Model Details

1998 Ford Contour Consumer Reviews

3.5
Average based on 21 reviews
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability
1-10 of 21 reviews

Good mechanicals betrayed by poor electric & trim

by from Los Angeles CA on June 9, 2009

My contour is a GL model with the Sport handling package and optional features like sunroof and cruise control. I got it used as a lease return, and the previous owner maxed it out on optional equipme...
My contour is a GL model with the Sport handling package and optional features like sunroof and cruise control. I got it used as a lease return, and the previous owner maxed it out on optional equipment, so this car is nearer the SE trim level than the GL (which wasn't even officially available in 2008!). This Ford has goods and bads, like many American cars: mine has a strong, reliable 2.0 liter engine, tight manual transmission and very controlled handling. However, there have been many minor electrical problems that required replacement parts, the sunroof assembly was replaced twice, and body trim seems to strip off or break away after 6+ years. The car is a lot of fun to drive in southern California, handling curves easily and having excellent steering. On steep climbs the 2.0L engine doesn't have the oomph to make it in top gear but has a nicely tuned transmission gearing for smooth shifting and precise speed control. Seating is adequate for 2 adults and 2 kids but cramped for 4 big ones. Trunk space is okay but not on the level of a Honda Accord, for example. Seats are comfortable but not grippy unless you spring for the racy SVT model. The sunroof is bound to break at some point, with one of the following problems: the motor will burn out or strip the gear, the track glides will freeze and the mechanism will jam in place, or (if it's old enough) the glass weatherstrip seals will lose their glue and come undone with a loud whistling noise if you drive over 50mph. The car is also famous for its blinking airbag warning lamp, which usually indicates a wiring short in one of the seat or door sensors. Nobody gets these fixed as it's an expensive electrical repair. So I like my car because it handles great and has a lot of pep for its size, but dislike the cheap trim and iffy electrics that make it repair-prone.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

98 Contour

by from South Carolina on June 16, 2011

I sold my 98 Contour this week after 12 years of ownership and 190,000 miles. It never left me stranded or require engine/transmission/ac work. I inherited a newer, low mileage vehicle or I would stil...
I sold my 98 Contour this week after 12 years of ownership and 190,000 miles. It never left me stranded or require engine/transmission/ac work. I inherited a newer, low mileage vehicle or I would still be driving it. It routinely gave 30+ mpg highway and had the coldest ac of the dozen cars I have owned. Time was catching up with it and there were small annoyances (small leak in trunk, broken heater vent, one window only went down a few inches, hum in one speaker, lost several hub caps). Had an alignment 6 months ago and the technician said there was a surprising lack of wear on the front suspension.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

98 SE SPORT 5SPD - VERY LOVELY CAR.

by from SOCAL, CA on April 6, 2007

CAR HAS A SPORTY FEEL TO IT, HANDLING IS ABOVE AVERAGE FOR CAR THAT RESEMBLES A JELLY BEAN...BUT THAT CAR IS GREAT...I HAVE THE V6 IN IT AND IT IS VERY IMPRESSIVE, LOVES TO REV AND HAS ALOT OF TORQUE,...
CAR HAS A SPORTY FEEL TO IT, HANDLING IS ABOVE AVERAGE FOR CAR THAT RESEMBLES A JELLY BEAN...BUT THAT CAR IS GREAT...I HAVE THE V6 IN IT AND IT IS VERY IMPRESSIVE, LOVES TO REV AND HAS ALOT OF TORQUE, SO IT IS DEFINATLY NOT SLOW. QUALITY OF THE INTERIOR MATERIALS ARE OBVIOUSLY SUB-PAR, BUT IF CAN GET PASSED THAT, THE CAR IS A GREAT, HIGHLY RECOMEND IT.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

I love mine

by from Mesa AZ. on January 13, 2007

Having comfort for long travel, Power to handle any and all the mountain passes in the northern and southern parts of Az., New Mexico, Texas and Calf.. The fuel miliage twice reached 37 mpg. Plenty o...
Having comfort for long travel, Power to handle any and all the mountain passes in the northern and southern parts of Az., New Mexico, Texas and Calf.. The fuel miliage twice reached 37 mpg. Plenty of room for travel for the three of us. Air conditioning miliage was a respectable 33 - 35. I have never gotten less that 31 mpg around town, between East Mesa and Pheonix. Handling is verrryy good. I am 65 and love the size. This is the 1st Ford since my Mustang. I like it better that my Sentra.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Great car!

by from Niagara Falls, Ontario on January 24, 2014

I have read a lot of negative reviews of this car but the bottom line is, it doesn't matter what kind of car you buy, if it's not taken care of, it will break. People keep saying "I had to spend XXX d...
I have read a lot of negative reviews of this car but the bottom line is, it doesn't matter what kind of car you buy, if it's not taken care of, it will break. People keep saying "I had to spend XXX dollars to get this fixed, and XXX to get that fixed, DON'T BUY". Car parts wear out. It's like taxes, you can't avoid it. Sometimes you roll the dice on a car and you lose. I've had my Contour for a while now and besides a bit of rust (which I've repaired myself) I haven't had any major problems with it. If you think there is a magic car out there that you can buy and not spend ANY money on it other than gas, let me know what it is. 4/5 for this car. The interior/exterior style isn't the greatest, but it drives nice and is decent on gas.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Excellent Car!

by from Traverse City, MI on February 6, 2014

I have had my 1999 SVT Contour for about 2 years now and purchased it with 71,xxx miles now im at 110,xxx and this thing has been great! Being a car enthusiast i don't mind doing some of the maintenan...
I have had my 1999 SVT Contour for about 2 years now and purchased it with 71,xxx miles now im at 110,xxx and this thing has been great! Being a car enthusiast i don't mind doing some of the maintenance this car requires IE: UMI cleaning, sunroof gear exc. Even after racking 40k miles on this car ive never had it break down, or give me any trouble mechanically. Now of course ive had to put money into it but its a 15 year old car, so struts wheel bearings, tie rods are always a given and its not the cars fault. MPG usually sits around 22 city and 27 highway, the car is an absolute BLAST to drive! Handles like its on rails and is pretty quick and will put a smile on my face every time i drive it. Overall i love the car and will keep driving it until it becomes a decently high mileage car!
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Good Commuter Car

by from Nashville, TN on March 1, 2012

I've owned my 1998 LX 4D Sedan Contour since 2010, like it a lot. It gets good mileage, seats are comfortable, ample trunk space, nice body, not a smooth ride like a sedan, but doesn't jostle at every...
I've owned my 1998 LX 4D Sedan Contour since 2010, like it a lot. It gets good mileage, seats are comfortable, ample trunk space, nice body, not a smooth ride like a sedan, but doesn't jostle at every bump in the road either. It has less than 95K miles. Only issues I have are the check engine light is on all the time (I've had it checked many times w/no solution), stalls sometimes while crossing intersections, and the gas gauge doesn't work. However, I did find out it will run out of gas at approximately 315 miles. It's a good car, I like it and hope to drive it until I can't afford to repair it anymore. My current costs since owning it are oil changes, insurance, and fuel. Not bad.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Like an old friend...

by from Southwest, Missouri on November 22, 2007

I bought my 1998 Contour in '99. It had previously been a program car and had 20,000 +/- miles on it. I have used it for everyday travel all these years with very little trouble. I had a few minor rep...
I bought my 1998 Contour in '99. It had previously been a program car and had 20,000 +/- miles on it. I have used it for everyday travel all these years with very little trouble. I had a few minor repairs in the beginning but all were covered under the standard warranty. Other than the regular maintenance that comes with owning a car (oil/fluid changes, brakes, belts, ect.) this vehicle has been headache free. It now has well over 100,000 miles and still drives as well as it ever did. The only complaint i have about it is the engine light can be annoying. After having the light come on and taking it to the shop to get checked out, i was relieved to find it was only a sensor in the tailpipe. However, the sensors are expensive (over $100) and have little guarantee - 60-90 days. After replacing it twice in one year, i decided it wasn't worth continuing to try to correct. Basically, i've got used to seeing the engine light on and periodically have it checked for "codes". Luckily, no other real problems have been found. This is definately not a fancy car with bells and whistles but has everything i've ever needed and more. It is also very budget friendly and realistic for the average person. Its never left me stranded or been towed. There is no doubt that keeping good maintenance on any vehicle will make it last longer and i am sure that may be the case here as well. However, I'm afraid to sell it. I doubt i drive another like it again.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Bad car

by from Washington, DC on December 21, 2012

I bought a 1998 Contour with less than 100k miles on it. About a year after owning it with no problems, things started to break. The radio stopped working, the dash board intermittently failed, then o...
I bought a 1998 Contour with less than 100k miles on it. About a year after owning it with no problems, things started to break. The radio stopped working, the dash board intermittently failed, then of course the check engine light was on constantly. Not to mention I had to replace water pump, alternator and a leaky brake cylinder. Replacing the exhaust system was sort of expected since that was because of how old the car was, not really based on the number of miles of use on it. What ultimately ruined the car (with just over 100k on it) is a spark plug was arcing to another cylinder (is the way I understood it from my mechanic's explanation) making the car impossible to drive. I am not sure it was even repairable but by this time I was sick of repairing it so I didn't even attempt to.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does not recommend this car

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Great car

by from on May 31, 2011

I bought a '98 Contour about a year ago, and I love it. We've had a few problems out of it (speed sensor went out, airbag light and check engine light are on - mine has been modified to run on CNG, an...
I bought a '98 Contour about a year ago, and I love it. We've had a few problems out of it (speed sensor went out, airbag light and check engine light are on - mine has been modified to run on CNG, and the engine light has something to do with that, so it's a little more complicated to fix than on a normal Contour), but nothing too big or too difficult to fix. I like the small size of it; it's more comfortable to me than the larger vehicles I've driven (I'm a fairly small person, but my friends have driven it and had no problems with the size, either). I learned to drive in a '05 Camry, and I was surprised to find that I prefer the way the Contour handles. The steering and gas aren't stiff, but they certainly aren't as touchy as most newer cars; it feels safer and easier to control to me. It's affordable and also gets fairly good gas mileage; it's very comfortable and easy to drive. There's nothing I don't like about this car. The people I bought it off of had no problems and really liked it as well, and I know someone else who had one and also liked theirs. I'd definitely recommend it to someone, especially someone just learning to drive or looking for something affordable.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?