Sporty/performance car; Built in Australia
  • 2-door convertible
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,800*


1991 Mercury Capri


1991 Mercury Capri w/optional hardtop


1990 Mercury Capri


1991 Mercury Capri interior


1993 Mercury Capri

Pros:
  • Acceleration (XR2)
  • Handling
Cons:
  • No antilock brakes
  • Cargo room
  • Noise
  • Rear-seat room

All convertibles are beset with compromises, and Capri has its share. But if the price is right, it might not be a bad buy for fun-in-the-sun motoring.

Overview

Ford of Australia produced this front-drive 4-seat convertible, launched in the summer of 1990 with major components borrowed from the prior-generation Mazda 323. A 100-horsepower, 1.6-liter dual-cam 4-cylinder engine drove base Capris. The sportier XR2 used a 132-horsepower turbocharged variant. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard with either engine; 4-speed automatic optional, but only for base models. All Capris got a driver-side airbag, power steering, all-disc brakes, and fully independent suspension. Antilock braking was not available. An optional lift-off steel hardtop contained interior lights and an electric rear-window defroster.

Yearly Updates

1991 Capri
XR2s got slightly thicker front and rear antiroll bars for 1991.
1992 Capri
New wheels, tires, and cabin trim were installed on the XR2 edition for 1992. Larger tires (195/50R15) on 3-spoke wheels replaced the 185/60R14 rubber, which still was used on the base Capri.
1993 Capri
Except for a new radio, nothing significant was changed.
1994 Capri
A passenger-side airbag came in 1994, along with a mild facelift. Bumpers, headlights, and taillights were new. Outside mirrors switched to body color. New alloy wheels were installed on both models, but the XR2 gained a standard sport suspension. Ford discontinued its imported convertible after the 1994 season.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Both 4-cylinder engines displaced 1.6 liters and featured dual-overhead cams, but the turbocharged version installed in the XR2 produced 32 more horsepower and an extra 41 pound-feet of torque. Five-speed manual shift was standard, and only the base model could be equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission, as an option.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 100
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 95
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
25/31
23/26
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 132
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 136
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

23/28

24.1

Road Test

Acceleration is adequate with the base engine and a lot quicker with the turbocharged XR2. Sadly, the latter suffers from turbo lag and moderate “torque steer.” Shift action with the 5-speed manual transmission is quick and sure, though short gearing makes both engines buzzy.

Capri is nimble, though the nose will plow through a turn if you take it too fast. Handling cannot approach a Miata or Toyota’s MR2, but front-wheel drive makes it easier to handle in tricky situations. The new sport suspension for the ’94 XR2 sharpened its reflexes markedly. Noise levels are high whether the top is up or down.

Tiny it is, but Capris do have a rear seat. All it amounts to, though, is a padded parcel shelf with a hard-upright backrest and very little leg room. Even small children are likely to be uncomfortable. Otherwise, the Capri’s cabin is surprisingly wide and front-seat room is good. The interior has a rather high beltline and the driver faces a tall cowl. Instruments and controls are neatly arranged, on a dashboard that’s straightforward but stodgy. A Capri’s trunk can stow grocery bags standing up, and might hold a weekend’s worth of luggage for a couple. With the convertible top up, you endure large blind spots to rear corners. Also, the plastic back window is prone to scratches and wrinkles.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Mercury Capri XR2

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 1
10%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 34

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
94.7 167.1 64.6 50.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.6 11.1 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.1 34.4 41.2 25.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Capri 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 113
Injury 115
Theft 69

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air-conditioning lines tend to leak at the spring-lock couplings; larger O-rings are available as a service replacement. (1991-94)
Engine noise
Description: Loose heat shields over the muffler and catalytic converter cause a rattling or buzzing noise. (1991-94)
Tail/brake lights
Description: The turn-signal switch does not stay engaged on right-hand turns. (1991-93)
Water leak
Description: Numerous problems with the convertible top including roof bow flap coming off (1991-94), rear-window breakage (1991-94), and water leaks. (1991-93)
Wipers
Description: If the windshield wipers freeze to the glass in cold weather, the 15- or 20-amp fuse for the wipers (and radiator fan) blow. Replace with a 25-amp fuse. (1991-93)

Recall History

1991-92 Capri
Description: Airbag module may be inadequate for high-temperature performance; bag may tear and malfunction.
1991-93 Capri
Description: Rubber tube connecting automatic transmission to oil cooler in radiator may disconnect, resulting in fluid discharge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.