For - Easy to drive, cheap to run
Against - Rivals offer more comfort and finesse Summary
The final generation Escort is more accomplished than earlier cars to carry the name, with ride and reliability up to 1990s standards. It's a practical, undemanding choice for the family motorist, but lacks the feeling of quality and downright driving pleasure of the Focus that replaced it . Factor in the low ownership costs and sheer abundance and it's not surprising that the Escort remains a fairly popular used car choice. Rally-derived RS Cosworth deserves much more respect than the rest of the range. Behind The Wheel
Pleasant enough cabin with elements borrowed from the old Mondeo; roomier, more refined, quieter but not a patch on more modern rivals. Much more fluent and responsive than last generation; light steering, smooth gears, effective brakes, good grip. Comfort
Rear seats will cope with a couple of adults or three kids, whilst seats are significantly improved over those of previous generation Escorts. Refinement is quite good as long as its driven at a moderate pace.
Mark5b LX interior
Mark6 GTI interior Equipment
Encore models have grey bumpers and mouldings, side impact beams, high-security locks, immobiliser (petrol models), alarm (diesel models), 60/40 split rear seat, driverís airbag (optional passenger airbag), radio/cassette player; L models also have 13" wheels with full wheel covers, manual sunroof; LX models have tinted glass, body-colour bumpers, 14" wheels, electric front windows, central locking, alarm, rev counter, velour trim, RDS radio; Ghia models have alloy wheels, body-colour mouldings and exterior trim, chromed grille, heated electric mirrors, adjustable lumbar support on driverís seat, leather trimmed steering wheel, adjustable front and rear head restraints, map reading lamps; Si models have body colour front bumper/spoiler with integral fog lamps, honeycomb grille, sports seats, uprated suspension. 1.8D and 1.8 TD models gained immobilisers from April 95. ĎBusinessí packs available on 1.4 L and 1.8D L models from June 95. Optional CTX automatic transmission available on 1.6i 16v LX and Ghia from August 95. 1.6i 16v Encore Auto 3-door and 5-door Hatchbacks launched in October 95. 1.8i Ghia X Saloon and Hatchback launched in March 96 with air conditioning, alloy wheels, front fog lights, electric height adjustment on driverís seat, CD autochanger. Revisions: Ghia gained quickclear windscreen; Si got 5-spoke alloy wheels; all L models now had PAS; L Estates gained roof rails and load compartment covers; and Encore 1.4, 1.6, 1.8D and 1.8 TD got PAS. 1.6i Ghia Cabriolet Auto and 1.8i Ghia Cabriolet (115 bhp) launched in April 96, and 1.6i Calypso Cabriolet joined range. 1.6i Ghia X CTX Auto Saloon and Hatchback launched Aug 96. 1.8 TDi Ghia X (90 bhp) 4- and 5-door launched Jan 97. 1.4 CL, 1.6 CL and 1.8 CL TD (70 bhp) models launched April 97 with PAS, sunroof and RDS radio/cassette; also 1.8 GTi 3-/5-door Hatchback and Ghia X Estate. Revisions in Aug 97: tinted glass and high-level rear brake light on all models.Performance
Harsh old 1.3 and 1.4 engines detract from improvements elsewhere. Diesel units are sluggish except 1.8 TDi; 16-valve 1.6i or 1.8i models offer a more satisfactory level of performance and refinement. RS2000 has a 150bhp 2.0 litre and the fire-breathing RS Cosworth develops 227bhp from its turbocharged lump and will give even todayís fastest hot-hatches a run for their money. Handling
Improved over previous generation, but Escort still offers a fairly nondescript driving experience - it's easy to drive and the road holding is safe enough but it's not a car that delivers much in terms of driver enjoyment. Ride quality is upset by poor roads. Suspension was updated in 1995, as was the steering. Practicality
All models have a split folding rear seat so boot space can be increased if needed. Estate and saloon versions were available too but did not sell in the numbers that the hatchback did. Reliability
Far more dependable than previous Escorts but not fault-free - will depend on how well it has been serviced. Build quality and finish are best on later models. Safety
Scored only two stars in the NCAP crash test, and only a driver's airbag is fitted as standard although a passenger airbag was optional. All models had an immobiliser and some an alarm, although locks were poor. Cost
Resale value will depend upon condition, but if you don't pay much for it in the first place, then you won't lose much. Parts prices and servicing costs are very cheap. Fuel economy is actually worse for the 1.4 than the 1.6.Buying Used
There's plenty about so look at a few to make sure you can spot a good one. Don't pay silly money as this is only worth considering as cheap transport. The RS Cosworth requires a much more considered approach. Go over it with a fine toothed comb, ring up previous owners, get it HPI'd and be aware that modifications will decrease its value.Selling
If reasonably priced, an Escort won't be difficult to sell at all as it's a known quantity with the buying public and something of a default cheap purchase.
* Vauxhall Astra Hatchback (1991)
* Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (1992)
* Rover 200 Hatchback (1995)CarCheck
Body: Minor dents and parking damage.
Engine/Gearbox: Hard-driven high mileage 1.3 or 1.4 engines need regular oil changes; 6000-mile servincing on diesel must be kept up; some problems with sticking valves on 1.6/1.8 Zetec engines.Other:
Petrol 10,000 miles
Diesel 6,000 miles
Mechanical 1 year
Bodywork 6 yearsModel history
1.8 Si Cabriolet (130 bhp): new tonneau cover, improved trim. Special 1.6 (90 bhp) Silhouette Cabriolet (£13275). Used values approx. 7% lower than XR3i (105 bhp) Cabriolet. Special 90 bhp 1.8 TDX 3-door (£10155) and 5-door (£10535). Used values slightly higher than 1.8D LX Hatchbacks. Special 90 bhp 1.8 TDX 3-door (£10155) and 5-door (£10535). Used values slightly higher than 1.8D LX Hatchbacks. Special 1.6 (90 bhp) Mistral Cabrio (£13650). Used values approx. 12% lower than 1.8 Si Cabriolet. 1.8 TD LX and Ghia launched. 1.8 Ghia Si launched: colour keyed bumpers, alloy wheels, elec mirrors. RS 2000 4x4 launched. All models have airbag. Orion now badged Escort Saloon.
1.8 Turbo Diesel L Hatchback launched. 1.6 16v Si (90 bhp): elec wins, central locking, sports seats. Special 1.4 Azura 3-door (£8495). Used values as 1.4 3-door. Special Mistral, Sapphire and Equipe models. New prices: Mistral - 1.4 3-dr £9995, 1.4 5-dr £10395, 1.6 3-dr £10410, 1.6 5-dr £10810; Sapphire - 1.3 5-dr £9995, 1.6 5-dr £10665, 1.3 Est £10395, 1.6 Est £11065; Equipe - 1.4 Sal £9995, 1.6 Sal £10410. Used values: Mistral slightly higher than L models; Sapphire 1.3 approx. 5% higher than 1.3 Base models; Sapphire 1.6 similar to L models; Equipe approx. 5% lower than LX models. Special 1.6 (90 bhp) Solar Cabriolet (£13950); values approx. 10% lower than 1.8 Si Cabriolet. Special Mistral, Sapphire and Equipe models. New prices: Mistral - 1.4 3-dr £9995, 1.4 5-dr £10395, 1.6 3-dr £10410, 1.6 5-dr £10810; Sapphire - 1.3 5-dr £9995, 1.6 5-dr £10665, 1.3 Est £10395, 1.6 Est £11065; Equipe - 1.4 Sal £9995, 1.6 Sal £10410. Used values: Mistral slightly higher than L models; Sapphire 1.3 approx. 5% higher than 1.3 Base models; Sapphire 1.6 similar to L models; Equipe approx. 5% lower than LX models. Special 1.6 (90 bhp) Solar Cabriolet (£13950); values approx. 10% lower than 1.8 Si Cabriolet.
Escort Mk5 range: 1.3, 1.4 EFi, 1.6i 16v, 1.8i 16v petrol, 1.8D, 1.8 TD diesel. Restyled body/interior, new rear suspension, ABS option, airbag standard, radio cassette. L has 13in wheels, manual sunroof, LX has tinted glass, body colour bumpers, 14in wheels, elec front windows, central locking, alarm, rev counter, RDS radio. Ghia has alloys, elec mirrors, lumbar adjustment on driver's seat. Si has bumper/spoiler with integral fog lamps, honeycomb grille, uprated suspension, sports seats. RS 2000, RS 2000 4x4 and 1.8 Si Cabriolet launched: uprated suspension and revisions as other Mk 5 Escorts. Special editions: 1.4i Acapulco 5 door - used values as 1.4i Encore 5 door. 1.6i 16v Mexico - used values as 1.6i LX. 1.6i 16v Calypso Cabriolet (£13,995) - used values 15% lower than 1.8 Si Cabriolet. 1.8 16v Si models now have 115bhp engine. Optional CTX auto transmission available on 1.6i 16v LX and Ghia. Special 1.4 Finesse - values 5% over 1.4 L 5 door. 1.6i 16v Encore auto 3/5 door hatchbacks launched. Special Cabaret 1.4, 1.6 16v and 1.8 TD - used values slightly higher than comparable L models.
1.8 TD Encore, L and LX have 70bhp engine. 90bhp intercooled 1.8 turbo-diesel now badged 1.8 TDi (LX, Ghia). 1.8i Ghia X: alloys,front foglights, air-con, electric driver's seat height adjustment, CD autochanger. Ghia has quickclear windscreen; Si has 5-spoke alloy wheels; L models have PAS; L Estates have roof rails and load cover. 1.6i Ghia Cabriolet Auto and 1.8i Ghia Cabriolet launched. 1.6i Calypso Cabriolet joins standard range. Special editions: 1.4 Freedom (£10,850) - values as 1.4 L. 1.6 Serenade (£11,500) - values slightly higher than 1.6 L. 1.8 TD 70bhp Serenade (£11,750) - values slightly higher than 1.8 TD L. 1.6 Cabaret continues. 1.6 Masquerade (£11,500) and 1.8 TD 70bhp Masquerade (£11,750) saloons - values slightly higher than L. 1.6i Ghia X CTX auto saloon and hatchback launched. 1.8i LX and Ghia models have uprated 115bhp engine.
1.8 TDi Ghia X (90bhp) launched. 1.4 CL, 1.6 CL and 1.8 CL TD (70bhp) launched: PAS, sunroof. 1.8 GTi hatch launched. Ghia X estates launched. Special 1.3 Azura - values 5% lower than 1.3 Encore. Special editions - 1.4 Silhouette 5 door and estate - values as 1.4 Encore. 1.6 Flight and Chicane - used values similar to 1.6 CL. Revisions: tinted glass and high level rear brake light.
Special Finesse 1.6 3/5 door and estate. 1.8 TDi 3/5 door and estate - used values as LX models.
Run-out production of 1.6 and 1.8D Flight and Finesse. Sunroof, PAS, central locking, electric front windows; Finesse adds metallic paint, fog lamps, alloy wheels, air con, CD player.