1990 Ford Escort LX 1.9 E.F.I. from North America


A good economical car for a family just starting out


At 16,000 miles, front passenger side tie-rod replaced.

At 40,000 miles, transmission started leaking fluid. Needed to be resealed.

At 64,000 miles, replaced timing belt.

At 90,000 miles, started a long series of troubles with emission control system, (i.e.;replacing Exhaust Gas Regulation valve; replacing throttle-position sensor several times, etc.).

At 115,000 miles, replaced multi-function switch in steering column.

At 124,000 miles, replaced timing belt.

At 153,000 miles, replaced multi-function switch again.

At 160,000 miles, replaced timing belt.

At 182,000 miles, driver's side seat broke down. Switched it with the passenger side seat.

At 193,000 miles, car finally said "No more!".

General Comments:

All in all, this car has been quite reliable.

With the exception of the emission control issues, (far too complex for such a small car; impossible for a shade tree mechanic to diagnose or fix), and the VERY poorly thought-out timing belt design, (you have to raise the engine to remove the timing belt), this car has been mechanically strong.

It's a nice car to drive. A lot of quickness for a four cylinder. The front seats are very comfortable, but the back seats have NO leg-room. They might be fine for kids, but not adults.

The bumpers are very strong. The car was rear-ended four times with no discernible effect.

The paint job is fantastic. The car STILL looks great after a washing and I've never waxed it!

The cooling system was a wonder. It still had the same fluid in it as when I got the car!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th August, 2003

1990 Ford Escort LX 1.9 from North America


Very reliable and would recommend to anyone


The only problems has been fair wear and tear.

Changed the clutch at 90,000 miles.

Oil is changed every 2,000 miles.

Replaced the entire front suspension at 140,000 miles due to wear and tear.

General Comments:

The body parts have been very easy to replace, after having hit a deer.

The ride is really good, but the seats get to feeling hard after about 300 miles.

I currently get about 47 mpg.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th July, 2003

1990 Ford Escort XR3i EFi 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


A good reliable car


Cam seal was leaking lots of oil.

Stem seals needed replacing (x8).

Throttle control sensor needed replacing.

Temperamental idle control valve.

Gearbox replaced.

Rear brake cylinder was leaking.

General Comments:

This car is reasonably quick and economical.

The 90spec spoiler and front bumper is a nice touch compared to the pre-90spec XR3i's.

On bumpy roads suspension is very hard, but corners well on smooth roads.

Have driven a MK4 MFi XR3i and found it is more responsive lower down in the rev band the EFi seems to pick up at about 4000rpm.

Overall a good cheap car and pleasant to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2003

1990 Ford Escort GT 1.8L DOHC from North America


Definitely a true high performance bargain!


The main board on the steering wheel went up supposedly. I don't trust dealers though and that's what they claimed and charged me about $800.00. This board controls all of the accessories on the steering wheel; lights, wipers, cruise. The Second time I ever took it to a dealer and the last. These rip-offs replaced the nice adjustable intermittent wiper switch with a cheaper one that was not adjustable, and I didn't notice it until I was hundreds of miles away and could do nothing about it.

The only other thing that went out was the switch that won't let you start the car without the clutch. Luckily I had my mechanic with me and he hot-wired it, and the next day I installed a 2 dollar pushbutton switch below the dash that acted very nicely as an anti-theft device as well. By the way, when I had it at that dealership they nicely offered to fix that for me for $250.00. I said no thanks I fixed it for $2.50.

Other than that, and for all I know it might not even have been anything, but a fuse, nothing has ever had to be repaired on this car.

My only complaint has ever been that if the windows are opened even a crack when it's raining the water just pours right in. Unfortunately it's the same with the majority of new cars. I'm pretty sure that was the reason that this car although it had every option available, electric mirrors, moon-roof, the works, had manual windows. A minor issue all in all.

The timing belt does need to be replaced at 50k miles. At least the original does. I broke that one at 75k, but it did not damage the motor. That was my one other trip to a dealership. That lovely place charged me for 8 hours of labor to put the new belt on. Surprise, that'll be $800.00. The next four were done by my buddy and myself on the ground on our backs in roughly an hour. I didn't blame the car though because the manual said to change it and I thought (there I go doing that again) that can't be right. Well it was correct. Never had any more problem with that though.

General Comments:

My mechanic who hates Fords, has to eat his hat every time he asks how that little car is running and I tell him, like a top.

It has the original clutch, exhaust front to back, alternator, water pump, virtually everything aside from that one circuit board.

It's never had anything, but Mobil 1 oil and I changed that every once in a while. Sometimes 40k 50k between oil changes.

I traded my 5.0 Mustang in on this car and thought I was trading down. Little did I know that the top end was the same, and with the front wheel drive it handled ten times better. Not to mention stopping pretty quick with the four wheel discs.

The seating is roomier than my friend's 4-door Acura, front and back seats.

I love the automatic seat-belts. Although my girlfriend hates them.

My last trip across the country, I was getting 37 miles to the gallon. It was only rated at 31 highway when it was NEW, and that was with about 265 Thousand miles on her. I'm talking hard even brutal miles that I put every one of on.

Not one spot of rust on the car anywhere. It's lived in Virginia and Maryland through hundreds of snowstorms and here in Seattle in constant rain.

To close all I can say is I'm very glad I found another one to replace it.

I didn't know if it would make it back across the country and this time I had company, so I gave it to my mechanic buddy and bought a 94 he had, with the same engine, essentially the same car, for $1,000 dollars, and this one is like new compared to my worn out little scort, even with 130k on it. The new one got us here without a hiccup and it's running like a top. I never doubted it.

Aside from the few things I listed above, which I'm pretty sure the offensiveness could have been avoided by avoiding dealerships, this car has been amazing!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2003

3rd Mar 2005, 10:32

OK. This escort is not the same top end as a 5.0 Mustang, since a 5.0 Mustang is a 5.0 L.V-8. Your Escort, on the other hand, is a 1.9 L. I-4. And if you paid $800 for a timing belt, you go to the worst dealership I have ever seen. It pays 3.5 hours labor. All told about $540 dollars. They probably charged you so much because they replaced the water pump to (It should be done).

12th Oct 2008, 16:59

I have a 1990 Escort GT, and I have noticed similar issues. It has about 275,000 km on it, so it's getting up there, but has been very reliable.

I had to change the timing belt at about 170,000km. I originally brought it into the shop because of an over heating issue, and they replaced the water pump. While doing this they suggested the timing belt since it was due, and they changed all the belts since many of these things are easier when you have things torn apart in that part of the engine already. The total cost for everything was approx. $600 CA.

Overall the car has been good, even when run hard, and has had regular servicing /tune-ups neglected at times.