2001 Ford Laser LXi 1.6 FI straight 4 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Very easy car, underrated, and a lot of potential

Faults:

Ignition coils failed recently, had to be replaced.

Very slow oil leak (barely noticeable).

Driver's door lock jammed - fixed with WD40.

Front boot latch stopped working.

General Comments:

This car is massively underrated.

Electrical and mechanical reliability is top notch; the ignition coils were the only fault with engine.

The engine is excellent, my dad thinks it's slow, but I've found once it gets above about 4200rpm, you get a jolt of power; must be something in the ECU.

This model has a lot of potential. Handling wise, currently it understeers when it even looks at a fast corner, but it has independent suspension all round, and new springs, shocks and roll bars would turn it into a weapon.

Power wise, also a lot of potential. There's a perfect space for a cold induction with pod filter, and it's a DOHC, so a mild camshaft or turbo would get it moving quite nicely. It's a very common design, so there's probably Lancer parts out there that would fit.

Everyone who's driven this car, including me, has said that it's the easiest car they've ever driven. The gearbox is top notch, and engine isn't lacking, but won't kill you either.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2011

25th Aug 2013, 06:40

I have the same 1.6L, but instead, I have the automatic transmission. I also find it slow at lower RPM. Picks up really well above around 4000 RPM.

If you do any of your own mechanical work such as changing cam belts, I can recommend something to you if you would like to shift the torque to the lower RPM.

I recommend this ONLY for manual transmission cars, and if you don't mind shifting before about 4,000 or just a bit over that mark. It might even save you fuel if you drive it the right way (only for manual), but LOL, you might enjoy the extra power too much to take advantage of it.

Basically, you need to shift the intake camshaft by 10 degrees, so that it opens earlier than than the factory timing.

Some people also advance the exhaust to open earlier, but I did not. I followed in the footsteps of a racer who preferred the torque characteristics on one of the Honda i-VTEC or VTEC engines by focusing more on the inlet. Even with an auto transmission that robs a fair bit MORE power than manual transmissions, the torque improvement was pretty good. It works for me, except the auto wants to keep going to high RPM when I sometimes need it. Hence I only recommend this for manual cars, and also why I would say do not touch the timing of the exhaust camshaft.

Ford Lasers = great value.

2001 Ford Laser GLXI 1.8 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Come on Ford, make another Laser

Faults:

Being a Japanese car based on the Mazda 323 it was extremely reliable in the time I owned it, with the number of kilometers on it you wouldn't expect any.

General Comments:

I had no intention of purchasing this car, I live in a small town and it was the only Laser in the yard, it was in a lovely Green, after the test drive it was in our driveway the next day.

Being top of the line it had a lot of nice features like alloys and a rear centre armrest and upmarket cloth seats.

Very nice to drive, sure it wasn't a rocket with pinpoint steering, but the whole car was perfect for what most people want, extra performance when needed, safety features along with a few luxuries thrown in.

The only negative in my mind was that it was a December 2001 model, so in a few weeks would basically be 1yr old and this particular colour wouldn't make it into next year's pallet. But these weren't enough to change my mind.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd July, 2005

30th Jan 2006, 07:53

Have owned 3 Mazda 323 in the last 5 years and these cars are just fantastic... very under rated and extremely good value for money. Just put a deposit down on a laser and looking forward to drive it soon...

20th Apr 2010, 03:54

OK car, but has encountered problems with the cam belt timing & pullies, has dropped 3 cam belts, tensioners ever since it was replaced at 100,000kms, which suggests to me that the replacement Ford/Mazda parts are of inferior quality to those of the original.

16th Apr 2013, 23:28

I had a similar problem with my new Ford Laser concerning the ignition coils. Bought the car second hand with very low kilometres, drove it home and everything was running perfectly, then I de-greased the engine and washed it out with a normal garden hose (just doing a general cleanup of a new car), and after that the coils must have been damaged; some pistons weren't firing properly or at all.

Couldn't fix the problem myself, and ended up replacing them and blowing a good few hundred dollars. :'(

25th Aug 2013, 06:10

Regarding the commment;

"has dropped 3 cam belts, tensioners ever since it was replaced at 100,000kms"

While inferior quality parts could very well be the cause, I wonder if it might be something else. Was the tension pulley replaced (along with the spring), and was it positioned to achieve tension at or WITHIN the levels set by the manufacturer. Considering how ludicrously expensive the manuals are for these cars, it wouldn't surprise me if some mechanics may be setting the tension on these at incorrect levels by perhaps guessing "I reckon it's about right".