Best non-hybrid MPG used Ford?

If I was looking for something that could compete with a Corolla in a Ford used car, with similar leg room and MPG, does it exist?
I'm thinking in the model year range of 1997-2001.
My '93 Corolla wagon gets 28-35 MPG and has lots of leg room, and of course the hatch back. Corollas without the wagon part, get 35-40 MPG.
Did Ford make anything as reliable in those model years, to compete with that?
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Fuel economy is a different matter. I looked at the EPA ratings for the various models (all are based on the revised rating system):
The best 1993 Corollas Sedans were rated 23 city / 31 highway (newer rating system - 1.6L / Manual ). The worst were rated 23 city / 26 highway (1.6L / Automatic). The 1993 Corolla Sedan had a passenger volume of 89 ft**3 and a Luggage Volume of 13 ft**3. Fuel economy reported by individuals to the EPA were between 20 and 42 mpg (this is a large variation)
The 1993 Corolla Wagons were rated 23 city / 30 highway (1.8L either manual or automatic). The 1993 Corolla Wagon had a passenger volume of 93 ft**3 and a Luggage Volume of 31 ft**3. Fuel economy reported by individuals to the EPA were between 26 and 29.5 mpg
Your choices for Fords from 1997 to 2001 include (mostly I picked 4 door / manual transmission models): - 1997-1999 Escort, 24 city / 34 highway (2L Manual) 87 ft**3 passenger space / 13 ft**3 luggage space - 1997-1999 Escort Wagon, 24 city / 34 highway (2L Manual) 90 ft**3 passenger space / 31 ft**3 luggage space - 2000 Escort , 24 city / 32 highway (2L Manual) 87 ft**3 passenger space / 13 ft**3 luggage space - 2000 Focus, 24 city / 32 highway (2L Manual) 95 ft**3 passenger space / 17 ft**3 luggage space - 2000 Focus Wagon, 22 city / 30 highway (2L Manual) 96 ft**3 passenger space / 36 ft**3 luggage space - 2001 Escort 2 dr, 23 city / 32 highway (2L Manual) 87 ft**3 passenger space / 13 ft**3 luggage space - 2001 Focus, 25 city / 32 highway (2L Manual) 95 ft**3 passenger space / 17 ft**3 luggage space - 2001 Focus Wagon, 25 city / 32 highway (2L Manual) 96 ft**3 passenger space / 36 ft**3 luggage space
There were also 2 door Focus models avaialble. There were two engines availbe for the Focus, both 2L four cylinders. One had 110 hp, the other 130 hp. The fuel economy rating above are all for the 110 hp engine. The higher hp engine got a mile per gallong or two less.
The Focus has interior room similar to a Corolla.
2001 Consumer Reports rated the reliability of the 2001 Focus as average. I am sure the 1993 Corolla was rated better than average, but CR doesn't list results for anythign that old. My neighbor has a Corolla of that vintage, and it seem worse than average to me, but it is pretty old now.
I'd say the Ford closest to your requirements would be a 2001 Focus.
Ed
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