Reliable, sensible, economical and with basic creature comforts; BUY IT if you are on a budget :-)
Replaced timing belt and water pump as they were both original.
Just before purchased, dealer replaced brakes with Bendix pads; tires with new BF-Goodrich T/A tires; Autolite Platinum plugs; Motorcraft wires.
All the above are considered normal wear and tear, and to be expected for age and mileage of car.
I purchased this car 2 months ago from a used car dealer for $2600, as I needed something more economical than my 1998 Crown Victoria with 160K, which I still have.
HONESTLY, it is hard to believe that this is a 10 year old car with 94K miles on it. It feels very solid, sounds tight, and the A/C freezes me into the arctic zone.
I was on limited funds and although I wanted a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic, these cars hold their value and were way out of my price range.
This 1997 Escort seems more than just a compromise. It has some features you would not expect in an entry level compact, such as remote entry, lighted trunk with pass through or split fold rear seats, 12v dc plug, ice-cold AC, tape deck (which I use simply for the adapter to play XM or the iPod).
I researched many small cars and decided on the Ford Escort. Many people who don't know Fords, or who do not realize that '91 and up Escorts are designed by Mazda, and are above average American cars, told me I should not buy one. I am glad I did not listen.
Ford redesigned the Escort in 1997, and the result was this chassis based on the older Mazda Protege design with a smooth running 2.0L SPFI engine. I bought a 5 speed, as this makes the car more fun to drive, gives more low-end torque, and seemingly does not lumber and labor hunting gears like the automatic version of these cars.
I am very impressed at the smooth ride, swift and agile handling, and solidness of this car. In fact, the interior feels as solid as its Mazda cousin, and all the controls are laid out like any Mazda, Toyota, or Nissan, most notably the lights and wipers on the steering column.
This car makes smart use out of its small space. I like the look of the oval shaped pod containing the A/C and stereo tape deck. This is a design taken from the Ford Taurus and makes the dash look more ergonomic. I simply use the tape deck to play my XM sat. radio or my IPod through. Not to mention, I get 37 MPG on the highway and 33 in the city.
I have heard people mention problems with the rear springs and these look recently new. NO!!, this is not a car I would go 75 or 80 down the highway in, or barreling down a washboard road, but 65 on the highway and conservative in the city in this car is fine with me. The car does fine in all kinds of traffic conditions, and I expect with basic maintenance and 4K mile oil changes, as well as sensible driving, this car will give me years of reliable service.
Only pet-peeve is hey FORD, give us a tachometer instead of a shift arrow; I mean the wiring is there if that shift arrow is there, so spare us another $1 for the tach.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th July, 2007