1988 Ford Escort LX 1.4 1.4 from UK and Ireland


Automotive grey porridge


Bought this in a hurry after my Golf MkII was written off by a drunk driver. A mistake.

Had a catalogue of failures from major ones like a core plug on the engine corroding through at 2.5 years old through to losing wheel hub caps whenever it went over a bump.

Dealer service expensive and the 1.4CVH (Constant Vibration & Harshness) engine needed a new cambelt every 22500 miles.

Rubbing strips peeled off door, rust spots appeared under bonnet etc.

General Comments:

The CVH engine was supposed to be "lean burn" but it could not do more than 42mpg on a good day and mostly hovered around 40 even driving gently on the motorway.

Engine was very harsh, especially under acceleration and not very quiet.

Interior plastics wore badly and rapidly developed lots of scratches.

Handling was OK, but the car needed constant adjustment of the steering wheel to keep on track. Also unstable in side winds and easily pushed off line. Not a very relaxing car to drive.

On the plus side, it was reasonably fast in a straight line, but that's the only good point I can think of.

Car had no personality and I was glad to get rid of it after 18 months as soon as I could afford something better.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th March, 2006

8th Apr 2006, 11:38

I cannot believe you are complaining about 40-42 mpg in day to day use. That's not far off diesel territory!! I think you'd struggle to find a similarly sized petrol car today that could get near it.

Don't get me wrong, the 1.4 CVH (liked your acronym by the way) is a gutless dog of an engine, and the Escort is hardly the stuff of fantasy, but buying a car you clearly don't like and the complaining endlessly about it on a website seems a bit pointless. You should have bought another Golf if that's what floats your boat. Personally, I find the lower spec Golfs about as interesting as collecting train numbers, but each to their own.

28th Feb 2007, 09:27

Why do you talk about the car having no personality? It's a Ford FFS. Each car has it's own.

28th Feb 2007, 11:55

Cambelt changes are required on this engine every 36k, not 22.5k. It sounds like you ought to try another garage when it comes to servicing.

1988 Ford Escort Wagon 4 cylinder (I think 1.9L) from North America


My favorite ugly duckling


The Harmonic balancer went bad and started rubbing on the engine block.

The water pump failed and had to be replaced (not a chore for the feint of heart due to the timing belt being involved)

General Comments:

I loved my Ford Escort, in spite of it being a little on the ugly side from a style perspective.

I purchased it in 1998, in Anchorage Alaska USA, for $1600. It ran just fine except for the problems noted in the "What things have gone wrong with the car" section.

My first winter with it we had -20 Fahrenheit for nearly a month and that little car was starting when even the brand new ones wouldn't, and I was jump-starting them!

I sold it to a neighbor who gave it to his grandson, it still comes back to visit on occasion although I suspect that living with a college kid is taking it's toll on it. But hey, I'm sure it has some amazing stories to tell about the experience too, haha.

I would own another of these in a heart beat, but it seems like you either get a good one that will live longer than you, or a bad one that is plagued with demons.

From a driver's stand point it was a decent compact car. I miss the standard transmission; having married a lovely lady who cannot for the life of her figure out the stick-shift I think I am forever banned from having one of those again. The car handled well, and it performed beautifully on snow and ice. Fuel economy was really great.

I think the only difficulty I had was that dang timing belt being such a difficult thing to work on/around, if not for that I never would have had to pay some other guy to work on it, it was that simple and nice of a car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2006