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1995 Ford Contour Sedan

4dr Sedan GL

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1995 Ford Contour for Sale

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  • Average Retail is not available
  • $13,310 original MSRP

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Printable Version

1995 Ford Contour Sedan

Printable Version

1995 Ford Contour Sedan

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1995 Ford Contour

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The idea of a "would car" - a vehicle designed to serve markets from Detroit to Dublin - isn't new. Most major carmakers have tried their hand at this game at one time or another. And, to varying degrees, most have failed.

But with consumer needs, tastes and concerns becoming increasingly uniform worldwide, the idea makes more sense now than ever before.

Safety, fuel efficiency and environmentally clean operation are just as compelling in other major world markets as they are here. And American auto preferences in ride, handling and size are much closer to European standards than at any time in the past.

That's the backdrop for the Ford Contour, an all-new car that already has a solid track record in Europe, and is now rolling into U.S. showrooms.

The North American version has had a number of subtle adjustments to its exterior and suspension, but it's fundamentally the same car - a smaller midsize entry that's about the same size as a Honda Accord or Mazda 626.

The Contour and its Mercury cousin, the Mystique, are nominal replacements for the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz. We say nominal, because they're more expensive and more modern - much better qualified to compete directly with popular Japanese cars such as the Accord, 626, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.

Walkaround

Proportion is the key element in any successful design, and it's one of the Contour's strengths. Like the Accord, the relationship of the Contour's wheelbase to its overall length is very tidy - there's not much bodywork extending beyond the front and rear wheels.

The same applies to the relationship between the Contour's height and its width, which conspire to give it a low, aggressive appearance.

In addition to a modern, purposeful appearance, these relationships also lend themselves to good handling traits. The wheelbase-to-length ratio keeps more of the car's mass centered between the axles, and the height-to-width match-up helps to keep the center of gravity relatively low.

The styling itself is conservative, but the front-end treatment does lend a rakish touch, reminiscent of the Ford Probe.

This exceptionally rigid unibody design bolsters handling and occupant protection in crashes. The roof pillar system, in particular, is extra sturdy, and the side-impact protection system meets '97 federal standards. Dual airbags are standard.

Contours are available in three models: the base GL, the luxurious LX and the sporty SE. There are two engines - a standard 125-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and a superb 170-hp 2.5-liter Duratec V6 - and two transmissions - a 5-speed manual, standard for all models, and a 4-speed automatic.

Like the car, both engines are all new and the latest in Ford's advanced engine-control technology. So are both transmissions.

Beyond its remarkable performance, a particularly appealing feature of the new Duratec V6 engine is its maintenance schedule. Aside from oil changes, it requires no maintenance for the first 100,000 miles.

Our test car was an SE with the V6 5-speed manual transmission, a combination that brings out the Contour's best qualities. But it's also a combination that will probably account for no more than 10 percent of Contour sales, according to Ford forecasts. The bulk of the sales is expected to go to 4-cylinder GLs with automatic transmissions.

Interior Features

Regardless of model, the Contour is very much a driver's car in the European tradition, and the interior reinforces its character. There's a snug, intimate feeling to this car - it's more sports car than family sedan.

A big part of this feeling comes from the bucket front seats, which have pronounced thigh and torso bolsters to keep the driver and front-seat passenger from rattling around during hard cornering.

In addition to being supportive, the front seats provide a good range of adjustability and excellent comfort. We think they wouldn't be much out of place in a BMW.

The Contour's control layout is generally handy, and we liked some of the small touches - cupholders that pop out of the center console and a small coin bin integrated into the top of the dashboard.

However, from a cosmetic point of view the design of the dashboard isn't very successful. Although its sweeping curves are stylish, it's composed of too many smaller pieces and is busy looking.

Backseat space is the Con-tour's weakest point. Although this car is Accord-sized, its rear-seat legroom is more consistent with the smaller Ford Escort. Here's one area, perhaps, where European standards still don't translate to the U.S. market.

Driving Impressions

The Contour may not be the most agile sedan in its class - but it's hard to think of one that's quicker on its Feet. Few small sedans provide a stronger sense of control, the rare feeling that the car is an extension of the driver's will.

The Contour's sophisticated suspension lends a strong sense of authority and response, something that's enhanced by its quick, precise steering.

This was particularly true of our SE test car, but it also applies to the basic GL. These cars are the best athletes in their class, a class that includes several very good players.

Besides the high fun-to-drive factor, nimble handling can be viewed as an active safety feature, giving you a chance to avoid trying out your car's passive safety equipment.

There is a small price for this kind of handling and control. The Contour's ride quality is firm in the GL, firmer in the SE. There's enough compliance to manage small irregularities in the paving without harshness, but we think some may find it a little stiff in the knees.

Still, with its superior response, we prefer the Contour approach. If a soft ride is the objective, a Camry might be better.

The Contour's basic 4-cylinder engine provides adequate performance even with an automatic transmission, as well as good fuel economy. However, it's no better than average compared with the basic 4-cylinder engines offered by the competition.

The Duratec V6 is an altogether different story: This one really sizzles. It's quiet and composed when you're cruising, but its response in stoplight getaways and backroad passing is little short of electrifyin'.

You can buy bigger V6 engines - usually in bigger cars - with more power. But in a 2800-lb. sedan, the new Ford V6 delivers acceleration that's equal to just about anything in the midsize class.

Braking performance in our test car, which included anti-lock brakes (ABS), was positive and powerful. However, we were disappointed that ABS isn't standard equipment in all models.

Summary

Although it's more expensive than the old Tempo, the Con-tour is attractively priced compared with its competition. And it's also an infinitely better car.

Including destination charges, the GL starts at under $14,000, but that gets you a pretty spartan car. A few options will make it more livable and still keep the price at the low end of the midsize spectrum.

LX prices start at $14,490, and the base price for the SE, which includes the V6 engine, is $16,190. If you check every box on the option list, you can boost the price of a new Con-tour past $18,000. But even then you'd be bucks ahead versus comparably equipped competing models.

It's hard to understand why Ford limited the Contour's rear-seat space as it did. That drawback aside, though, this is a nifty little sedan that's as fun to drive as anything in its class. It may be the best Ford car yet.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$13,805
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Specifications As Tested
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Price as tested (MSRP)
$18,065
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Printable Version

1995 Ford Contour Sedan

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
4-Wheel Disc Brakes Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std
Printable Version

1995 Ford Contour Sedan

Ford Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. See dealer for details.. See dealer for details. Rental Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility Model Years 2010-2015 with less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1995 Ford Contour Sedan

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