1988 Ford Escort Popular 1.3 CVH from UK and Ireland


An old heap of junk.


The tappets were making a right racket! The engine sounded like a sewing machine! I adjusted the tappets so they didn't hit as hard and then problem 2 started:

The valve seals went. The car started drinking fuel. When the car was running in the power band and above, loads of choking smoke belched from the exhaust.

The car only fires on 3 cylinders when it is started on a cold morning and takes 3-6 minutes for the fourth to kick in.

Car failed to start for no apparent reason one day. A week later I bought some Easy Start and that got it going, after I cleaned all of the plugs.

General Comments:

The car always has a 'feel' that it's about to break down. I don't trust it as far as I could power slide it; and with the power on it, that's not very far at all.

This car is not very powerful at all, and I mean for a 1.3! I nearly fried the clutch towing my Renault 11 up a slight hill. The acceleration is poor.

The 4-speed gearbox is quite annoying because the car needs a fifth gear to cruise, which makes the fuel economy poor.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th November, 2002

1988 Ford Escort L 1.6 from UK and Ireland


A cheap no frills adequate car


It has leaked water.

Gearchange not too smooth.

Engine mounting broke at 97,000 miles.

Exhaust very smoky on start up.

General Comments:

This is a car that doesn't do anything too well or too badly. It has been very well maintained from new and I am trying my best to keep it in tip top condition. The ride is not too good and it is a little cramped inside. the gearchange is really odd, as it big breaks in between the ratios. I. e the revs drop dramatically on changing into 2nd gear thus losing power.

It is cheap to run and always starts well. The performance is brisk in first gear and then mediocre in 2nd and 3rd.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th October, 2002

1988 Ford Escort GT 1.9L HO from North America


A low cost reliable car that takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'


Had to replace the gas tank.

Had to replace the throttle position sensor (TPS) from driving in the snow.

Left front wheel assembly has all been completely replaced... CV shaft, tie rodes, etc.

Misc stuff will need to be replaced soon because of age, such as the alternator etc.

General Comments:

Most reliable car I have ever seen.

Extremely comfortable bucket seats.

Very fast and I haven't even begun to restore it for racing yet.

Good handling and all around driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th January, 2002

1988 Ford Escort GT 1.9 HO from North America


Great car, will last forever


4 clutches due to racing Hondas.

Headlight leaked.

A lot of tires due to heavy racing.

Muffler rusted out a few times.

Cruise control went out.

Tachometer broke twice.

Overheating problem.

Engine was rebuilt and bored over.

General Comments:

I have taken very good care of my 88 Escort GT. And she has done the same to me. Sure I beat the crap out of her, but she loves it. A very fast car.

Never left me stranded.

A great car for around town or long drives.

She has over 24000 miles on her and still beats Hondas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2001

14th Feb 2006, 11:49

I had a 1988 1/2 Escort GT. This was a great car. It made it from Daytona Beach FL to DC in 9 1/2 hours. The car hated 55 mph loved 90 without complaining. great little car.

29th Jul 2006, 19:36

Bought a new 88 Escort GT. it ran perfect until 12,000 miles, then it simply would not idle. Ford dealer "fixed" it 4 times. I had always been true to Ford, but I had to have dependable car, ended up trading in on a used Cutlass with a bulletproof quad 4, had no problems until I traded the quad in on an Astro Van.

5th May 2009, 22:54

We recently retired our 1988 Ford Escort GT at 21 years old! She still runs well, but the body is rather rusty and the driver's door has been sticking badly. She's been extremely reliable and economical over the years, and we hated to replace her, which we just did with a 2000 Ford Focus Wagon SE. We are hoping to sell the Escort to someone who can keep her going since she only has 124,000 miles and still gets about 25 mpg! Great car!!

4th Dec 2009, 22:00

This has been an awesome car, 1988 Ford Escort GT 1.9 h o.

For any idle problems, change out the pick up coil in the distributor. Also try the ignition module. Check all the wiring by the battery and along the motor, I have found things unplugged or burnt wires and plugs.

Tachometer went out in mine also, don't need it LOL. Either way, hands down this car rocks.

Adjusting the timing, also make sure you pull the little cap on the two wire cord on the distributor, this sets up you vacuum. You will fall emissions if you don't unplug, set the timing, turn the car off, then plug it back in.

1993 Ford Festiva, also a hard core car, takes down trees in the woods, when you forget the saw.

I got the two cars Ford made right. I have beat the living crap out of these cars. Pick up a book on the car and do the repairs yourself, it's also something simple.