Performance sleeper; affordable power and handling with 4 doors
No major problems.
Costs for normal maintenance have been typical.
The car has had several recalls, which is annoying, but they were handled without problem.
Replaced intake manifold runner control solenoid (this is common failure on the V6). Dealer part, $35, installed myself. This isn't a huge deal; the car was drivable without it, though high-rpm power is gone.
After reading about problems with failed water pumps, I decided to replace it as a preventive measure (the pump's plastic impeller is noted for failure). My old pump looked fine; I installed the new pump myself, cost about $60.
My GL (lowest trim available) is surprisingly well equipped (power locks and windows, AM/FM cassette, air conditioning, two airbags).
The V6 surprises many people by how quick it is. Many imports that whip in the lane next to me at stop lights, seem shocked to be left behind. Engine smooth and quick up to automatic transmission shift points (about 6200 RPM at wide-open throttle).
Brakes are a awesome (4 wheel disk brakes; the rear rotors are even vented; few high-performance cars have this feature). I have replaced brake pads once; still on the original rotors.
Traction control is simply too much fun. Leaves most everyone behind at stop lights in the rain (just floor it; let the computer figure out how to control wheel spin and find traction). Traction control also helps in snow.
I wish adjustable steering wheel was available in 1995 (not offered until 1997 models).
Stereo speakers disappointing; clearly from the cheapest parts bin.
I've found www.contour.org to be an excellent resource for Contour info.
Ford clearly did their homework on this car; I've had excellent results with it. I've heard about enough problems from other people that I suspect Ford needed to do some more work to really refine the model. I believe I've had few problems because I take good care of the car (change fluids and filters on time, etc.). The car probably doesn't hold up well as a Toyota or Honda if ignored or abused. That said, I can't get a medium-size sedan with V6 power, traction control and 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system (ABS) from Honda or Toyota for about $16,000 (what we paid new, as an end-of-model-year leftover on the lot).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th April, 2003