Faithful car if well, maintained
I will be quite frank with you, I purchased the vehicle from a private owner for $1,700 (USD) and found that it was in "sub-par" condition.
The radiator was shot and had absolutely nothing in it (when I tried to drain it, only a few drops of rusty water came out, a bad sign!).
The motor and transmission mounts had to be replaced (I actually found a broken piece of broomstick supporting the transmission mount when I removed it, there was also what looked to be like a pork chop bone behind the passenger side motor mount).
All four struts were completely shot, including mounts, and needed to be replaced.
Tires were showing erratic wear because of bottomed out struts, broken tie-rod, and stripped CV joints, all of which had to be replaced.
Water pump failed and seal broke at about 78,000 miles (probably because of the abuse it's been through by the previous owner not have any coolant in the radiator).
Alternator failed shortly after the water pump.
The starter motor failed at around 80,000 miles.
The rear brake cylinders blew at about 79,000 miles, locking my back tires (very scary!!!)
I say all this, not to point the finger at the car for being worthless junk, because it isn't. This is the result of POOR MAINTENANCE.
Also, one word of advice: if you hear rather harsh valve tapping, replace the valves and valve seats with aftermarket ones that have corrected the valve seat failure issue, that allowed the valve to drop into the cylinder over time.
AFTER I replaced what was needed, this car began to prove to be very reliable, indeed.
The power steering gives a decent amount of feedback and isn't too light.
The radio finally died around 81,000 miles (but for the year it was made, it was pretty good, though I would recommend replacing it with an aftermarket radio); the signal came in crisp and clean when it had a signal, but quite often it would continue searching the frequencies and come up short.
The fuel consumption is minimal, and I suspect will improve once I get the injectors replaced. I also might add that this car is a bit finicky with what gas it uses. DON'T give it low grade knock-off brand stuff. Regular unleaded gas is fine as long as it's from a reputable company. Also, you MUST change the motor oil in this car no later than 3,000 miles or three months, or risk premature wear of the valves.
Amazingly, the power windows and power locks still work. The electricals on this car haven't given me a problem yet, though the brake light stays on when I shift into neutral (yet to discover the culprit).
The road noise is quite harsh inside the cabin, it seems there isn't enough noise dampening insulation in there. Carrying a conversation isn't hard as long as you speak up a bit.
The accelerator pedal feels a slightly stiff at times, and you have to floor it for the automatic transmission to shift from overdrive to third gear.
The brakes feel great on the road, but I don't have much confidence in their stopping power if I have to make a panic stop. I have already done 3 panic stops at 20, 30, and 40 mph, and have come to realize that economy car brakes will not give sports car performance. The brakes should be fine for the average driver, but I think I might upgrade them soon. I haven't yet measured the distance of travel at 60-0 mph, but I'm guessing it is a good bit.
Overall, the 1995 Ford Escort LX Wagon handles, brakes, and accelerates just average. The interior is spacious enough for a family of 5. The seats are a bit stiff for the long run. The rear vinyl trunk cover tears over the years of stress.
With a good maintenance schedule, this vehicle can be a very reliable small family car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st November, 2012