to keep the Escort as a backup. Still, car needs some work, though. Car has Automatic Transmission and not 5-Speed Manual as indicated when I selected the model.
I owned a white 1999 Ford Escort LX back when I was in high school and my first year of college. I have to admit when growing up I always wanted a mustang GT as a first car since it was sporty and since my dad would only let me get a Ford since he works for a Ford dealership. When I heard I was going to the shop to check out my first car I had no clue what it was. When the shop door opened a brand new Saleen Mustang was sitting in the first stall I saw. I scream and ran to it but little did I know before my father corrected me that the Saleen was a customers car. My father pointed to the stall to the back of the shop and there was my escort. At first I was furious it wasn't a mustang but after driving it for a while I am so glad he got me that escort instead of a Mustang. It taught me how to be a better driver and not to mention it was a fun little car despite having a 2.0 SOHC engine. Unfortunately some things happened to my little escort and now I have a Ford Five Hundred. It would still be on the road if I wasn't acting like an idiot but I was going through a rough time in my life when that happened. I will say finding an engine for one that isn't over 100k miles is almost physically impossible. However I would buy this car again if given the chance in the near future to put up and take care of. I loved this car despite not having power windows, power locks, cd player, Bluetooth, or even navigation. I was very content with this car and if you are looking for a first car for your kids I would highly suggest this or a new focus not the first generation of the focus because those where terrible but this car is perfect.
When it was new it was problem free but after a few years and miles even with good maintenance and light driving the problems start showing up. I now expect major work on an annual basis. No doubt the CCRM failed on the A/c which is common to this model, rear springs snapped which is also common, engine pipe fell off, speedometer meter in the axle broke, and even the shift console light doesn't work, and now some kind of power sapping engine problem. Driving this car is zero fun and all hassle.