It's hard for me to believe that Ford can build a car like this. I liked my Ford Probe, but wasn't seriously impressed with it. I decided it was time for a change. I test drove several cars before this one, including a '98 BMW 328i, '99 Honda Accord, '98 Honda Prelude SH, and a '99 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6. The handling and performance of the Contour SVT blew them out of the water.
I reviewed several magazines which compared this car to others in its class of the same year. It was ranked in the top 3 in every single one of them.
This car has an excellent 0 - 60 and 60 - 0. I think, officially, it hits 0 - 60 in about 6.5 seconds.
It sticks to the road extremely well. I've taken curves on the highway where the recommended speeds are 40 or below, at over 80 without any screeching of the tires.
It has excellent pick up at any speed and in any gear. Traveling 80 MPH and then flooring it will pull you back into your seat.
I'm ashamed, but somewhat proud to say that I've had this car up to 140 MPH. The top speed is supposed to be 146, but at the rate I was going, I think it could have surpassed that.
I think it is a way under valued car. I bought my Contour SVT for 12,500 with 39,000 miles and a 100,000 mile extended warranty, which covers everything except oil changes. I'll admit, I got a steal because the Blue Book is around 13,000 - 16,000 for my year.
I'm majorly impressed with its performance for the money. I've taken it up against standard V6 Firebirds, Camaros and Mustangs. All are left in the dust. I'm not the kind of person that likes to street race, but I do think it is fun, blowing away suped up rice rockets, like Civics, Eclipses and Integras.