1996 Ford Escort Van 1.8 diesel


Dependable van


New alternator and battery at around 90,000 miles.

Locks can be temperamental.

General consumables - oil changes, brakes, tyres, etc.

General Comments:

What can be said about the 90s Escort that hasn't been said already? Probably not much, but the van version of the car does not seem to have too many reviews on here, so here is my experience of one many years ago.

The classic frog shaped white van was bought at 3 years old with already some mileage on it, to be used by my electrical company for heavy work. I wasn't expecting much, as I'd heard these vans were not that great, however this van turned out better than expected - for over 4 years it covered many miles up and down the country from Inverness to London and all over, carrying heavy loads, and it did not let me down once, except for a flat battery that was replaced twice before figuring out the alternator was on the way out.

The 1.8 diesel gave good economy, but was very, very slow. The 55 horse power version was what I had if I remember correctly, and it was proudly displayed on the wings for some reason (why boast such a low HP?!?!). Later 75 BHP versions were better from what I heard. 0-60MPH in this one must have taken nearly 20 seconds, especially when fully loaded, not ideal for merging on motorways!

Interior was pretty dull with classic 90s Ford grey/black plastic everywhere, but what do you expect from a basic van, it is what it is. I found it comfortable enough mind you, and was not bad to drive with average ride and handling. Road noise was pretty bad however, not very quiet and had to shout at 70 MPH (when it eventually got there) to have a conversation with someone next to me in the passenger seat. Not as bad as my 80s Transit I had though back in the day, which was deafening on the motorway. I had to fit more powerful speakers for the radio just to hear it, and thought about doing the same with this van if I was going to have it any longer.

In conclusion though, the van was sold on with well over 100,000 miles on it (the odometer didn't actually display that though, only had 5 digits), so after turning the clock as they say, my company decided to sell it on. I have to give credit where credit is due though, it was a very dependable van (more reliable than some newer ones I've had recently believe it or not, even in the year 2016) and I'll always look back on these vans with good memories, as it got the job done and apart from the slow performance, they were not as bad as people said they were.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th October, 2016

12th Oct 2016, 08:06

Original author, just a quick correction to my review, the car had the digital mile/odometer so it did have 6 digits, was thinking of a mate's older Escort van with the analog display, which only had 5 digits when I was talking about the mileage. Did hear of one lasting to over 200,000 though! This was a tough engine despite the lack of power.

1996 Ford Escort Sapphire 1.6 16v


Cheap throw-away motor for journeys that don't demand more than going A to B


Rear suspension rebound dampening was non-existent.

Ignition issues after only 2 months of ownership.

Not all that comfortable on longer journeys.

General Comments:

This bog standard Ford Escort was for me a very middle of the road car. Everything it did, it did to a just about 'satisfactory' level; nothing special.

The car seemed reliable enough, though it did develop a fueling/injector issue quite soon after purchase, which made the already lack-luster engine even more gutless.

The rear suspension on this model was very poor indeed. Usually you can expect road car suspension to be pretty sloppy (Vauxhall are good at this), but the rear of this Escort bounced around more than Jennifer Lopez's bum at a concert. In the wet this made the car a little unstable unless traveling very slowly; even small undulations would have the rear of the car slipping and threatening to slide.

The interior was dull and functional, with the usual Ford level of trim; it all worked well enough, but that's about it.

This car certainly isn't a spectacular addition to any driveway, but before the fueling problem, and the rear suspension inconsistencies, I would probably own another one. It was reasonably cheap to run and seemed strong enough. The ride was bad and the interior dull, but the Escort never professed to be more than what it was; a bog standard family car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2013

11th Jan 2013, 19:29

I think you are being a little harsh on this car - it is 13 years old and it might have been used for towing, or maybe the rear shocks need replacing.