Mysterious leaks from under the dash when it rains.
Fit and finish is not the greatest, but this I've come to expect from any American manufacturer.
Wheel bearings in back tires went bad at 45,000 miles. Was covered under recall though...whew!
Brakes have squeaked badly from the very first day I bought the car. Continue to do so now.
Paint finish on passenger side door frame seems to be fading. Black turning gray.
Had a problem with battery leaking acid onto support platform underneath. Had to get various hoses underneath replaced and new battery due to acid leakage.
Rubber around windshield washers at top of hood hardened and are now starting to crumble away.
Rubber at base of antenna hardened and crumbled away exposing spring to the elements (it's now rusty...I'll have to replace the antenna soon).
All four doors make HORRIBLE "wrenching" sounds when opened and closed. Friends think this is highly amusing.
One of my fuses recently went... the one that controls the power locks and remote locking key fob. Interestingly enough, the fuse is located on the BACK of the fusebox. I laughed out loud at that one.
The driver side rear power window sometimes goes up... and sometimes doesn't. Although lately it's been playing nice with me.
The switch that controls the speed of the air conditioning fan is starting to go...it's hard to turn smoothly, and is rubbing the black paint behind it off.
The driver side seat has a larger gap between the back cushion and the seat cushion. You can see straight through it to the rear passenger floor. Not so on the passenger side. Weird.
The shocks or struts are starting to go, and the car makes some strange noises when turning. Especially to the right.
The radio turns off and on by itself. You have to push on the front control panel to get it to come back on. The lights behind the preset numbers don't always work.
The lights behind the LED odometer have an uneven appearance... some dark splotches. You'd have to see it to believe it. Also very weird.
The power train on this car, however, is top notch. The five speed manual transmission shifts effortlessly, and accelerates nicely.
The handling is delightful. Steering is precise and quick, and the turning radius is great!
I average 25-30 mpg. Not bad.
The seats are comfortable and bolster your back nicely.
There's plenty of headroom and overall room for rear passengers.
The trunk has lots of space.
Actually a decent car where none of the aforementioned problems have overwhelmed me at one time. I bought this car used from a local Ford dealer in the summer of 2001...I had no idea it was a first model year. I learned after buying the car was owned by a single mother who traded in the car after completing MASSIVE recall work. The printout of recall work is literally as long as my body (I'm six feet tall). As of right now, I'm crossing my fingers till I've got the car paid off in July of 2006 (7 months). As I mentioned before, most of the problems attributed to this car haven't prevented me from using it as a daily driver, but scare the hell out of me. When I do trade it in, you better believe it won't be on another Ford product (not even a Mustang or Ford pickup... the only two vehicles I'm convinced Ford builds well). I'd warn away any prospective buyers... even on the 2005, 2006 models (to which Consumer Reports has finally awarded a "good quality" rating).
Note: Review updated in January 2008.