1988 Merkur XR4Ti 2.3 I4 turbo from North America


Happiness needn't cost much


Water pump at about 30k miles.

Clutch at about 80k miles, and I'm easy on it.

Clutch pedal return spring, what a pain.

Ford's infamous ignition module, source of a class-action lawsuit they lost.

Starter at 110k miles.

Radiator hoses, which aren't cheap - $50 US for lower hose.

Dash electrics are buggy. Bulbs of controls/switches have dimmed or died, clock died, dash warning lights flicker on intermitantly.

General Comments:

Pro: Acceleration -- whoosh! Kept up with a new BMW 3 series in straight line recently, though it killed me at a corner. Interior - superb. Accessories (power, heated seats, etc) - very nice. Oddness (in USA) - something I like. Shifter and clutch feel - very good.

Con: Handling not spectacular like other reviewers have said. I wonder what they are comparing it to. I find it rolls a bit much. I used to take my Alfa through the mountains at speeds I would never consider in the Merkur. Also - Rear drum brakes - boo! Car is awful in snow/ice. It's time for a different car for me, but sadly I can't think of anything affordable that will match my Merkur!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th July, 2002

30th Nov 2002, 10:06

Hey man... i just learned how sucky these cars are in snow/ice...did a 360 the other night and came 5 inches away from hitting a concrete wall...lucky! as for your comment on rolling too much... this is a notorious ford problem, every ford I've been in tips way too much at turns...AJ.

28th Aug 2003, 13:39

They must have Americanized the XR4ti if it rolls too much in turns. I bet the German version handles just fine.

13th Aug 2004, 11:12

Although I don't own one, I would not think the xr4ti would be exceptionally good on snow and ice, as I believe they have RWD and a traction lock rear end. If you break traction, you do it with both wheels and the rear end starts to fishtail.

Not all Fords roll excessively in corners. I have one of the early Taurus SHOs and it is dead flat in corners. I would considering trying to figure out how to lower the xr4ti and put in heavier anti-roll bars. (Glad to know this because I am looking at buying an xr4ti right now).

1988 Merkur XR4Ti 2.3 liter turbo from North America


The best car Ford has ever made


Windshield replaced due to pitting 2000.

Windshield replaced again due to cracking (do NOT glue the mirror on the windshield with regular mirror glue, get the right stuff from someone.)

Cruise stopped working before I bought it in 1992.

Turn signal part inside steering column broke 2001.

Throttle position sensor replaced in 1994.

Leather seats recovered on driver side due to stitching pulling loose.

Several cooling system hoses replaced over the duration of ownership.

A/C has always been marginal and freon leaks out within 6 mos. or a year.

Brakes & clutch replaced - very high mileage.

General Comments:

This is by far the best car I have ever owned or seen for LA freeway use. It is very fast, handles and rides well, and durable except for minor stuff. Provided that you know cars mechanically, so that when something goes wrong (i.e., broken cooling hose) you know what to do.

If the air conditioning could be economically brought up to new car standards I would maintain and keep these cars forever. I actually own three of them, two on the road and one that was the original car I bought in 1992 that is relegated now to a parts car. (The information above is kind of a composite of things that have gone wrong with all three cars.)

These cars have traveled over 300,000 miles with me driving them and have been amazing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2002

1988 Merkur XR4Ti 2.3 turbo from North America


Love it. I wish I could buy a new one, today.


From the stories I have heard, I have been quite lucky with my XR4. Though, these were my problems:

Rotors kept warping and needed replacement.

Sensors would fail. e.g. coolant level, front disc break warning light, oil pressure, fuel level and temp gauges, parking break indicator.

I got leaks in the radiator, head gasket, rocker arm cover gasket. My mechanic told me that the leaks are small, so I just top up the fluids.

My cooling fan was not switching on when the car got hot so I started blowing hoses every few months until I got it fixed.

I lost my A/C because the heat from the turbo fried the compressor hose.

Nothing mechanical really. I do need a new steering rack, but I drives fine the way it is.

General Comments:

Like all other Merkur owners, I just love this car. I have had it for about 13 years and do not plan on every getting rid of it. I want to buy another one for spare parts.

The car drives like a dream. Smooth, quick, and handle great. Though, I have had problem driving the car in some snow storms (who cares?).

The car is very comfortable and its cargo capacity is only out matched by a cube van.

The styling of the car still looks modern.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2002