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

1992 Ford Escort 4-door sedan

1991 Ford Escort LX 4-door wagon

1991 Ford Escort GT 2-door hatchback

1993 Ford Escort LX Sport 2-door hatchback

1994 Ford Escort GT interior

  • Acceleration (GT, LX-E)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

With Escort you get plenty of practical value. Though the Escort can’t match a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla for refinement, it does give the impression of true quality in the subcompact field.


For 1991, this popular subcompact was given a substantial reworking. Wheelbase grew four inches on a front-drive platform derived from the Mazda 323/Protege. Body styles were the same as before: 2- and 4-door hatchbacks, plus a 4-door station wagon. (The similar Mercury Tracer came as a 4-door notchback sedan or a wagon.) Low-end Pony and step-up LX Escorts kept the 1.9-liter Ford 4-cylinder engine from the prior generation. The GT 3-door hatchback got a smaller dual-cam engine that whipped up 127 horsepower. All Escorts had motorized front shoulder belts.

Yearly Updates

1992 Escort
Escort added two 4-door notchback sedans, a regular LX plus an LX-E with the GT’s engine. The LX-E had GT-style seat/door trim, 4-wheel disc brakes, and a sport suspension.
1993 Escort
Escorts went on sale early this season, showing only minor styling revisions. All except the GT got a slightly restyled grille. The LX gained body color bumpers; GTs, new wheels and spoilers.
1994 Escort
Antilock braking became available on the GT, and all models added a driver-side airbag. Front passengers stuck with the motorized seatbelt.
1995 Escort
Dual airbags were installed, but Escorts retained motorized seatbelts anyway. A new instrument panel held revised climate controls, and the optional air conditioner was more powerful. An integrated child safety seat became available.
1996 Escort
Seatbelts added an automatic locking retractor that eliminated the need for locking clips with a conventional child seat. A redesigned Escort went on sale in late May as an early 1997 model.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two engines were available in 1991 Escorts: a carryover 1.9-liter, rated at 88 horsepower; or in the GT, a Mazda dual-overhead-cam 1.8-liter (four valves per cylinder) that made 127 horses. Transmissions were supplied by Mazda: either a 5-speed stick or an optional 4-speed automatic. For 1996, the 1.9-liter engine gained platinum-tipped spark plugs. Ford issued an all-new Escort as an early ’97 model.

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

ohc 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

Road Test

In hard acceleration, either engine causes the automatic transmission to jolt between gears. With automatic, there’s just not enough low-end power for quick getaways. Acceleration to 60 mph took a leisurely 12.5 seconds. Though more powerful, the GT’s engine gets lazy below 3500 rpm; but it runs smoother than the 1.9-liter. Both engines vibrate at idle, and are noisy while cruising. Gas mileage is great. An early automatic LX averaged 25.9 mpg. A later edition did better yet, averaging 26.8 mpg even while commuting.

Stable and well-controlled at highway speeds, the Escort’s suspension is surprisingly absorbent on harsher pavement. A GT handles crisply, courtesy of its sport suspension and 15-inch tires. The same cannot be said of Pony and LX hatchbacks, whose 13-inch rubber easily loses grip in brisk cornering. Standard 4-wheel disc brakes on the GT bring the Escort to a swift, sure stop. Wind and road noise are noticeable, especially at highway speeds.

Visibility is good from the Escort’s airy cabin. Head room isn’t bad for a subcompact, unless it has the optional sunroof. Leg room is adequate, but three in back is a squeeze. The cargo area of hatchbacks and wagons is quite narrow between wheelwells, but wider at the rear. Controls are logically positioned, simply marked, operating with smooth precision that belies the car’s modest roots.


Model Tested: 1996 Ford Escort LS 4-door notchback

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.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 5

Total: 40


2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.4 170.0 66.7 52.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
35.2 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.6 41.7 34.6
4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.4 170.0 66.7 52.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
36.0 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.6 41.7 34.6
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 34.5
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 Escort 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

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


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

Collision 111
Injury 139
Theft 71

Trouble Spots

Blower motor
Description: Squeaking or chirping blower motors are the result of defective brush holders. (1993-94)
Brake noise
Description: Wear spots and ridges on the front brake caliper sleeves cause a knocking noise when gently applying the brakes. (1991-96)
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 build-up on the pistons causes a knocking noise. Sometimes solved by cleaning the carbon from the pistons using carburetor cleaner, often pistons must be replaced with redesigned ones. (1991-93)
Fuel pump
Description: Under 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. (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)
Description: Sometimes the horn will not work due to a poor ground circuit in the steering column. (1995-96)
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)
Vehicle noise
Description: A grinding noise while turning is most likely due to dirt accumulating in the top strut mount bushing. (1991-92)

Recall History

Description: Interference may occur between bolt that secures fuel line shield to lower dash and gas pedal, causing pedal to stick wide open.
Description: Pins securing ignition lock can separate or move out of position; cylinder may disengage, causing steering column to lock up.
Description: On some cars, fatigue crack can develop in solder joint between fuel return tube and fuel pump sending unit; fuel vapor could escape when tank is full, and small amount may leak.
Description: On small number of front suspension units made by Dana Corp., the offset-toe adjusting pin may fracture under certain conditions, resulting in loss of control.
Description: Driver’s seat in some cars may not engage fully in its track in positions near midpoint; could move in event of crash.
Description: On a few cars, driver-side airbag may deploy improperly and expel hot gases.
Description: Two bolts that attach passenger-side airbag may be missing; in frontal impact, the airbag could fail to restrain the passenger.
1995 cars in certain states
Description: Cracks can develop in plastic fuel tank, resulting in leakage.

Equipment Lists

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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.