Compact car; Built in USA, Canada
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,600*


1990 Mercury Topaz 2-door coupe


1991 Mercury Topaz 4-door sedan


1992 Mercury Topaz 4-door sedan


1992 Mercury Topaz 2-door coupe


1993 Mercury Topaz GS 2-door coupe

Pros:
  • Fuel economy
  • Wet-weather traction (AWD)
  • Price
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cylinder)
  • Automatic-transmission performance (4-cylinder)
  • Engine noise (4-cylinder)
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

Frankly, the Topaz has no outstanding features and lacks the refinement and overall polish of import rivals like the Nissan Stanza, Mazda 626, Subaru Legacy, and even the Chevy Corsica and Beretta.

Overview

The Mercury Topaz and similar Ford Tempo arrived in 1986. Powerplants included a 2.3-liter overhead-valve 4-cylinder and a so-called “High Output” version of the same engine that raised horsepower from 98 to an even 100. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard, while a 3-speed automatic was optional. Motorized automatic shoulder belts were standard for driver and passenger alike. However, a driver-side airbag was on the option list. Topaz came in both 2-door and 4-door versions. The 1990 GS and LS models could also be ordered with a part-time 4-wheel-drive system.

Yearly Updates

1991 Topaz
The Topaz is virtually unchanged for its last year in the 1986 styling format. Minor exterior and interior upgrades are directed at reducing engine and road noise.
1992 Topaz
New sheetmetal, bumpers, and bodyside models, the arrival of the first available V6 and discontinuation of the slow-selling 4-wheel-drive option are the major changes for 1992. The 3.0-liter V6 comes standard on LTS and XR5 models, optional on the others. The two flagship models also come with fog lamps and new ground effects. Both GS and LS versions still come with the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, which adds multipoint fuel injection for better fuel economy.
1993 Topaz
The previous LS, LTS, and XR5 trim levels all bite the dust, taking with them the sport suspension and performance rear-axle ratio. The only remaining model is the base GS version, still offered in 2-door and 4-door body styles. Both 5-speed manual and optional 3-speed automatic are again offered, with the automatic reducing horsepower in the V6 by 5, to 130. The driver-side airbag remains optional, but cannot be ordered with models equipped with the V6.
1994 Topaz
For 1994, all airbag-equipped models get a manual three-point lap/shoulder belt for the driver’s seat, while front passengers still suffer with the motorized shoulder belt and manual lap belt.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

For 1990 and 1991, the Mercury Topaz comes with two versions of the same 2.3-liter 4-cylinder. The base unit delivers 98 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 124 pound-feet of torque at 2200 rpm. The High Output version of the engine, standard on highline XR5, LTS, and 4WD models is rated at 100 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 130 pound-feet of torque at 2600 rpm. For 1992, Ford supplies the Topaz with its first V6 in an effort to make it more competitive with rival products from GM and Chrysler. The V6 is the 3.0-liter unit Ford uses in the Taurus, Sable, and Probe. It comes standard on LTS and XR5 models, optional on the others. For 1993 and 1994, the V6 is optional on the GS, which is the only model offered. For 1992, both GS and LS versions come with the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, which adds multipoint fuel injection for better fuel economy. Power output drops slightly in the process, to 96 versus 98 horsepower. When tuned for the Topaz, the V6 provides 135 horsepower (rather than 140) and 150 pound-feet of torque.

ohv I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/141
Engine HP 100
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
21/29
22/26
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 130-135
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 150
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
21/28
20/24
21.0
ohv I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/141
Engine HP 96-98
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 128-124
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
23/33
21/26
21.5
19.4

Road Test

The instruments are presented well and the controls work smoothly. Front-seat space is good and the rear will hold two medium-size adults in relative comfort. Expect the trunk to hold no more than three large suitcases, which is about standard for the class. The ride is not particularly absorbent, but overall comfort in the Topaz is adequate.

The standard 4-cylinder engines tend to be harsh, noisy, and anemic. The V6 added in 1992 helped invigorate the Topaz immeasurably, even when paired with the automatic. Speaking of which, that unit is an ill-mannered 3-speed, which tends to upshift too soon and hesitates before downshifting. Handling is about average overall. Braking is mediocre, and antilock brakes were never offered on the Topaz/Tempo twins.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Mercury Topaz 3.0-liter

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 - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 39

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.9 176.7 68.3 52.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.2 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.5 36.8 41.5 36.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.9 177.0 68.3 52.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.9 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.5 37.0 41.5 36.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Topaz 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

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 119
Injury 120
Theft 26

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: After being parked overnight, the accelerator pedal may be stiff and the transmission may not upshift because the throttle cable may be out of adjustment or binding. (1990-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: It the car will not move in reverse in very cold weather, the problem is likely due to the reverse-clutch piston seals sticking. (1990-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: Teflon seals on the transmission-pump support are prone to wear, causing the transmission to drop out of drive. (1993-94)
Blower motor
Description: Squeaking or chirping blower motors are the result of defective brush holders. (1993-94)
Exhaust system
Description: The flange that connects the catalytic converter to the front exhaust pipe can rust out. (1990-94)
Oil leak
Description: Oil or sludge in the air-cleaner housing, or an oil leak around the air cleaner and transmission area on cars with a 2.3-liter engine can be caused by a PCV valve that is not properly calibrated to the engine. (1992-94)
Vehicle shake
Description: The front springs may be too tall, causing the car to shudder during acceleration from a standstill. Shorter springs will correct the problem. (1992-94)

Recall History

1990
Description: Engine cooling fan on some cars could wobble excessively during startup and rundown, possibly rubbing against fan shroud.
1990-93
Description: Ignition switch could suffer short circuit, which can cause overheating, smoke, and possibly fire in steering-column area.
1992-94 in AK, IA, MN, NE, ND, or SD
Description: During high winds, heavy-drifting snow and low temperatures, engine fan may become blocked or frozen and fail to rotate; can cause smoke/flame.

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.