1996 Ford Aspire 1.3 from North America


Good car


Not one thing.

General Comments:

I bought this car used in 1998 I didn't want it, I went on the lot to get a Ford ZX2 but couldnt afford the insurance so I ended up with this Aspire instead. I have a basic car with air and cassette player. I have not done one thing to this car besides change the oil maybe twice a year, nothing has been replaced all the belts, brakes, spark plugs are still the ones that came with the car. This car has always started the first time I turn the key never once has it failed to do so. Aspires have no power they are weak and its hard to get in with fast traffic at highway speeds. The air is cold and the stereo sounds OK, at first I really disliked the car, but now I would not part with it considering it has never had one problem in all these years. The color is red and it's a bit faded now it needs to be waxed soon. I think this year I'm going to have everything done to the car that I should have been doing all this time like belts and things. Ford/Mazda/Kia did a fine job on this little car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2004

1996 Ford Aspire 1.3 liter fuel injected 4 cylinder inline from North America


Reliable, good gas mileage, low-performance, expensive to repair


The first month I had it, the air conditioning fan switch knob broke.

At approximately 102,000 miles I replaced the CV joints, axles, struts and rear wheel bearings. (Probably just normal wear and tear. Needs this again now.) However, no matter who does the work, there seems to be a problem getting the axles to seal properly on the trans-axle resulting in leaks. There is also an imbalance apparently not related to the tires in the front end. Perhaps also due to the CV joint/axle replacements.

In the first week I had it, the right front wheel cover fell off and had to be replaced twice by the dealer.

Paint on the wheel covers has worn off. I'm thinking of just repainting them myself.

Another possibly normal wear and tear issue is that the headlight lenses appear to be "frosted" or "sand-blasted", causing a degradation in their brightness.

The amber turn signal lenses have faded to nearly clear.

General Comments:

I bought it new for $8100 as an immediate replacement for my then defunct '88 Festiva which had served us for 200,000+ miles and had the same, though carbureted, engine.

I was a bit miffed that what would have been the rear deck in my old Festiva was missing in this car even though there were attach points for one molded into the plastic. The dealer indicated there was no rear deck available.

I believe the exterior sheet metal is too thin for the job. I can put a dent in it simply by pressing it with a finger.

The original fuel filter has never been replaced because I'm told the OEM part is unavailable. This probably explains why, after 230K+ miles, the "check engine" light comes on after stomping on the gas!

On the plus side, though, is its great gas mileage (42 highway) and the fact that the engine, though a bit noisy in the valve train, still runs strong and has never failed to start.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th November, 2003

19th Dec 2003, 23:59

I had a vibration in the steering wheel and it was unequally torqued front wheel lug nuts, the torque on all of them has to be within the specifications and the same for all nuts on both front wheels. My manual trans axle drive shaft seals also leak a little (171,000 miles) they're probably dried out, but I just live with it.

16th Oct 2005, 01:19

I have a 1997 Aspire and the bearings in the motor went out at 195,000 miles, which caused a rod to knock. Also the car burns oil bad, and smokes very bad after it idles for a while.

The A/C went out at 190,000, and the CV joints at 192,000.

10th Dec 2005, 11:53

I found a solution to the cloudy headlights, turtle wax! It fills in all of the weather cracks and makes the plastic very clear, but only for short time about a month.

27th May 2006, 01:42

You can goto Autozone or any other auto parts store and get a replacement Fuel filter, no need for a expensive OEM Filter when a vehicle specific aftermarket filter is just as good if not better.

7th Sep 2007, 08:57

Plastic headlight lenses oxidize in the sunlight and get cloudy. Use the finest grain wet sandpaper you can find and wet sand the lens. Now it looks really cloudy. Next take a rubbing compound or plastic polish from the parts store and rub the lenses shiny. They will become clear and stay that way for at least a year.

6th Oct 2007, 20:50

This is the best place I found to buy parts at a fair price.