1998 Ford Escort ZX2 Hot Sport 2.0 16v from North America


A sports-car that dreams of being more than it has the capability


Cigarette lighter didn't work from day one.

Multi-switch for lights/signals/wipers went out at 24k. Fixed under warranty.

Inside left door handle came off in my hand around 30k.

Transmission started shifting funny around 38k, took it to dealer who adjusted the shift points.

At 62k the right side wheel bearing self-destructed.

At 76500 the transmission self destructed.

General Comments:

While under warranty, this was a relatively cheap car to own. But when the major mechanicals start going, you're looking at major expenses. The transmission currently needs to be replaced be cause it blew a seal and ground to a halt. $1800, that's almost as much as the car is worth.

The interior is cheap both in appearance and workmanship. The rear seatbelts are prone to jamming if you are not extremely gentle on them.

The car handles like it's on rails however and with a few modifications is a real mover. The car has about 180 HP now (127 stock) and before the transmission gave out was a heck of a mover.

My car is lightened (2250 lb) and with 180 HP, it can blow away many bigger more powerful cars such as Mustang GT's, Z28's and the like. Matter of fact there's not a Honda in town that'll race it.

All said, I have mostly enjoyed ownership of this car, but am quite less than impressed with the quality of the parts that Ford put into it. Mostly because their Mazda division's Protoge` which this car is based on comes equipped with much stronger, otherwise identicle parts and many of them are cheaper.

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

Review Date: 14th October, 2003

14th Jun 2005, 10:06

At 39K miles, the backup light switch (which is screwed into the transmission) went out. In order to replace it, I had to drain the transmission oil, replace the plug and then refill with new transmission fluid. At 115K miles, my front, right wheel bearing has disintegrated.

10th Aug 2005, 20:02

1998 zx2 sport fully loaded.

At 50k km (first new car I bought) found out stock tires suck. only thing I had to replace. at 63k km still going great. just need a expansion pack for raising the roof for my friends over 5' 8".

1998 Ford Escort CL Estate 1.8 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Don't pay a lot for, or expect a lot from what can only ever be cheap and cheerful transport


Power steering pump 45,000 miles.

Cold start wax-stat went making starting in the cold very difficult.

Drivers seat sagged badly - making it very uncomfortable for my lower back.

Various trim on back seats came away and required gluing/refitting.

The large pipe from the air filter to the turbo perished causing a whisting noise on acceleration. 50,000.

A solenoid on the injector pump went leaving the engine running very erratically and lots of smoke! 50,000 miles.

Clutch pedal automatic adjuster disintegrated on a round-about leaving me with no clutch! Had to be towed to a garage. 55,000 miles.

2 days later the windscreen wiper linkage broke as it was heavily warn leaving me with no wipers! 55,000 miles.

Front suspension bushes became quite soggy and needed bottom wishbones/bushes replacing.

Front brakes ceased and made knocking noises on braking 60,000 miles.

CV joint 60,000 miles.

Quite a lot of rust starting underneath.

General Comments:

Fuel economy was great, I could get over 50 mpg with it fully laden on long runs and 40 mpg on local runs.

The brakes were never good, and the front calipers kept ceasing and knocking, they should probably have been replaced.

The mechanical problems were all unexpected/disappointing for a car with pretty low mileage and only 3 years old.

The driver's seat was very uncomfortable and I had to get a foam backed seat cover to try to make it more comfortable.

It was a very practical car and the boot space was better than the Audi 80 Estate I owned previously.

The interior was very plastic, but at least it didn't have lots of materials that pretended to be anything else (i.e fake carbon fiber or fake wood).

The corrosion was also disappointing particularly round the rear suspension.

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

Review Date: 21st August, 2003