1988 Ford Laser KE GL Hatch 1.6 from Australia and New Zealand
Look after one of these and it will look after you
Top radiator tank ruptured at 175,000km.
Indicator stalk came loose at 190,000km.
Thermostat housing corroded, needed replacement.
Front spoiler came loose at 210,000km.
Rear wiper stopped working at 180,000km.
Air conditioner fan developed noise at 215,000km and died at 235,000km.
Driver's seat backrest collapsed at 225,000km.
Classic 'bubble-back' shape, still looks pretty spiffy after almost 15 years on the road.
Has a lot of pep for an engine of its size.
Bulletproof engine and drive train that is an absolute doddle to work on.
Is happy to take the occasional thrashing provided that you keep it well maintained.
Drives like a go-kart: you sit very low to the ground, the steering is very direct and well weighted.
Excellent handling and reasonable ride.
Air-conditioning is very effective, however the constant cutting in and out of the compressor in economy mode takes some getting used to.
Excellent fuel economy, even when hampered by a 3 speed automatic and someone who drives with considerable enthusiasm.
Copious quantities of this model and its sedan, wagon and convertible (Mercury Capri) brothers in Australia make for a lifetime of cheap secondhand parts.
Irritating little component failures (switchgear, electrics etc.
Most parts are cheap, but there is the occasional high-priced part (AUD$320 for a new indicator/wiper stalk set installed by my local Ford dealer!)
Works a LOT better as a manual than as an auto.
Those god-awful pink graphic decals the dealer inflicted on this particular example.
The sharp depreciation that occurred as a glut of 2 and 3 year old Hyundais hit the Australian used car market about 6 months after I bought the Laser. :/
This example probably had a hard life before I got my hands on it and has probably had more component failures than most KE series Lasers.
Even if the occasional piece of cabin hardware goes pear shaped, the fundamentals will just keep going.
Find one that has been cherished, keep the maintenance up, and it will be a faithful companion for many years to come.
Just like a Mazda 323, only crunchy.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th January, 2002
OK, 1989 model, only dealer serviced ONCE, had about 3 more services since then, and 250,000 kilometres later, as well as three major crashes, I'm thinking of finally sending my laser to the big junkyard in the sky.
The only problem I've had was that the distributor relay (I think) was playing up everytime it got hot. So car ran fine until it got up to normal temps, then it would conk out. Apart from that, not a thing wrong. Fuel consumption is a little high for a 1.6 SOHC 5spd manual, but that's probably because mine is on the original pistons and rings.
If I could buy a brand new one today I certainly would. Perfect first car and I'm happy that it got hand passed on to me.