1989 Mercury Topaz Reviews

1989 Mercury Topaz GS AWD 2.3 from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.3 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired131000 miles
Most recent distance147000 miles
Previous carSaturn SL

Summary:

Since owning this car, it has never left me beside the road yet

Faults:

I changed the alternator last month (which was the original), along with the weather cracked belt.

I have changed the four universal joints in the rear every year for three years.

I have replaced all of the brakes except for the master cylinder and the rear hoses last week.

Four months ago I had the rear wheel bearings replaced; the mechanic didn't know there was a spacer behind the bearing, and ruined a set of of them torching them out. Then we waited a week for new wheel bearings, because not everyone has these on hand; they have to be ordered.

Two months ago I replaced the head lights, I could not see more than five feet in front of me with my old yellow, dim, weather cracked head lights.

It also has water leaking in the trunk, due to the sun shrunken weather stripping around the rear window.

About twice a year my alternator belt starts squealing and needs to be tightened.

It also needs a new carrier bearing, which the dealerships no longer produce. I will probably have to have one made by a machinist.

It also needs front wheel bearings.

The paint is weather cracked on the sides, and just about the entire roof is covered in surface rust, so needs paint work.

General Comments:

Handles great, and the suspension has really held in there.

AWD parts are hard to find, and rear suspension parts.

I also really enjoy the push button AWD, it handles great in the snow.

Great mileage if you stay up on the maintenance.

This car is still in good shape for its age; just surface rust, I'll say it again, with maintenance.

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

Review Date: 22nd May, 2011

1989 Mercury Topaz GS 2.3 HSC from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.3 HSC Automatic
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 miles
Most recent distance92500 miles
Previous carGeo Prizm

Summary:

Reliable tank

Faults:

Automatic transmission slips badly in 1st gear only.

Front wheel bearings and struts were shot when I bought it.

Passenger's side automatic seatbelt does not work.

Lower ball joints need replaced, so it wears tires badly on the outer edges.

Emergency brake cable is snapped (previous owner??)

Needed valve cover gasket.

Needs oil pan gasket.

Wiper switch needs to be jiggled to work.

Front and rear brake systems shot due to previous owner's driving habits.

General Comments:

This car was purchased by my girlfriend's dad as a last resort after she wrecked her last car. She is in college and needed something to drive there, so they bought this thing for $900. He failed to notice that the slip in first gear was so bad that the car cannot beat a bike across an intersection.

The warped rotors on the front of the car produced a loud clunking noise and a pulsating brake pedal when the brakes were applied, and the worn rear brake shoes squealed.

The driver's side half-shaft boot was ripped, causing it to ruin the outer CV joint.

Both front wheel bearings were shot, as were the struts, as I mentioned above.

After fixing most of those things, the car still handles like a boat.

It is fairly large inside, and both the front and rear seats are comfortable.

The stock Ford stereo system is simply amazing, and sounds superior to my (fairly cheap) aftermarket Sony that I have installed in my Saturn.

The car's transmission has a worn band (or bad 1st gear band actuator), so I cannot really accurately judge the performance of this car. I must step on the gas pedal as if there is an egg shell between my foot and the pedal, to make sure the transmission does not slip, causing the engine to rev madly and it to wear the band further.

On the highway it has good to decent pickup if you floor it, causing it to shift back down into second briefly. The 3 speed ATX automatic really is a joke on the highway, running at nearly 5000 rpm at 70 mph.

The engine is strong, and revs freely and willingly in neutral, even after 92,000 (or 192,000, miles unknown since odometer may have rolled over) miles and 20 years. Fuel economy is bad for this engine size, due to the fact that the car is built like a tank.

I feel like I am driving a small car when I drive my 99 Saturn SL, but this Topaz feels like a fairly large car.

The doors are heavy, giving the car a solid and safe feel, and the trunk is roomy.

In my personal opinion, the car is good looking, but the paint has peeled.

No cup holders are present in this car, except one I grabbed from a newer Topaz at the junkyard and installed into the under-dash console, which is useless when the ashtray is down.

The interior is well laid out, and the window cranks are in exactly the right place for easy access.

The blue cloth seats are firm but comfortable, lacking only lower back support.

Many of this car's problems were due to a careless previous owner, but once everything is fixed, I hope to keep it until it dies... when I can finally convert it to a V-6. Recommended for families or individuals on a budget, but after 20 years, expect a few problems unless the previous owner was careful with it.

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

Review Date: 7th May, 2010

15th Apr 2011, 20:06

This is the owner of the car described above. We still have it, and it is still running... transmission slip is still present, but not getting worse.

101,500 miles now, and fuel economy is a consistent 25 mpg in combined city/highway. Rust has all but taken over the entire car, eating holes through the floorboards and trunk, as well as the lower parts of the doors. It leaks about a quart of oil to 100 miles, and I have determined the leak is coming from the crank seal. I am a busy person (actually an auto mechanic myself) and do not have time to fix it. Buying oil is expensive, but keeps it purring like a kitten (for its age).

I initially hated this car, but it has turned out to be a decent vehicle. I do enjoy driving it, and would recommend it to somebody that it car savvy, as the car's age causes things to break. That said, parts are very inexpensive, and the repairs are easy.

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 7 reviews