Pretty much bought it with a bad rear brake, which the caliper needed to be replaced. It just began to be one brake problem after another. Living in Michigan, the car did have quite a bit of rust underneath it.
Soon after that, I had the master brake line to the rear rust out. That was replaced and was a pain to fix. Then the other rear brake was sticking a little, and replaced that one as well.
Recently, about a couple of months ago, the front caliper had to be replaced due to it was sticking. Turned out that it was the mounting bracket, which corroded and pinched off the flex line. I had already bought a new caliper, so I just replaced it along with the flex line.
Another thing that needed to be fixed was the speed sensor, that was replaced about 6 months ago. This is a common problem, 2 friends who had a 3rd gen. Taurus had this problem.
One month ago I changed the water pump; it went out and figured I need one due to coolant leaking out thru the weep hole. It's a pain to get out yourself, since the space between the front of the engine to the sidewall is narrow.
Driver side mirror was taken off by a truck, replacing that was easy, just need a new mirror and some plastic pine trees for the door panel.
The only body damage was from a neighbor who didn't clear his window and crashed into my car, and made it move a good 10-15 feet; would've cost $1200, but that was worth just about as much as the car. It really was exterior damage and didn't affect the car; some plastic on the front bottom driver's side is cracked and discolored with the side directional smashed and out of commission.
ABS is out for some reason, might be due to brake work, and the engine light is on due to the catalytic converter (both aren't necessary to run the car, so I don't plan on fixing them)
So most of the problems were either due to wear or corrosion, not bad for being over 10 years old.
Even with the car and all its problems, it's a easy car to work on and is very reliable. Only thing I'd get for this car is a brake tool, otherwise you're going to be using needlenose pliers.
Performance: Really doesn't perform in quick turns, which is mostly due to its length. The length also is a factor when parking in a space. Speed is decent, acceleration is poor to fair. I was able to get it going over 100mph, but it was working in able to do so, but it will go 65 easy.
Since I mostly used it for highway travel, which I think this car is made for, will also do well in summer to winter weather. Will go through 12 inches of dry snow on gravel or pavement with some difficulty.
Comfort: Seats are soft, electric seats, and electric mirrors (mine never worked, but it's rare that they ever needed to be adjusted). If you're a tall person, you can easily fit in this car; I'm 5'10", and it seems like I have plenty of head and leg space.
It can easily hold 5 people, but 7 would be packing it. You also don't have to strain your neck looking around, but the two pillars that run either side of the car obstruct the view a little bit, especially at 4 way stops.
Economy: I get about 28mpg on the highway, not sure about city, but it's easy on the wallet. Depending on the condition, parts are pretty cheap in the brakes department and everything else is average and plentiful. The most I've spent was on the speed sensor, which ran me $500.
Other Comments: I used 10w-30 (depends on climate and type of driving) oil, any brand name worked good. If you plan on doing more city driving, I'd probably suggest Castrol GTX, but really for all around driving, synthetics work wonderful.
Overall: Great car, very reliable even if something goes wrong. After all the problems, I could still drive it with said problem (speed sensor problems to water heater to stuck brake), though I'd suggest against it and fix it ASAP, it still goes like a top.
I also became fond of the overall look of the car; it's very recognizable, and I like it.
Pros: Good price, mpg, fixability, reliability.
Cons: Not a performance car (big shocker), turn radius is quite large, heavy, quite low to the ground (which is a pain for changing oil), rusts pretty easily (especially the bottom of the car).