1998 Ford Contour SE 2.5L SOHC from North America
Worst car I've ever owned
Transmission has failed twice and is failing again. First failure occurred at about 25,000 miles under warranty, and it was "fixed" three times by the dealer before it was replaced.
Second failure occurred at about 50,000 miles. I called Ford Customer Relations Center (CRC) to complain, and they offered to sell me an extended powertrain warranty good for six years and 100,000 miles for $495 with a $100 deductible. I accepted the offer, but the dealer charged (in VA) $697.05. The car had a burning smell when I drove it, so I brought it back to the dealer and was charged $266.60 to fix that. Total cost should have been $495, so I called CRC again. They were not responsive. Tried to get my additional dollars back through my credit card, the better business bureau, the Fairfax County (VA) consumer protection agency, and the Washington Area NADA. Although each of these parties agreed that I had been overcharged, the dealer would not even talk to them. The NADA guys did get them to offer $266.60 (the cost of the second repair) if I signed something agreeing to never sue either the Dealer or Ford. I respectfully declined.
Transmission failed within a few hundred miles. I was in NJ, which was fortunate because I had the car towed to the dealer where I originally bought it. They replaced the transmission for free.
Transmission is failing again. Just found out that my warranty was only good for six years from the original date of purchase, so I'm out of luck.
CD4E Transmission is clearly not suitable for a 170 horsepower engine. I've heard that Mazda has a "hidden warranty" for the CD4E in their models that have it. Mazda may actually want to keep their customers.
Front brake rotors have been (expensively) replaced twice, and may be going again. Rotors don't even last as long as the pads!
The connections to the stereo speakers rattle loose and become disconnected. Right now one of the four speakers actually works, and it's not the radio - I can switch the outputs and still only the one speaker works. Sometimes, if I hit a bump just right, one of the other speakers will start working again for a while!
Other than the speakers, I haven't had the electrical problems that others have mentioned. I recently replaced the alternator and the battery, which was still original.
First set of tires lasted about 30,000 miles, which is about what I would have expected because they were performance tires. I'm still running the second set.
My family has bought over 10 new Fords in the last 20 years, but that is about to end. I had a heart to heart discussion with a (GM) assembly line worker that I'm friends with, and he's so disgusted with the reduction in quality he's seen as a result of cost cutting that he doesn't even get agitated when I tell him I'll be buying a Hyundai!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 31st October, 2004
I found this review while researching my own 1998 Ford Contour transmission failure. It had some sort of catastrophic internal failure two days ago at 102,000 miles. It had been shifting hard recently, but the local transmission specialist tested it and claimed it was fine. It's a darned good thing it didn't fail like this on the freeway or on a curvy road, as the front wheels locked.
I would have liked to find out exactly what your transmission problems were, so I can decide whether I should fix this car or junk it.