The escort zx2 is a great disposable car. For about 15,000 loaded, you get an acceptably reliable and pretty good looking transportation.
Here is my list of complaints, all of which add up to minor problems with a pretty cheap car.
1) Doesn't hold resale value.
I bought the car to keep for four or five years, and it's a good thing that I did not need to get rid of it because I have owed more than the car was worth until this month according to Kelly blue book.
2) The rear drum brakes are of poor design.
I live in Ohio where we admittedly use a lot of salt. The rear drum actuator arms on both sides have repeatedly rusted beyond usability. I have had to remove them, disassemble them, and clean all of the rust off with a wire brush twice. I coated them with an anti corrosion coating, but they just rusted up again. This causes the brakes to hang up when you use the parking brake. It gets progressively worse. I told the local dealer about it and they just offered to "clean and adjust" the rear brakes for $55. I called Ford customer service who promised to "look into it with the dealer" and give me a call back. They never did.
3) There is only one tire that fits those wheels. I have the cast aluminum wheels and there is only one Goodyear tire that matches the original size. Firestone, Bridgestone, and Goodrich don't even make one the last time I bought a set. 88,000 miles on two sets of tires is nothing to complain about though.
4) The tape player broke at about 40,000 miles (1.5 yrs old.) No help from Ford on that one despite the age of the car and my Ford Extended Service Program.
5) Other parts- one thermostat.
- one alternator (under ESP warr)
- rear wheel bearing is being replaced tomorrow (2/2/03)
- one set tires.
- one full set of front and rear brake pads/ shoes.
- set of spark plugs (for good measure)
- the heater switch was replaced under warranty. The dash rattled slightly after that.
- synthetic oil every 5,000 miles give or take.
- a couple of air filters.
- a fuel pump under warranty.
- The hood latch release cable has come apart and is going to be replaced.
Over the course of about 90,000 miles, I really can't complain.
I would buy the car again, but if you know which end of the wrench to hold, don't bother with Ford's ESP. That wasn't worth it.