I have this car since June or July of 2002, and it was my first car I've owned. All-in-all, It's a pretty solid ride. and I plan on keeping it until (god forbid) it has a serious mechanical failure or is in a serious accident.
When I purchased it, the car made a loud noise while running, although it ran fine until I took it on the interstate several months later. I later found out that the timing gear had failed, and the loud noise was little pieces of the gear getting stripped off by the chain and flying into the oil pan. Not a good thing by any means and it cost $763.00 to fix. (almost $500 of that was labor costs. Since the car is front wheel drive it is apparently very difficult to work on.
Before taking the car to the shop I attempted to self-diagnose the problem and installed an entire new electrical system, (coil, starter computer, and spark plugs) which it was due for anyways.
The 85' tempo has modern lines and looks fine in a sea of bubble-shaped Ford Focuses, Toyota Corollas, and Honda Civics. If nobody told you, would swear that the 85' tempo was designed between 88' and 92' with it's modern looks.
The interior is very comfortable and modern looking. (at least for my car. with the silver dash. I saw a woodgrain dash at a junkyard that looked dated, but it may have been a 84 tempo). The heater works quite well and if anything it can be too hot at times, but you can always turn it down. Common for vehicles of this age, the A/C didn't work well on my car, and I have not looked into fixing it yet. I think it's just a matter of installing new coolant.
I had a problem with the driver's seat recliner failing. whenever I would brake hard or go up a hill the seat would recline. Not safe at all and I believe that they issued a recall in 86', but my car was never fixed. I got a replacement recliner mechanism at a junkyard for $5.00 and it was reasonably simple to install.
I was impressed with the online fan pages for Ford Tempo's (and Mercury Topaz) which is based off the tempo and interchangeable for many parts.
Although there is probably a group in existence for every kind of car, the people at "tempotopaz.com" have really shown how much love there is for this car. It's not the fastest thing on the road, but it's comfortable and a great first car.
My friend's give me crap about my car because it's a ford tempo. It's engine is no V6, and not terribly powerful, but it does the job getting from point A to Point B. The car comfortable and easily seats four adults. Gas Mileage is (as I have calculated it) 25MPG around town.
If you want a flashy car, go buy Honda Accord and some body-kits.
But if you're psychologically secure and don't need to justify yourself with your vehicle, or you want comfortable, economical, and reliable basic transportation, ya gotta go Tempo.