Blew a wheel cylinder whilst on the Mot ramp.
Heater control cable comes off in the foot well.
Driver's seat backrest quite flimsy and coming apart.
Rear chassis rails and floor pan had to be welded.
Top of fuel tank almost rusted through.
Automatic choke occasionally floods engine and has to manually held open by removing air filter.
Driver's electric window gets stuck near the top when being raised - has to be pushed away from seal.
Once randomly had no acceleration for ten minutes.
The interior is quite well thought out and comfy for such a cheap car. There is a fair bit of road noise, but the engine and transmission are quiet from the inside and it is surprisingly good for long motorway trips.
The engine itself is a nightmare; whilst it never completely breaks down it has a constant cycle of oil leaks, the tappets rattle, it runs lean high rpm and the acceleration is pathetic - it lost at the lights to a Peugeot 106 1.0 with four gears. The vacuum-operated power valve on the carb never actually kicks in properly so hills are a third-gear job; second if particularly steep. The gear ratios seem to be meant for a car with twice the power and the shift action is vague and saggy.
The rear wiper is temperamental and doesn't always work.
The handling is reasonable at most; decent front suspension is spoilt by a saggy gas-damped beam-axle at the back, which could really do with an anti-roll bar.
The manual steering is slow and gives no feedback, unlike the superior manual steering on the mk2 Golf I just bought, or indeed my old Riley Elf, which handled better on its rubber cones and actually has better torque from its forty year-old 1-litre engine!
The Escort has proven itself to be a car that always gets me where I'm going, as long as I'm in no rush and don't mind various small things going wrong.
Overall these cars are quite decent as long as they are undersealed before they rot, but do NOT go for the 1.4 engine as it is a horrible design.