The two best chase systems I've ever used are the current rules in Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, and the chase rules from Feng Shui 2E. They're both brilliant in different ways.
Totally agree. I ran several games where a chase was conducted using the contest rules. I remember one of the players - a die-hard crunchy d20 fan - saying, "This is way more fun than it should be" and laughing excitedly through a contest chase scene. Very effective!