The inside story

Inside, the sporty-looking instrument panel sweeps attractively into the door panels, and interior fabrics and materials are of higher quality than those of other cars in this class.

Standard comfort and convenience features are a little sparse in the basic ZX2. Beyond an AM/FM radio, you have to pay extra.

But the quality of the interior appointments keeps even a basic ZX2 from feeling like a stripper, a trait it shares with most of the other Escort/Tracer models.

Other useful interior touches include three cup holders, two for rd, one aft, plus a center console and heater ducts for the rear seat area.

There's plenty of room up front in all of the Escorts and Tracers, and the ZX2's attractively upholstered front buckets are exceptionally comfortable and supportive.

The driver's seat is also height adjustable, a nice extra for shorter drivers.

Rear seat roominess is also a strong suit for this coupe.

Although Chrysler Corp.'s Neon is roomier, the ZX2's rear seat does qualify as usable, and its legroom is within a half-inch of the sedan, though the faster slope of the rear roofline compromises headroom a bit.

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