1998 Ford Contour consumer reviews

$14,460 starting MSRP
side view of 1998 Contour Ford
68% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.7
  • Interior design 3.3
  • Performance 3.6
  • Value for the money 3.6
  • Exterior styling 3.5
  • Reliability 3.6
Explore the 1998 Ford Contour

Good Commuter Car

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.



I bought a Contour LX with a 2.0 L 4 cylinder engine I bought several years ago as my first car. Since I bought it I've had to replace the battery twice, the alternator twice, have the transmission rebuilt, the timing belt replaced, the timing tensioner replaced, and the idle pulley replaced. And I still have to have some gaskets replaced because it is leaking oil. This car for the most part has gotten me to where I need to go, but when something goes wrong it has always been expensive to fix(expensive parts). It has more space for the driver than most cars I've driven which is important since I'm 6'4". The ride is a little bouncy, but comfortable. It's not a fast car, though I don't really care if it is or not as it is fast enough to change lanes without slowing down everyone behind you. The heater works great, the AC not so much. Not the nicest interior either, very bland and plasticy. It's possible that the previous owner didn't take care of the car and that's why I've had so many problems is a relatively short time. The only reason I haven't gotten a new car is because it has always been cheaper to fix it than buy a new car. I have spent too much money on repairing this car(not including basic maintenance like oil changes). After the last round of repairs I've started saving for a new car and I won't make the same mistake of not researching the heck out of every car I look at.


Great Overall Performance

The Ford Contour SVT might not be the fastest performance sedan, but it is certainly one of the best handling and most fun to drive. I believe they are great used car values, especially compared to the Audi A4 or BMW 3 series. I bought my 1998 model used with 54K miles on it - now has 90K miles, and has been very reliable. The only caveat is some parts are getting hard to find, as this was a limited production model. A little too much plastic in the interior, but the seats are comfortable, and it is very easy to drive.


98 Contour

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.


Great car

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.



i think in total, it will be good car, and i will show my friends to get this..............................................................................................................................................................


Good mechanicals betrayed by poor electric & trim

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.


great car for the money

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.


Like an old friend...

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.


Never buy a Ford Contour....PERIOD.

After the first week of having this car I had to get it repaired which totaled up to $450, luckly it was still under warranty. Well, as a month went by the transmission went bad. That totaled to $800. Then the AC didn't work at all and that totaled to $500 to get it repaired. Four months went by and I need another transmission, lol. I hated this car and no one should ever buy it. They should take every Ford Contour in the world and burn them. Only good thing I can say about this car is it only takes 27 dollars to fill it up. Now, I am happy that I sold this car and now I have a 2005 Buick Park Ave.