Just had to add my two cents here... I drive a 2002 Zx2 - purchased new, just turned it over to 200,000 miles. My son also drives a Zx2, his is a 2000 and has a little over 249,000 miles on it. No major problems with either car other than regular maintenance and replacement parts that comes with the age and mileage. They have been great little cars!
My wife and I have a 2002 ZX2 automatic, 100,000 miles. Keeping up maintenance on it has improved performance on it. Had the timing belt changed recently, transmission had been slipping going into second gear. The serpentine belt came off several time going too fast through puddles when it had been raining hard, had the tensioner replaced and haven't had that happen again.
Recently transmission has been slipping again and the idle is a lot rougher. I hadn't noticed the rough idle in a long time, since I did a tune-up last fall, and also had replaced the vacuum tube connection that goes to the back of the engine coming from the PCV valve on the exhaust; it had burned through for the second time, had it replaced this time with a thicker piece of tube.
So I don't know if I am having a transmission problem because of the slipping into 2nd gear, or what? Or maybe the timing belt slips and has to be readjusted or something like that? If I have a choice in the future, I'll probably choose a more reliable car like Toyota or Honda.
1999 ZX2 (Hot) Sport. I never could figure out what the Hot Means..
Anyway, I bought this car brand new late in 1998 for my oldest daughter when she was in high school. She used it for 2 years and then took it to college. The car spent 4 years there, then it was handed off to my 2nd daughter for 4 more college years.
This is the greatest car I ever had. I do all the work on it. Just a few minor things replaced as should be expected.
It has 90,000 miles on it now and I got the car back. So now I am going to replace motor mounts, repaint, as the girls have have put some battle scars on it. I had new timing belt put on, new alternator, battery.
This is an automatic, and it's fast and fun to drive. I don't want to sell is as I could never buy one in this shape again. I am 57 yrs old and will drive it until it or me dies. Whichever comes first..
These ZX2s can either be a great car, or a total crap.
I bought one new in 2001. Yes, its had a few problems, but nothing major over the years. Probably the most expensive item was having to replace the timing belt and water pump at 100,000 miles. I don't consider things like bad timing belts, brakes, exhausts and those parts as being signs of a crappy car. Those parts go bad overtime on any and every car.
Now, my niece has a 1999 ZX2. We bought it used for her around a year ago. This car has been a big hassle from the start. Very nice looking, clean car. But from day one things have broken on it. Alternator, starter - OK I can accept those. As I said earlier those wear out in time on any car. But also transmission problems out the ass. The transmission slipped for the longest time, nobody could find out what was wrong. Finally it went bad all together. So we go out and find a tranny out of a wrecked zx2, with only 30,000 miles on it. Put it in, it worked for 2 weeks and went bad as well. Luckily we got our money back, and are now debating if we should try another used one or a remanufactured one.
Personally, before I would buy one of these cars used I would have it inspected very closely and check into the history of the car. If you get a good one you will be satisfied, if you get one of the bad ones it will be nothing but a headache.
I have a 2003 Ford ZX2 with automatic transmission that I purchased as a new vehicle. I have had the normal repair and maintencance throughout the years. However, at 72,000 miles the transmission needs to be replaced at a cost of $4,500.00. The transmission appears to be a problem with this model.
I purchased my 1999 ZX2 with a manual transmission brand new in December 1998. It now has almost 156,000 miles on it and all I have ever done to the car is routine maintenance, oil changes, tune-ups, brakes, belts, battery, etc. It isn't tricked out and the only thing I added to it was a new CD player, speakers, and Sirius radio. No, it's not a luxury vehicle and is quite noisy, but considering what I paid for it this is expected. It is an economical compact car that has never left me stranded once. I am going to keep on driving it, and when I am ready to purchase another car, it will be a FORD.
I had a 99 ZX2 I bought in Sept 09 with 119k miles on it for $1400.
I did notice the tranny slipping a little when shifting between 1st and 2nd, but that usually only happened in a lot of stop and go traffic, and if I had been driving it at 70mph or so. If I would drive at 60mph, it would give me no problems.
I put 10k miles on it, and someone rear ended me and totaled it out. The insurance company gave me almost 3G's for it. It wasn't a bad investment. I bought it back for $260, and now have to replace one tail light and the bumper cover and insure it with just liability. My brother is going to drive it back and forth to school. I was getting 35mpg in the couple months I drove it.
I just purchased another ZX2, only it's a 01 with 90k miles for $2000. They are both auto trans. This one seems to have the same tranny issue when I am running it hard. They both had the vibration problem when sitting at the stop sign in drive. Maybe I will try changing the motor mounts.
I will continue driving this one until something happens to it. I replaced the plugs, wires, filters, and belt, and it seems to be running fine. It kind of smells like a cheap motel from the person I bought it off, but besides that it makes a great work car. I drive 100+ miles a day to work and back, and I would rather put them on the disposable Escorts rather than my Jeep or Silverado.
I think they are good cars if you take care of them. Can't beat the gas mileage.
My only words of advice are don't pay to much for one. I found both of mine on craigslist in the stl location. If you are patient, there is always going to be someone that is selling one for cheap.