"I didn't pay much for this car and it gets consistently over 30 MPG mixed city/highway, usually 28 mpg or higher with no highway miles. Easy to drive, easy to park, high fun factor (I have the 5-speed manual, with spoiler, power sunroof). It's reliable and has never left me stranded, but over the years it's needed standard maintenance and repairs. Front wheel bearing went bad two or three times, and the rear brake has a tendency to get tight and need adjustment -- otherwise just normal maintenance (brakes, tires, exhaust, tuneup, oil changes, etc.). It's a great little car if you don't need luxury. The older it gets, the more squeeks and rattles it has, and the ride is somewhat noisy and rough (sporty). Two things that annoy me are 1) if the driver's window is down, water pours in from the roof (if it's wet from the rain) or when you use the windshield washers, and 2) the seats are uncomfortable (very bad lumbar support and no center armrest). I use a couple of pillows in the car: a small one for my lower back and bigger one stuffed between the seats to rest my elbow on. But other than those minor issues, I love the economy and fun factor of this car."
"Fun to drive, a "driver's car". Responsive, powerful acceleration, loud cabin noise from engine - deliberate design feature for sportiness. Economical to fix compared to imports and larger vehicles, as Ford is domestic and Escort a top selling car, so parts are reasonable and gettable. Punishing on long road trips - no lumbar support in bucket seats - at least I can't tell. A/C and heat powerful with strong blower. Has had numerous tie rod ends replaced, and twice have replaced struts and brake pads, in 13years. Very surefooted and stable in treacherous northern Ohio winters, if you get proper touring all season tires as your tire specialist advises. TigerPaws were atrocious - horrible hydroplaning and spinout effect accelerating from stops."
"I have drivin this car from Montana to Seattle at least 12 times and from Seattle to Las Vegas 2 Times and from Washington to Oregon at least 25 times!!!! This car will never die it just keeps going it's amazing!!! The only problem I have ever had with it was I needed to get a new battery and new breaks but I did that in 2012 so that's normal though this car is a TROOPER"
Pros: "Great price and feul economy. Great in snow."
Cons: "VERY compact."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have had this car for 6 years. I bought it with 33,000 miles on it and now it has about 101,000 miles on it. It has held up fantastic and gets excellent gas mileage. Probably not the best family car and definitely hard to fit adult passengers in the back seat. However, this little car has held up exceptionally. I will always remember my first car fondly :)"
"This car is a beast. With more torque than horsepower it has no difficulty getting off of the line, thanks to its DOHC 2.0L aluminum block engine. For an affordable compact car, this thing has a bit of sport to it. It handles well and can accelerate better than any other car in it's class of the same era.
I've put 110,000 miles on this car in the past six years and have never had a major malfunction or breakdown. The only service that this car has required, aside from regular oil changes and new air filters, are a handful of normal wear and tear issues such as worn out ball joints.
The MPG is unbelievable. Even at 238,000 miles, I get 32-37 MPG depending upon how I drive.
It's small, but it can carry a load. It fits four grown adults, and I've even towed a Ford F-150 uphill with this car. The back seat appears small, but has exceptional amounts of legroom. People over six feet have no problem in the back.
You can pick this car up for less than $3000."