Overall, I would rate this car fair to good
1. Headlamp covers deteriorating cause dim headlamp brilliance.
2. Plastic bumper is cracking with age and something will have to be done.
3. There is no serious protection such as a steel inner bumper within the plastic bumper. It is just for show.
4. The heater/AC/Vent blower motor has failed. It began it's difficulty by venting to another location while accelerating and returning to normal operation while decelerating. It died last night while on a long trip leaving me hot and using the windows for ventilation.
5. The service departments at various Ford Dealerships cannot find any information about the blower motor, how it works, and how to remove, replace and repair it, within their computer manuals or parts manuals.
6. The turn signal light covers fall off with age.
7. The rubber body trim decays and falls off with age.
8. The struts fail quite quickly.
9. The starter motor fails within 50,000 miles on the two Tempos I have owned. Starter motors should be rebuilt by a reputable electric motor specialist and not bought at a parts store or from the Ford Parts counter. The starter motors will last much longer if a specialist rebuilds it as compared to the original unit's construction and/or after-market products or after-market rebuilt products.
10. The automatic seat-belts break easily. Mine ran into the visor that had been left covering the driver window and that was the end of it working. The Ford mechanics scratched their heads when I asked them to repair it.
11. It has no place to put drinks in the interior.
12. Motor mounts and transmission mounts need replaced about every 2 years or 35,000 miles. This is one reason why some of these other people's comments say they have a lot of vibration.
13. As with most vehicles since the 1970's, there are not enough grease points on the suspension and drive train. This causes many movable parts to wear out before their time. It may possibly be a Ford engineering method of making you buy a new car or replace parts more often. Maybe not.
The good stuff about the car:
1. If you keep the spark plug wires changed every 40,000 miles, you will get good gas mileage. I get almost 30 mph highway.
2. It is easy to drive as long as you keep good struts and perform regular suspension maintenance.
3. It has no bad blind spots like most other little cars I have had experience with.
4. It is easy to work on the major components of the vehicle (As long as you do it yourself.) but many of the electronic parts are quick failing and difficult to trace, diagnose and repair. Many Ford dealerships have to put in and charge for extra time for trying to learn how to work on these problems. They also appear to have poor schematics and diagrams available or have difficulties translating them into actual practice to save money for you on repairs. (Unfortunately another problem not yet solved.)
5. The seats are comfortable enough, but the headrest is in the wrong position to be an effective "headrest". It will possibly save your neck in an accident, but will not make the seat comfortable while driving. Ford still seems to have not solved this problem on any vehicles.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th August, 2006