1996 Ford Escort Sapphire 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland


Cheap throw-away motor for journeys that don't demand more than going A to B


Rear suspension rebound dampening was non-existent.

Ignition issues after only 2 months of ownership.

Not all that comfortable on longer journeys.

General Comments:

This bog standard Ford Escort was for me a very middle of the road car. Everything it did, it did to a just about 'satisfactory' level; nothing special.

The car seemed reliable enough, though it did develop a fueling/injector issue quite soon after purchase, which made the already lack-luster engine even more gutless.

The rear suspension on this model was very poor indeed. Usually you can expect road car suspension to be pretty sloppy (Vauxhall are good at this), but the rear of this Escort bounced around more than Jennifer Lopez's bum at a concert. In the wet this made the car a little unstable unless traveling very slowly; even small undulations would have the rear of the car slipping and threatening to slide.

The interior was dull and functional, with the usual Ford level of trim; it all worked well enough, but that's about it.

This car certainly isn't a spectacular addition to any driveway, but before the fueling problem, and the rear suspension inconsistencies, I would probably own another one. It was reasonably cheap to run and seemed strong enough. The ride was bad and the interior dull, but the Escort never professed to be more than what it was; a bog standard family car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2013

11th Jan 2013, 19:29

I think you are being a little harsh on this car - it is 13 years old and it might have been used for towing, or maybe the rear shocks need replacing.

1996 Ford Escort 1.9 from North America




Multiple exhaust leaks.

Major rust in floor and quarter panels.

RPM's are very high on the highway; around 3,000 going 110kmh.

General Comments:

The car has no get up. Gears are tall, and it doesn't shift till 5500 RPM if the pedal is to the metal.

Gas mileage is pretty good in the city. Averages about 500km on 40L of gas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2012

27th May 2012, 09:20

With multiple exhaust leaks + major rust in the floors, it's a miracle that you have survived driving this thing for six years to be able to write a review of it!

1996 Ford Escort LX 1.9 from North America


This car gets a definite thumbs down


Power window switch.

Fuel filter.

Fuel pump.


All of which is just normal for any car, but... the next issue is:


General Comments:

Had an Escort of the same year before my Subaru, and really had no issue with it. Once I inherited the Subaru, I sold the Escort. So when my Subaru packed it in at 460,000 Kms, I bought another Escort to replace it 4 months ago.

3 months were without issue. My expectations weren't all that great. I just wanted something to do point A to point B.

1 month ago, I went to close the passenger's window using the switch on the driver's door (power windows), and the switch disintegrates. No biggie, I can still reach across and open and close it that way.

3 weeks ago, I went to go to work one morning. Put it in gear, and the car kicked and bucked like a wild horse with a hangover and a bad attitude. This was completely out of the blue.

Press the accelerator hard, and it bogs like it's starving for power. Let off the throttle a bit and the power comes back. Press down and it's gone again. Gear down manually (automatic transmission) and the power seems to be there, but back into drive and give it gas, and it bogs.

Along with that, it idles OK, but in gear the idle gets rough. Put the defroster on when in gear and the idle gets REAL rough (see bad attitude horse with drinking problem analogy).

But no check engine light.

Took it to the shop. First we replaced the fuel filter and it ran better for about 4 hours. Then back to running like crap. Next week changed the fuel pump, because the pressure numbers were on the low side. No change. In fact it was probably worse.

Next week, changed the battery because it was testing as BAD, and the mechanic said he'd seen it before that a bad battery caused this sort of problem. So, installed the new battery - no change.

Next thing to check I'm told is the MAF sensor, but it's going to be a couple of hundred bucks to find out, and since there's no check engine light, it's only a guess that it'll fix it. The mechanic was skilled in the way he suggested that I might want to reconsider putting more money into this thing.

Without a check engine light to give you those error codes, it seems it becomes a matter of replacing sensors until you find the right one. If that doesn't work and you've already spent more than the car is worth, it becomes time to start chasing electrical problems. At that point the car is an intolerable money pit.

Took it to a Ford service centre. They wanted a blank cheque to go look at what they said "could be a thousand things". I walked out.

I'm now in the process of looking for another car, that hopefully won't be an undiagnosable nightmare when it goes wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd November, 2011

27th Nov 2011, 16:31

Did you ever get it scanned for trouble codes? Maybe the bulb for the CEL is burnt out.

You could also temporarily exchange the ECM for a known good one to see if anything changes, or if it gives you the codes needed.

23rd Mar 2013, 16:07

This is an addition to my original review. Currently over 200K kms.

I haven't been here for a while now, so I'll update my experience with it. I have to say I've done a complete reversal on the vehicle and change my rating to thumbs up. The initial problem I was having was with the coil. That and two hoses on the EGR valve that were crossed. How that happened, I'll never know. A Ford dealer replaced the coil and swapped the vacuum lines. It ran like a champ again for another year. It's an old car and I know I'm probably its last owner, but now it's impressing me like crazy. A dealer that wasn't a Ford dealer for some reason had trouble diagnosing that coil issue.

Lately I've been told it has a leaky head gasket as evidenced by the steam coming up from under the hood on cold days while it's transitioning from cold to warm, and a coolant level that consistently drops slowly. The thing is, if it is a head gasket I'm amazed that it just keeps going like it does. Once it warms up though, the steam disappears and it just runs. I keep an eye on the temp gauge, and I know one day that steam will turn into a huge cloud, but meanwhile I'm pretty happy with it.

23rd Mar 2013, 16:15

Yes I did, several times, which was part of my frustration. The codes revealed engine misfire - which was already obvious.

The repair shop I was dealing with seemed to be unable to tell me anything more than that. Later I did find a more reasonable Ford dealer (who didn't need a blank cheque to open the hood) and they diagnosed a weak coil and two vacuum hoses on the EGR that were crossed.

The new coil repaired the problem.

24th Mar 2013, 16:23

I hate seeing reviews of 17-year-old cars that give such negative impressions of an entire brand. The Escort has proven to be a very solid and reliable car. With very rare exceptions, all Ford vehicles are extremely reliable.

Since 1972 we have owned a number of cars from Ford, GM and Chrysler, including one Escort. All of them have been trouble-free and very well-built vehicles.

As for ever taking a car to a dealer service department, DON'T. I once took my V-8 Mustang to a local Ford dealership for a tune-up, thinking they were experts and would do a better job. I picked up the car and got a bill for $1016. Never again!!