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.

1996 Ford Escort LX 1.4i 8v SOHC


Definitely worth the money


Back box was rusted and got knocked off by a speed ramp.

Oil pressure switch rotted and oil began to pour out while driving.

After 9 months, 2 CV joints within one week of each other.

Cylinder no.3 stopped compressing air.

Most of the problems just due to general wear and tear, except CV joints which were due to hard driving. Car was 12 years old when I bought it, and already needed back box and oil switch.

General Comments:

I bought this car in October '08 for €200 with a couple of small repairs to be done. After a new back box and oil switch, the total for the car came to €270.

My model had no electrics or any creature comforts, but for long drives I was still very comfortable by the end of it.

Being only a 1.4i SOHC 8 valve, I did not expect it to be quick, but even after 9 months of abuse I could still keep up with my cousins 1.5 LSi Honda Civic.

During its last days, the CV joints went, mainly because of my very hard driving. Also, during this time cylinder #3 stopped working.

I would recommend these cars to anybody. They get quite good fuel economy while driving normally, around 35mpg, although I only got around 20-25mpg. Again, down to my type of driving.

Also, the parts are everywhere, so they're quite cheap.

Although the car still drives, I have bought a new car since, a Nissan March/Micra A#, which I have also done a review of.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th September, 2009

1996 Ford Escort LX 1.6 16v


Nice car, but drinks petrol


Well I bought this car because I need a reliable car. I have had 2 other cars in the space of 6 months, and both head gaskets have gone.

The problem I'm having is that it seems to drink petrol. I put about 25/30 pounds in the car and got about 150 miles out of the half a tank of petrol that was in there, which although it's a 1.6 seems a lot. I'm not sure why it would be drinking it so much.

It seems the exhaust manifold is blowing - maybe a reason for the petrol drinking.

I was driving today around town and it seemed to lack power, it was almost like I was doing 30mph and someone was holding the handbrake up LOL. It happened a couple of times, but seemed to be OK afterwards, I hope this isn't another sign of a head gasket.

The temperature gauge doesn't seem to work well since I have had the car; it worked on the day I got it, but hasn't since, but I hear that is a common fault.

Nothing major, but when I first got the car, the orange light used to stay on if a door wasn't shut properly, and the other day it started flickering and now doesn't seem to work - kinda worried that when I wake up tomorrow that something else is going to go wrong LOL.

General Comments:

As for driving the car, I was nervous at first as I have not driven a big car and it was big to me LOL, as I was used to driving 306s and Rover 214s, but I was pleasantly surprised; it was very smooth and spacious, can't fault the inside of the car.

Although LOL my other half pulled this lever while I was driving, and my legs went off the floor and couldn't touch the pedals LOL; I'm not used to Fords, so didn't realize you could do that, but I'm kinda short LOL.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th March, 2008

16th Mar 2008, 13:19

That's around 25-28 mpg... I'd say you have a problem with the engine as you should find 30mpg+ easily achievable.

The fact that the temperature gauge isn't working might indicate someone has disconnected the sensor to hide a gasket problem.

Being aluminium the head will warp if overheated and will need skimming. Very few garages have the equipment or knowledge to do this these days.

The other thing to check is the oxygen sensor as these usually go every 40-50k.