The community thinks...
Nice, competent, reliable little car. by Gary from Colorado Springs on 08/28/2008. Trim: 1996 Mercury Tracer LTS 4-Door, Owned more than 10 years.
Pros: Has been very reliable, even at 150,000 miles, the Mazda 1.8L engine doesn't use a drop of oil and it leaks nothing. Have replaced the normal stuff: Radiator and hoses, struts at 90,000, the original brakes went over 100,000 miles, still on the original clutch. Beyond that, just the normal maintenance items; tires, coolant, fuel and oil filters, spark plugs, etc. Acceleration is good if you use the engine to its high revs. Brakes are good, steering feel is good; the chassis rolls a bit much in turns, but is otherwise a good ride. Returns decent, but not great fuel economy - my 200 HP SVT Contour gets better city and highway MPG. Plenty of room in the trunk, like the fold down rear seats.
Cons: The rear springs broke due to corrosion, but they were replaced when I did new struts. The manual transmission could use a taller 5th gear or even a 6th; this would improve highway fuel economy and lower the cabin noise. The cabin ergonomics and switchgear are good, wish the driver's seat would go back further - its fine for my wife but not for my 6' tall body.
Overall review: This is a nice little car for the money. If you can find one that's been well taken care of (like mine...) it should last awhile and return good service. All in all, we've gotten our money's worth and more out of this car, and I think we'll keep it for a few more years.
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