1998 Ford Contour SE V6 from North America


Cheap fun basic family transportation


Previous owner had some work done under warranty (I don't remember what) and replaced the water pump.

Since I got it, I've replaced the tires (after a bad alignment ate the old ones), brake rotors and pads all around, spark plugs and wires, various filters, an oxygen sensor, and the alternator.

General Comments:

Pretty good car...

None of the things that have gone wrong are surprising for a car with 100,000 miles on the clock, and most were cheap and easy to fix (replacing the alternate was a pain the neck, though).

It handles fairly well, though the original suspension is getting tired, and it's got plenty of pick-up for dealing with San Diego freeways. I've even autocrossed it a few times! (No trophies, though.)

It's big enough to take a family of four on a weekend camping trip, but still small enough to be fun getting there on the twisty mountain roads.

Gas mileage is reasonable, depending on how hard you drive it (I get around 21 mpg for a mix of city and highway driving).

It's not the best looking car out there, but it at least its blandness makes it anonymous... and I don't worry about anyone stealing it.

Best of all, it was dirt cheap to buy and insure.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2006

9th Mar 2006, 11:03

Love my contour. Headlamp lenses so badly pitted it is impossible to drive at night. Any solution other than replacing at a high cost? Joeojt@earthlink.net.

18th Jan 2007, 20:54

In Florida a lot of cars get sunburned headlamps. I bought a restoration kit at Advanced Auto Parts which took about 20 minutes of sweat equity to really clear up the pitting and "fogginess" to almost-new condition.

1998 Ford Contour SE from North America


Contour: the topography line of automotive misery


I have had to replace the battery (as of tomorrow) five times. Clearly, there is some as-yet unidentified drain on the battery very much in spit of the several times that this total heap of junk has been in various repair shops.

I have had to replace the alternator three times.

The check engine light comes on and goes off, again, without the benefit of any rational explanation for this most unsettling alert.

This car has died in traffic three times due to the apparently undiagnosable electrical problems.

The gas mileage is atrocious. I am not a lead-foot by any stretch of the imagination. My friends make fun of me for how cautiously and slow I drive. And 15MPG is all it seems good for.

General Comments:

Finding an ad for a used Ford Contour for sale? Don't walk. Run. Fast. In the opposite direction.

I would not wish this car on any of the small handful of people I like least.

I nearly cried when Ford announced that they were discontinuing the Escort. I owned a 1989 hatchback, and a 1997 wagon. Both of these performed like champs, and were good for 140K miles -- and still running -- when I traded them in.

They should have kept going with the Escort (particularly with that just-try-to-kill-me Mazda Protege/323 power train and just-like-butter 5-speed manual gear box! Flawless!) and pulled the plug instead on the nightmare that is the Ford Contour.

The Contour is a complete and total lemon. I hate this car with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.

I have read and re-read largely good things about the Focus. Having had such positive experiences with Ford products twice previously, I am willing to give consideration to another Ford purchase.

But I will proceed with extreme and thoroughly researched caution, given the suffering that this untrustworthy heap is still visiting upon me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th December, 2005

1998 Ford Contour SE 2.5L 24v DOHC V6 from North America


A good mix of performance and efficiency


The intake manifold gaskets went out and had to be replaced at 35,000. ($318)

General Comments:

Overall this is a good car.

The V6 has plenty of passing power and gets decent fuel mileage.

The worst gas mileage I observed was 19 and the best was 31.

Wind noise at highway speeds is louder than I would prefer.

The car handles OK, nothing special.

Ride quality could be better.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th October, 2005