1988 Merkur XR4Ti 2.3 turbo from North America
Most useful, fun, fast, balanced and STRONG car ever made
Neutral sensor when new.
Turbo gauge when new.
Gauge cluster at 80,000.
Stopped..hit from behind with 50 mph closure... pushed me into a stopped LTD. LTD and VW carried off on car carriers with bumpers on the ground. My lights were not even broken. New bumpers only. STRONG!!!
Window motor at 100,000.
Water pump at 105,000.
Struts and shocks at 110,000.
Brakes at 113,000.
Head gasket at 118,000 (replaced head while in there.. it had some cracking on exhaust seats) Unable to feel ring groove! Still hone marks on cylinder walls. Microlon and Slick 50 every 30,000.
Timing belt at 125,000 (PS pump leak ate it)
Water pump at 140,000.
Cruise control at 140,000.
Heater core at 140,000.
Air conditioner hose at 140,000 (had braided replacement made in Newport Beach... put asbestos heat shield on it)
Timing belt tensioner at 150,000.
5th gear at 155,000..clutch starting to slip.
Exhaust burned through at 155,000.
Half shaft boots rotted at 155,000.
Rotors replaced at 155,000.
I love this car. Best combination of utility and sport I have ever seen. I cannot find a replacement car that has this balance of sport and usefullness.
Folding rear seats make rear as big as a pickup... amazing what I can buy and haul home in this thing.
Love the "whoosh" of power in 5th for passing.
Wish I could buy a new one.
High maintenance car... always has something going wrong with it.
But, it still looks showroom new inside and out. Black/black. Sigh...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th June, 2001
Might want to try a late 70s svo mustang they have the same engine, if you looking for another car similar to it.
SVO Mustangs appeared in 1984 and cannot compare to a Merkur XR4Ti in any way. The only similarity is the engine (and even they aren't exactly the same). SVOs were bare essentials, point and shoot, straight line accelerators, where as the Merkurs were much more refined corner carvers. I currently own 3 Merkurs, a 1987 (1st owner), 1988, and 1989. The 87 is stock and mint, EVERYTHING works and only 25K miles. These will drive circles around most cars on the road today period! It was probably the pinnacle of (Ford's) 1980s tech. I've loaded up the extremely spacious hatch in my 88, driven to the track, turned low 13's (with VERY MINOR upgrades, under $1500). Great Bang-For-The-Buck.
Because the geniuses at Ford of North America decided to market it under the Mercury line. Making matters worse, at the end of the 80's the 2.3T Ford engine format was running the risk of surpassing the coveted 5.0l in HP so they nixed the whole program, altogether.
No more SVOs, XR4Tis, or Turbocoupes
And the 5.0 Mustang putters along.
Is that the same 2.3 turbo four cylinder found in the Thunderbird of the mid to late eighties? I had one of those, and it was nowhere near the car my friend's Mercur XR4ti was.
Agree with the 3 car XR buff. These cars had semi trailing independent suspension in the rear quite similar to BMW and Porsche.
The car was marketed wrong for the US. The car had a relatively expensive price tag at that time as it was an import, so people figured for a few thousand more... might as well buy a BMW. So no prestige is what took the car out of the market.
If you want American muscle or European agility well... that's what you went for...
Today you have much less distinction as the lines have been crossed, but back in the 80's it was one or the other, and no one knew what this car was.
I rallied this car hard for 150k miles. Bought it almost new. Nothing could beat it for the price and versatility.