Ford Contour

In addition to enjoying some of the spotlight in Europe, the Ford Contour is also known for replacing the Ford Tempo in the manufacturer’s U.S. line up. The Contour provided a more sophisticated feel and appearance with a comparable price tag to the Tempo. As a small midsize sedan, the Contour works well for a wide variety of people and offers plenty of extras to make up for its smaller size.

More on the Ford Contour
Ford Origins

Fine cars have historically come from all over the world, but no one can dispute how important the American automotive manufacturers have been throughout the industry’s history. Among the most famous of the U.S. automotive leaders is the Ford Motor Company. Like many others, Ford didn’t just show up a ready-made success. A lot of hard work and perseverance were necessary before the company was settled and ready for its long tradition of excellence.

Henry Ford first explored the automotive business in 1899. He founded and ran the Detroit Automobile Company. The company experienced problems and was forced to close its doors. Ford tried again in 1901 with the creation of the Henry Ford Company. This time he had sound financial backers, but as it turned out the backers and Ford didn’t share the same vision. As legend goes, Henry Ford left that company with about $900 and the right to use his name.

He took the money and the rights and started the Ford Motor Company in 1903. This time things worked out and the famous company was born. To this day Ford’s family owns and operates the business. Several cars, trucks, and SUVs, including the Contour sedan, are part of Ford’s line up.

About the Ford Contour

The Ford Motor Company produced the Contour midsize sedan from 1995 to 2000. It serves as one of the first attempts by an American carmaker to build a world car. World cars are vehicles that only require a few modifications to be sold in foreign markets. German automotive manufacturers began using this technique, years before Ford and other American automakers. A few tweaks to the body design or materials under the hood easily yield a car that can be sold from Tokyo to New York. With this concept in mind, Ford also introduced another version of the Contour, with slight modifications, under the name Ford Mondeo.

Ford Contour Features

The 2000 year model of the Contour was the last one to be produced for the U.S., though its Mondeo counterpart continued to be updated and distributed in Europe.

Consumers had a lot to look forward to with the 2000 Contour. It was only offered with front-wheel drive but provided the option of three trim levels: the GL, LX, and SE editions. The GL and the LX trim levels come equipped with 2.0-liter, inline-four engines, while the upgraded SE is outfitted with a V-6 engine.

While many buyers were happy with the standard packages, all of the trim levels provided some options as well. Ford encouraged consumers to consider extras such as power locks, cruise control, and air-conditioning and sound system options.

The Contour is overall a well-made car, but it faces some complaints about a lack of interior space, especially in the back seat. While Ford tried to fix this issue, the company’s attempts did not meet consumers’ expectations.

Ford Contour Evolution

During the production years of 1995 to 2000, the Ford Contour won over a large fan base both in the United States and in various European countries. The midsize sedan proved to be ideal for everyone from young professionals, to families, to older people looking for a reliable car. With the various trim levels and options Ford offers on these cars, it is relatively simple for consumers to customize the car for their needs.

Ford made every attempt to improve the design and performance of the Contour during its production years. In addition to trying different options in the cabin to provide more leg space, especially in the back seat, Ford also made improvements to the body style of the car. In 1998, Ford chose to update the body design, making the Contour a closer match to its European cousin, the Mondeo.

While the Contour is not meant to be a flashy car, it still gains recognition from several industry leaders. It ranks on Car and Driver magazine’s "Ten Best List" for 1995, 1996, and 1997. Automobile Magazine named the Contour on its "All Star List" from 1995 to 1998 as well.

Select a Ford Contour Year

2000 Ford Contour

Midsize, Sedan

Now that the Ford Focus has arrived on the scene, the 2000 Ford Contour upgrades to a high-end car of the Ford line.

1999 Ford Contour

Midsize, Sedan

Since the model was developed by Ford in Europe and engineered in Germany, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the 1999 Ford Contour significantly exceeds expectations in terms of a domestic produced compact sedan.

1998 Ford Contour

Midsize, Sedan

The 1998 Ford Contour classifies as a compact car derived from the first-generation Ford Mondeo.

1997 Ford Contour

Midsize, Sedan

The 1997 Ford Contour classifies as a compact car that replaces the Ford Tempo in Ford’s lineup.

1996 Ford Contour

Midsize, Sedan

The 1996 Ford Contour provides a roomy compact.

1995 Ford Contour

Midsize, Sedan

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.