First introduced in order to replace the Tempo in Ford’s production lineup, the Contour also took the place of the Topaz in the Mercury stable. The Contour is a compact car based on Ford’s European Mondeo, developed to compete against models from companies in Europe and Japan. For the 1995 model year, Contour is offered in three distinct versions: GL (base), LX (luxury), and SE (sport). The compact design of the Contour is considered by many to be too small to interest the American buyer’s market, especially when compared to its competitors. Despite its lack of backseat legroom, the Contour is among the best-selling compact sedans of 1995.
The Ford Contour represents the company’s effort to streamline its global lineup with the chassis introduced in the Mondeo. The Contour is clearly sleeker and more visually well-rounded than its predecessor, the Tempo. While marketed as a compact sedan for the family, the strengths of the Contour reside in its comparatively nimble performance, solid handling, and respectable fuel economy.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Ford Contour GL, Ford Contour LX, Ford Contour SE
Arriving in 1995, the Contour replaces the Tempo.
The Ford Contour is a four-door compact sedan that clearly spent more time than its fore bearer, the Tempo, in the wind tunnel. The Contour features an overall more aerodynamic design than previous Ford models. Contour also features the oval-shaped grille that would soon be adopted by several of the automaker’s other sedans, notably the Taurus. Alloy wheels are standard on the Contour SE and optional for GL and LX models. The SE model boasts a rear spoiler as standard equipment.
All Contour models feature cloth interior as standard, while the SE model offers optional leather seating. An AM/FM stereo is included across the lineup. The SE model comes with an AM/FM/CD player, while CD and/or cassette functionality is an option for all models. Airbags come standard for the front driver and passenger positions. Power windows and driver’s seat are also optional for the Contour.
Performance & Handling
Although not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination, the Ford Contour is rather quick for a sedan in its class. This is especially true of the SE model’s potent 170-horsepower (hp), 2.5-liter, six-cylinder engine. Choosing the five-speed manual transmission only adds to the fun-factor when driving the peppy SE. The front-wheel-drive Contour offers an overall pleasant ride, though it appears responsiveness trumps smoothness in the design. The Contour’s handling is nice and tight, making city driving as manageable as long-distance travel.
All models of Ford Contour feature standard driver- and passenger-side airbags, while a four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is optional. Traction control is also an option across all Contour variations.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Contour: 21/29 mpg city/highway
- Good fuel economy
- Stylish design compared with earlier Ford sedans
You Won't Like
- Serious lack of leg room for rear passengers
- Optional cup holders are too shallow
An economical gas-saver.
If You Like This Vehicle
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