1998 Contour

Consumer Reviews

1998 Ford Contour

$765 - $3,521  MSRP Range
1998 Ford Contour

Review Score

3.6 out of 5 stars

3.6

24 Reviews
Score Breakdown
3.7 out of 5 stars Comfort
3.5 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
3.2 out of 5 stars Interior Design
3.2 out of 5 stars Reliability
3.5 out of 5 stars Performance
3.5 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

Have you driven the 1998 Ford Contour?

Write Your Review
Write Your Review

What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 10 of 24 reviews

4 out of 5 stars

98 Contour

by tatortabby from South Carolina on Thu Jun 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 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.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

3 out of 5 stars

Good mechanicals betrayed by poor electric & trim

by EricO from Los Angeles CA on Tue Jun 09 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 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.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
2 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

4 out of 5 stars

Great car!

by Matt from Niagara Falls, Ontario on Fri Jan 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 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.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

5 out of 5 stars

Like an old friend...

by Middle of the Road from Southwest, Missouri on Thu Nov 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 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.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

4 out of 5 stars

Good Commuter Car

by Small Change from Nashville, TN on Thu Mar 01 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 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.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

4 out of 5 stars

I love mine

by Ms Lesley from Mesa AZ. on Sat Jan 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 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.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Car!

by Car Enthusiast from Traverse City, MI on Thu Feb 06 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 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!

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

4 out of 5 stars

Great car

by Sarah from on Tue 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, 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.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

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?

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

5 out of 5 stars

great car for the money

by jb from buffalo ny on Tue Jan 20 2009

I loved this car. I was acctually going to give it to my 16 yr. old daughter to drive. Never gave me much trouble. I had 144,000 miles on it and it ran perfectly until someone rearended me @ about 40 miles and I was not hurt but the car was totaled.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Transporting family

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

5 out of 5 stars

GREAT SERVICE

by MEX BOYS TAXY from NJ on Wed Apr 30 2014

THIS CARS IS WHAT ALL PEOPLE LOOKING FOR GOOD CAR,LOWER MILLES AND GOOD PRICES AND THE BEST SERVICE EVRETHING U LOOKING FOR A CAR IS HERE

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Work

Does recommend this car!!

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

Your feedback has been sent to Cars.com

Next
1 2 3

Our Take on the 1998 Ford Contour

As I stood in the darkened shopping center parking lot waiting for the truck driver to load the red SVT Contour into his covered transporter for its final trip back to Detroit, I felt like a dad sending his kid off to college. Only the Contour wouldn't come back.

Ford agreed to an extended-use evaluation of the car because living with one reveals much more than a week-long test drive. Its tenure in our household had expired, and it was heading back to the motor city where it would be scrapped. That's right, a perfectly good automobile had come to the end of its line. This specific car, a hand-assembled prototype, built before actual production had begun, was not a "real" car and destined to... Read More