Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Escort ZX2 saves me from living in a van, down by the river...

Ford Escort ZX2

Pros: Great for in-town commuting, impressing teen-aged daughter with an itch to start driving
Cons: road noise, limited rearward visibility
The Bottom Line: A good value for the things I need from my car - decent mileage, decent room, responsive driving.

Remember Chris Farley's inspirational speaker character, the guy with the big glasses who said he was "living in a van, down by the river?"

For a long time, I feared that might be me.

I've driven a Plymouth Grand Voyager to work and back every weekday for years. A nice, quiet comfy ride with a huge drawback: low gas mileage. The 24 mile round trip is completely in-town - no highways, no expressways, just some fairly straight avenues going through technology parks and a few neighborhoods at 40 miles per hour; 40 miles per hour, that is, when not stopping for lights or small traffic back ups.

So, when the front end of the PGV started to get a bit wonky (the wheels started sounding like the engine of Sebulba's pod racer from Star Wars Episode 1 - womp, womp, womp, womp) and gas started to stick at nearly $3 per gallon, I knew it was time to find a new ride to work. If I tried to pay to get the van fixed, and continued to shell out $45 to fill up every several days, I'd end up living in the van, down by the river...

It's bad enough that sometimes people think I resemble Chris Farley.

Searching Craig's List in Dallas, my wife found a used Ford Escort ZX2 that turned out to meet all our needs. Low mileage, right price, clean and well cared for, we got a great deal on a used car. And now that I've had a few weeks to drive it around town, I have to say that the pros outweigh the cons...

Read the entire review at

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