Compact car; Built in USA, Mexico
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,800*


1993 Mercury Tracer 4-door sedan


1991 Mercury Tracer 4-door wagon


1994 Mercury Tracer 4-door sedan


1991 Mercury Tracer 4-door sedan


1993 Mercury Tracer 4-door wagon

Pros:
  • Fuel economy
  • Price
Cons:
  • Control layout
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

Our favorite Tracer is the LTS, which offers more-spirited acceleration with its dual-cam Mazda engine, plus improved handling and performance, thanks to the upgraded suspension package. Also included are 4-wheel disc brakes, styled wheels, and available antilock brakes.

Overview

Mercury’s entry-level car, the front-drive Tracer, received a compete makeover, along with its Ford sibling, the Ford Escort, in 1991. The Tracer was available as either a 4-door notchback or 4-door wagon. Power for base models came from an 88-horsepower, 1.9-liter 4-cylinder. Standard on the highline LTS was a dual-overhead-cam, 1.8-liter 127-horsepower 4-cylinder. Both came paired with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, as does the alternate engine.

Yearly Updates

1992 Tracer
The Tracer returns essentially unchanged for 1992.
1993 Tracer
Chassis changes included the addition of a larger front stabilizer bar, LTS-like grille, and new wheel covers. LTS sedans get a new one-piece rear spoiler with integrated high-mount stoplight, while wagons can specify a power lock for the rear liftgate. Finally, all Tracers get new taillamps, new seat and door trim, plus revised instrument-cluster graphics.
1994 Tracer
Driver-side airbags became standard equipment on all 1994 Tracers. But in order to maintain compliance with federal passive restraint laws, the passenger side still featured a motorized shoulder belt/manual lap-belt arrangement.
1995 Tracer
An all-new instrument panel for 1995 included a passenger-side airbag for all Tracer models. Despite the twin airbags, the Tracer retained the motorized shoulder-belt/manual lap-belt setup for front-seat passengers. Other features of the new instrument panel included revised climate controls and a more powerful air-conditioner system.
1996 Tracer
The only significant change for 1996 was the addition of new 100,000-mile platinum-tipped spark plugs.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Both the Tracer sedan and wagon use a Ford 1.9-liter 4-cylinder engine with 88 horsepower as a base engine. It also provides 108 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm. The optional powerplant, standard on the premium LTS version is Mazda’s 1.8-liter, dual-overhead cam 4-cylinder. It improves performance noticeably, with 127 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 114 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. Both engines are available with either a standard 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic. Both engines deliver above-average fuel economy, usually near 30 mph in combined city and highway driving with the standard 5-speed.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/109
Engine HP 127
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 114
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
25/31
23/29
22.7
ohv I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/114
Engine HP 88
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 108
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
31/38
26/34
27.4

Road Test

Based on Mazda Protege chassis and running gear, the car delivers a good ride and above-average build quality. While fit-and-finish are good, all models could use more insulation, as road and engine are noticeably present in the Tracer.

Visibility from the airy cabin is improved and there’s more ample passenger space. The only exception is the tighter head room on models equipped with the optional sunroof. Our primary gripe focuses on an instrument panel with controls that seem too far away, too small, and a little confusing.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Mercury Tracer 4-door

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

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 40

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.4 170.9 66.7 52.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.1 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.4 41.7 34.6
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.4 171.3 66.7 53.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
66.9 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 38.5 41.7 34.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Tracer 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 114
Injury 143
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Blower motor
Description: Squeaking or chirping blower motors are the result of defective brush holders. (1991-96)
Brake noise
Description: Wear spots and ridges on the front brake-caliper sleeves cause a knocking noise when gently applying the brakes. (1991-96)
Brakes
Description: There is a redesigned brake master-cylinder and brake booster available that provides better pedal feel and travel. (1993-95)
Engine knock
Description: Carbon buildup on the pistons causes a knocking noise that is most evident after a cold start. (1991-93)
Fuel pump
Description: Under its general campaign number 94B55, Ford will install a fused jumper harness in the fuel pump electrical circuit to prevent erratic fuel gauge readings, stalling, or wiring damage, which could be caused by an electrical short. Refunds will be made to anyone who paid for this service. (1991-94)
Hard starting
Description: If the engine does not start or cranks for a long time then stalls, the idle-air control valve may be sticking. (1995-96)
Horn
Description: Sometimes the horn will not work due to a poor ground circuit in the steering column. (1995-96)
Steering noise
Description: A grinding noise while turning is most likely due to dirt accumulating in the top strut-mount bushing. (1991-92)
Transmission noise
Description: If a whine comes from the transmission during coast-down, it is probably because the idler-gear teeth were not machined properly. (1995-96)

Recall History

1991
Description: Interference may occur between bolt that secures fuel-line shield to lower dash and gas pedal, causing pedal to stick wide open.
1991
Description: On some cars, fatigue crack can develop in solder joint between fuel return tube and fuel-pump sending unit.
1992
Description: Pins securing ignition lock in steering-column housing can separate or move out of position, causing steering column to lock up.
1992
Description: Stoplamp switch could intermittently malfunction.
1993
Description: Driver’s seat in some cars may not engage fully in its track; could move in event of crash.
1994-95
Description: A few driver-side airbags may have inadequately welded inflator canister, causing improper deployment and expelling hot gases.
1995 cars in certain states
Description: Cracks can develop in plastic fuel tank, resulting in leakage.

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.