I got this car a year ago, and so far here's what I think: It may not have an outstanding exterior/interior, the ride and handling is average, and the limit of 80 mph is definitely not too much. However, I didn't have any major problems with it, only usual maintenance. I particularly like 126ft*lb at only 2000-3000Rpm (4cyl) - you can outrun most of the cars if you wish when you start at traffic light. So my impression is: Ford Tempo is a good car to for beginners. Reliability strongly depends on the way the car was maintained.
I bought a 1993 2 yrs ago...the engine had blown on my van ... got the car for $600.00 it has 57,000 miles on the engine (verified by a couple of mechanics)...the whole car is immaculate ... came to visit my sis a few thousand miles away & am staying a lil longer than anticipated so decided to check craigslist for a car and found another 1993 Tempo for $400.00 in September '12 and I kid you not, same story, immaculate...God was lookin out for me! anyhow, both cars are, well unbelievable inside & out.....no engine knocks, don't use oil, bodies are in good shape...economical on gas ...I highly recommend this car! Mine are automatic transmission
I have had little to no problems with the car. I did have to have the speedometer cable replaced several times due to it being noisy. Otherwise, while keeping it maintained, it's been a perfect car for 13 years.
I bought this car from a friend in 1998.It has the 4 cylinder engine. It had 140,000+ miles on it at the time I bought it.I have driven for six years and 50,000 miles with only minor problems (mostly normal wear items).I did have some problems with the power door locks not working properly. The original transmission finally failed at 194,000 miles but the original engine still runs great and all the accessories still work including the AC.I can't decide whether to fix it or look for another Tempo.I have been well pleased with the car.