1997 Ford Contour SE 2.5 DOHC from North America
Great reliability, great comfort, poor MPG
Purchased at 170k. Only essential repairs were done:
New fuel and brake lines (fixed, $400).
Rear suspension low and kinda stiff (not fixed).
Dehumidifier not doing its job when it's wet outside (not fixed).
Manifold exhaust pipe needs change (not fixed).
Bought it for $1,500 at 170k, now at 220 and still pretty solid. Five speed, 2.5 SE, DOHC V6.
This car's greatest asset is it's handling. It's got an unbelievable grip on the pavement, especially in snow (I'm from Canada). The leather seats are very comfy, and the heater/defrost are great. The car is pretty reliable, though some friends who own Accords and Civics with much higher mileage have cars in better condition.
The manual stick is sweet, and feels tight and sporty even after so many kilometers. The car is nice for cruising, but has a completely different and aggressive personality after 3000 RPMs (guess that's where the second cam profile kicks in).
The only thing that bothers me about it is its gas consumption. The manifold pipe is expensive to install and hard to find, so I didn't fix it. That resulted in very poor gas mileage (9kms for every liter). However I should mention that I briefly had a 91 Mazda Protege before this, and it was the same crappy mileage. So don't expect efficiency from a 1,500 car. But reliability and comfort for sure.
Overall, I am very impressed with this car and Ford in general. I'm considering a Ford Fusion after my nice experience, and I'm just waiting to find a clean one for a good price.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd December, 2010