The clutch handles weird, even to highly experienced manual drivers, this could be an individual car issue. It is more sensitive than it's sister cars (escorts) the clutch has to be to the floor in order for the car to start, that is something normally seen only in import cars. Also sometimes it will feel like it is in gear, then it will grind and pop out of gear, very frustrating.
The device to recline the seat is a dial, that is hard to turn and only moves slightly with each turn, it takes over a minute to move the seat from up right to fully reclined.
The headlights are very dim, at night in rural areas, driving with the brights on is not only a necessity, but oncoming traffic can't tell the difference.
The gear pattern is very close to the dash of the car, and even at my height (5ft 3in) which isn't very tall, sitting far enough away from the wheel and pedals to be comfortable, it is a stretch forward to be able to reach the stick shift, it's uncomfortable, I really feel for those who are tall and need to be back further.
In winter, idling the car will not effect the heat/defrost temp. The car has to start moving before the heater/defrost will start to get warm.
The nice part about driving a contour is that it is a "parent" car and cops typically leave you alone, leaving you to be a less than perfect driver and not get pulled over. The insurance on it is also very resonable, most people my age (21) are paying at least $175-$200 a month for full coverage, the cost for mine is the equivalent of $80 a month for the same amount, if not more coverage.
The car handles well, I bought it because it does so, the little things that a wrong with it are probably just things you notice when you are stuck in traffic in the city with the 2nd worst traffic in the u.s.
My sister was on a auto parts site (napa or the like) profiling her 1993 probe, and was going to profile my car while she was at it, and the site wouldn't let her enter the contour into the system, it had a response something like "we are sorry, we cannot profile your 1995 contour GL 5 speed, due to the lack of repairs needed to maintain the car.