1995 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8 from North America


Great overall car for the money, with decent performance


Front upper ball-joint rubber boots torn.

Rattle in the dash around the passenger airbag area.

Headlights turn yellow and dim.

Center brake light in the back window has a melted lense.

General Comments:

The Thunderbird is an excellent car overall and a good bargain on the market. I was looking for a comfortable car, preferably with a V8, and this car fits the bill. I chose the 94+ model over the earlier ones because of the much nicer wrap-around dash interior and the smoother 4.6 engine vs. the older 5.0s.

The T-bird is a rather large car which hefts a lot of weight, so if you're used to compacts, it's not for you. But it has a roomy interior and large trunk which will more than please people used to mid-size cars. The seats are comfortable and the wrap around dash is an excellent design. All controls are logically placed and easily accessible. Exterior design is contemporary looking (although it dates to 89) and the front fascia is rather aggressive looking.

The 4.6 in the Bird is no race engine, but it has more than enough power to get out of its own way and isn't a gas guzzler. I routinely get 21-22mpg with mixed highway/city driving, and have gotten up to 27mpg with strictly highway driving. The transmission's computer controlled shifting can sometimes be rather annoying, and the tranny itself is a weak spot on these cars, but flushing it and refilling with Mercon V and getting a chip which alters shifting makes it much nicer.

The car handles rather well for a "luxobarge" of its size and weight. Once I replaced the sub-par Costco tires the previous owner put on my car with better Michelins, I was truly impressed with how well the car handles and at the speeds it can take California cloverleaf off ramps. The brakes (non-ABS front disc and rear drums on my car) stop the car well, but it's not stellar. These cars are notorious for warping front brake rotors as they're a bit undersized for the car. But they're still effective at stopping the car, and 96-97 Sport model T-birds have larger front brakes.

I haven't had many problems with this car, although I've only driven it just over 10K miles, and it was a well maintained one-owner car before I got it. Problems I've had which are common to these cars include the front headlights dulling and rear center brake light melting. The former was remedied with some polishing compound, and the latter by using smaller light bulbs. I've also noticed that both of my front upper balljoint grease boots are torn. I'll have to get this fixed soon.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with this car and only have a few gripe points:

- Ridiculously low 105mph speed limiter, although this won't concern most people. This was done because of Ford putting low speed-rated tires on the car from the factory.

- Floor mounted parking brake lever interferes with placement of left leg when driving.

- Undersized front brakes, although they stop the car well enough.

- Headlight switch is not lighted. Every other button or switch is.

- Lack of fold-down rear seat with access to the trunk.

- LED lights on the trunklid are prone to failure.

Pretty minor gripes. I'd recommend this car to anyone looking for a vehicle of this type, although the 2-door "personal car" market has all but disappeared.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2002

12th May 2002, 19:37

You hit the nail on the head... Torn upper grease boot on ball joint, my 4th or 5th set of front rotors, tranny, 3rd brake light, headlights (rubbing compound and a good wax help) Here is one... Leave the OEM tire size for the car, I put a set of 235/60's on the factory 15x6.5 rims, and there is a rim roll at high speeds. 215/17 is fine for the car.

1995 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8 from North America


Nice sports coupe with nice power and good comfort at a low cost (something like that)


Just as in another review, the coolant line that runs into the intake manifold had a pin-sized hole (probably from corrosion on the pipe) at about 103,500 miles. I bought a 3/4" heater hose and used it to seal the pipe - it would've cost $400+ for the new intake manifold and someone to reinstall it. I spent roughly $2 on the hose and clamp; I also flushed the system and added new coolant/water mixture.

One week prior to the leaking antifreeze, my mass-air flow sensor failed on the car. Through my father's work, I received a discount, and it cost about $100. Replacing it was self-explanatory and not worth a mechanic doing. But we had to have the car hooked up to a computer to find out the source of the engine problem (about $90 at Ford).

General Comments:

I originally owned a 1985 Nissan 200SX as my first car. We had many mechanical failures with the car, and my father decided I needed a new car. We shopped for a while, and he wanted me to get an economy car, but I had intentions of something with some power. Oh yeah, it had to be rear-wheel drive too. My parents have owned two Thunderbirds before, and after their divorce, my mother purchased an 89'. I never really considered getting one, though.

The search for a new vehicle took about a month. We went and looked at a 95' V6 Thunderbird and would have bought it, but it was sold right before we got there. We, then, went and looked at a 95' Thunderbird LX V8, but the owner would not come down on the price even though the car had some minor flaws and needed replacements. Three or four days later, we went and looked at another 95' Thunderbird LX V8 (which was about 60 miles away from us) and bought it since it was in very good condition. We paid $4100 for the car, which had 97,500 miles approximately on it. The only option it lacked was a sunroof. Now these cars are selling for prices of $3500 or so after September 11, 2001.

The car fills its role as a luxurious sports coupe. I find it very comfortable (more so than my 1985 Nissan 200SX). The leather has worn due to lack of care by the previous owner, but I will probably buy seat covers to minimize the abuse and present a cleaner look for the car. I find the Premium Sound System to sound nice, though, the previous owners seem to have extracted the two rear woofers by the rear window. The climate control is a nice luxury, especially when you do not have to mess with your heater anymore to find the equilibrium between the glass and air. Anyway, the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter are my favorite amenities.

I think the Thunderbird is a nice looking car. Granted, it is longer than most cars. But it sets low with 15" alloy wheels, which now are a little dated, and has an aggressive front fascia with the narrow wrap-around headlights. The tail lights have remained the same for the last 5 years or so, but still define the car. Of course, you can see the V8 badge on the side of the car and dual-exhaust running out the back. Yes, the car does have a nice interior resonance when revved high - above 2500rpms or so the engine becomes more noticeable - but is very civilized in everyday use.

Also, it does have a high weight - approximately 3,500lbs - which takes a little kick out of the V8 and the acceleration, but Ford can't make a car that's faster than the Mustang (Oh no, can't do that). Still, upgrading from an underpowered four-banger Nissan to a full-fledged V8 was nice. It was pleasing when I floored it the first time, and felt the rear-end slip switching into second which put a smile on my face. The only sad thing is, the all Thunderbirds (94-95, and I think even 96-97) are automatics except for the Supercoupe (last made in 95).

Oh yeah, the car is not a bad gas guzzler. I get roughly 23 miles to the gallon, and I will probably get more as soon as I change the fuel filter (it gets better gas mileage than my Nissan did, but that car also had problems).

I am glad to have one of the last made rear-wheel drive vehicles made by the U.S. The Thunderbird is probably one of the least expensive rear-wheel drive cars with a V8 (some with V8s, or you can find those with 145bhp V6) that you can find and buy used. Even if the V8 only produces 205bhp (Original Factory Rating) and 215lbs of torque, it is the same engine used in the GT and Cobra. Ford would never have supercharged the LX with the V8, or else they would be selling a Thunderbird that was faster and probably cheaper than the Cobra. You have to upgrade for the power, but it's less expensive than even buying a used GT or Cobra, and you have a more creature-comfort oriented car. Sorry for the long comment block, but thanks for taking the time to read if you did.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2002