1998 Ford Escort ZX2 2.0 Liter Zetec DOHC from North America


This car should be called the Ford Escort 'RX7' instead of 'ZX2' :^)!


Coolant is leaking from somewhere; have to keep topping it off for the heat to work properly.

"Service engine soon" light comes on sometimes during hard acceleration or when going up/down a hilly road; P0302/P0303 DTCs pop up when this happens.

Horn stays honking unless I pull the fuse; turns out the horn pad's worn out.

General Comments:

I bought this car for $950 from CL: I was looking for a 4 cylinder with manual transmission and chose this one out of many. Although it needs some TLC (it seems the previous owner just left it sitting), the work that it needs is very minor (tires/alignment, new battery terminal,etc). No biggie since I'm a mechanic :^)!

Because it's a Ford 'Escort', I was only expecting it to be an economy car; man was I wrong! The way that this thing handles, man! It reminds of a Mazda RX7 from the late 80s; I believe Mazda had something to do with the chassis tuning if I'm not mistaken. The Zetec engine is pretty cool too; some think it's too loud, but I love it! It feels like it has 150-160 HP, not 'just' 130. Or maybe it's because the car is so small/light, plus I don't have the weighty extras like power windows/locks/mirrors/cruise control... sounds like the perfect tuner car to me :^)!

I would say the only disappointment about this car is that I'm 6ft 3, so the interior is a bit small, but because of the great driving experience, I'm willing to overlook it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th February, 2015

1998 Ford Escort LX 2.0L from North America


Good car, for the price. Nothing fancy, but didn't expect it to be


For state inspection, after purchase, it needed:

Brake pads and rotors, all the way around.

Front and rear sway bars.

A tie rod.

General Comments:

My girlfriend bought this car at an auction for Verizon fleet vehicles, for $600.00. The repairs listed above were around $600.00.

We just came back (to Pennsylvania) from North Carolina, in the Escort, and I have to say that, apart from the unrefined engine (it shudders at idle, and isn't the quickest thing off the mark), I was impressed with the way it handled and that it wasn't uncomfortable (it isn't a Cadillac, so I didn't expect anything plush).

For an old fleet car, it isn't fancy (crank windows, no cruise control, etc.), but it did get an average of 30 MPG (at mostly 70-75 mph... gotta love those Southern speed limits).

Her other car is an '04 Miata, mine is an '03 Celica, and the Escort, obviously, has more room than either of those... I'll try to keep a commentary going, from time to time, on how the Escort does. So far, we're both pleased.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th August, 2012

24th Aug 2015, 12:16

Well, it's 2015 and we let the Escort go. Can't really complain about the vehicle, it was used mostly for short trips, grocery runs, back and forth to work, etc. Unfortunately, the lack of constant use is what did her in. At the last inspection, it was going to need a complete exhaust system, rotors and pads in the front and, because of lack of use, the emergency brake cable rusted into inoperability. All in all, the total bill would have been close to $1000.00. As the car (according to the Blue Book), was only worth about that, my girlfriend decided to sell it, for $300.00. Not bad, I suppose, when she only paid $600.00 for it. Not a fancy car, but with consistent oil changes and basic maintenance, it did what it was bought to do and now can soldier on for someone else.

1998 Ford Escort SE Wagon 2.0 liter from North America


An excellent little car, that is well built and very reliable


Worn left tie rod required replacement at 145,000 Km.

Crank shaft pulley "walked" from the motor, although that was not really that serious of an event or repair.

General Comments:

I have owned about 37 cars over 31 years of driving, and 4 have been Ford Escorts. My 1998 SE Wagon is my favourite vehicle of all.

As with any vehicle, the key is to maintain it well, particularly with clean fluids. I would suggest that if you have purchased a used Ford Escort, with reasonable mileage that is problematic and unreliable, it has very likely not been maintained well. I have kept all fluids clean at all times, changed the timing belt, kept the engine optimally tuned, etc., and the Escort runs like a new car. I routinely clean the interior (including carpets and upholstery) and always keep a coat of wax on the metallic blue paint.

When the car is in for servicing, technicians and mechanics always comment on its excellent condition, mechanically and cosmetically. There is very little sign of wear on this vehicle anywhere or in any regard.

Keeping the car maintained and clean is a big part of this, however I believe that the Escort is a well built vehicle all around. As mentioned above, the crank shaft pulley did loosen and begin to "walk" from the motor. There was no damage internally at all, and it was a $200 repair bill. This was the only requirement where the Escort had to be taken to the shop for something other than routine maintenance. I was not upset with this repair, as the Escort has been amazingly reliable over the past 4 years, and I can easily forgive this mechanical mishap.

Also, as mentioned above, a tie rod required replacement at 145,000 Km. I have always been aware of the fact that this is a minor weak spot of Escorts, so it was not surprise that it required replacement. I am sure the right rod will need to be done soon as well. But, parts do wear out on all vehicles and machinery in general, and all makes and models and cars seem to have an inherent weakness here and there.

I enjoy driving my little Escort wagon every time I get behind the wheel, whether it's 5 Km to work, 2 Km to drop the kids off to school, 200 Km on a family camping trip, or a 2,000 Km road trip to Drumheller in Alberta to visit the Dinosaur museum. I would drive this car across the country or continent without concern.

If you are considering the purchase of a Ford Escort, certainly do your due diligence and have it checked out thoroughly by an qualified mechanic. If it has a clean bill of health, buy the car and continue with a well structured maintenance schedule.

Take good care of the Escort, and the Escort will happily return the good care back to you for many years, and many reliable and trouble free miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th May, 2012

9th Sep 2017, 09:28

Update! This is an update on my 1998 Ford Escort SE Wagon. I still have it, 5 years after my last entry (coming up to a total of 9 years of ownership in 6 weeks). This car has been amazing. It has been incredibly reliable, and is still running strong with 215,000 km. I have had a few more tie rods installed, but that's it. The Escort is essentially all original, including the exhaust system - that's right, I have not even replaced a muffler on this car. The starter, radiator, alternator, and suspension, etc are all original. Maybe the car will blow up all at once, but it is still running strong, without burning a drop of oil. The transmission shifts well, although a bit hard in the cold months at times. The suspension, both front and back, is tired and requires replacement. But given that she is near 20 years old, I probably won't bother putting any money into her. I will continue to drive the Escort as long as I am able to do so, reliably and safely. Best car I've ever had.