1991 Ford Escort LX 1.4 from UK and Ireland


Average family car


The carburettor needed tuning as the engine was idling too fast.

Bad oil leak on engine sump gasket.

The heating sometimes does not work.

Faulty headlight switch.

General Comments:

This car is not bad for a 1.4 LX.

This car is an ideal family car and is light on fuel.

Cheap insurance too!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2004

9th Feb 2004, 20:35

We have a 98 zx2 and it has been threw wrecks and a texas flood and still runs like new.

1991 Ford Escort LX 1.5 from North America


After this experience, I will never own a Ford again


Head gasket blew at about 55000 miles.

Air conditioner blew shortly after head gasket.

Battery shorted out and took alternator with it about 130000 miles.

Fuel pump went out about 140000 miles.

Electrical system for the passenger compartment has had problems throughout my period of ownership. First the dome light went, then the radio/tape player, then the dashboard lights all went.

Batteries wear out much too quickly. I've put three in this car in five years, and mechanics don't seem to be able to figure out why.

Engine started leaking oil very badly this month, cause unknown. Battery (less than a year old) is again dead, also cause unknown. I won't spend any more money trying to keep this car going. This vehicle will shortly be sold for junk.

General Comments:

I realize 153000 is a lot of miles for an inexpensive economy car, but even so, I must say this vehicle's reliability was frustratingly poor.

Comfortable seats and fuel economy was good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th November, 2003

6th Nov 2003, 08:12

You said it about 153000 miles. Come on mate, what do expect from a 12 year old car?

23rd Nov 2003, 19:57

Sounds like this car hasn't been maintained very well by the previous owner, from reading all that stuff about the gaskets. Still though, you can't complain that it is unreliable. Even well maintained, these engines are only supposed to last about 100,000 miles. Even Zetec's are only supposed to last about 150,000. Granted though, I do imagine your car is at the end of its life.

1991 Ford Escort LX 1.9L from North America


A good car for the price if you take care of it


Automatic transmission locked in 3rd gear. Dealer couldn't find problem and wanted to replace the transmission. I discovered it was the transmission computer - got a used one for $50.

Timing belt snapped around 180 000km. I should have been proactive and replaced it earlier. Good news - no valve damage.

Air conditioning stopped working - bad relay.

C/V joint boots crack regularly and axles need replacing when they get dirty.

Bad rust around rear wheel wells - even with regular wash/wax.

Throttle cable snapped at 300 000km. Things like this are expected at that age, I guess.

General Comments:

The car has been relatively dependable if regular maintenance is kept up.

Most of the major problems have been electrical/computer related.

Not happy with the rust after about 8-10 years.

Excellent on ice and snow.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st October, 2003

1991 Ford Escort Encore 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Cheap and cheerful motoring


Corrosion problems (not an unusual experience on a British made Ford) in one of the sills requiring some welding for the MoT test.

A new clutch at 99150 miles. Not bad as it doesn't appear to have been done before.

On acquiring the car the tailgate wiper and heated rear screen had failed. This was traced to a faulty earth.

Coolant temperature sensor needed replacing - temperature gauge was reading too low.

Some of the interior plastic trim has cracked and needs replacing.

A set of 4 new Fulda tyres (German Goodyears) and adjustments to the tracking improved the handling no end.

General Comments:

The 1.3 engine is just starting to use a bit of oil - not exactly unexpected on a 99k mile Ford - and emissions are a bit higher than I think they should be, but are still under the MoT CO and particulate limits. No catalytic converter makes things a bit less complicated here.

I was a bit concerned that the engine sounded a bit 'tappety' when I first got it, but after checking the valve clearances a couple of times concluded this was not the cause. Subsequent conversations with Ford mechanics, suggest that the top end noise of the 1.3 HCS engine is perfectly normal and was present even when new. I have leaned to live with it now.

In spite of being the smallest and oldest engine fitted to the Mk4 Escorts, at 99k plus miles it is still quite nimble and capable of a decent turn of speed. The five speed gearbox, an option I believe, keeps the revs down on the motorway and ensures fuel consumption is around 35 mpg plus. Considering the age and mileage, the gearbox remains slick and smooth, a strong point with most Fords. The clutch is light too.

Although the Encore lacks power steering, the steering feels light enough not to notice, even when parking in tight places.

The thing that concerns me most about the Escort (and Fords in general) is the unbelievably poor level of rust protection. I was amazed to see how poorly the original paint was applied to the car - a blind chimp with Parkinson's Disease could have done a more competent job. Many parts of the underbody, including some structural points, were never finished with a topcoat and not surprisingly corrosion has taken hold there. At best I think the car has a life expectancy of two years now before it becomes uneconomic and unacceptable to patch with welds. Problem areas seem to be in the sills and around the rear wheel arches. A recent visit to a breakers yard suggests that H, J and K plate Escorts (and Fiestas too) can get horribly and dangerously rusty, so I'm pleased that my one is nothing like as bad as it could be. My solution is a liberal application of Waxoyl to the underside to slow down the effects of the tin worm. It just shows what utter bollocks Ford's strap line "Designed for Living. Engineered to Last." really is. Do they really think we're so stupid?

To sum it all up, the 1.3 Encore is a neat little package, cheap to run and with very few vices. The solid little 1.3 engine is a doddle to service if not quite so sophisticated at the later 1.4 versions. With blue metallic paint, a sunroof, a neat looking tailgate spoiler, my 18 year-old daughter, for whom it was bought, is more than happy drive it. With relatively low insurance costs, it is ideal as a first car.

Having cost just £200 to buy and around £300 to get in good shape, you can't really complain can you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th September, 2003