Ford Escort (North Americae)

See an aa Ford Escort (Europe).

The Ford Escort is a compact caur that wis manufactured bi the Ford Motor Company. The North American Escort adoptit baith the badge an the general design o a redesigned European model, an the name haes been applee'd tae several different designs in North America syne its introduction as Ford's first successfu warld caur.

Ford Escort (North Americae)
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Bouk an chassis
LayootFF layoot
PredecessorFord Pinto
SuccessorFord Focus

The Escort wis Ford's first front-wheel-drive caur biggit in North America, replacin the datit Ford Pinto subcompact caur (1971–80) wi a modren front-wheel drive design popularized bi the Volkswagen Rabbit. It an aa effectively replaced the smawer Ford Fiesta which wis importit frae Europe frae 1978-80. Tho mechanically sophisticatit, the Fiesta wis too smaw, even for a Pinto replacement.

The Escort wis ane o Ford's maist successfu models in the 1980s, earnin a muckle better reputation than the Pinto, which faced widely-publicized safety issues. In fact, the Escort wis the single best-sellin caur in its seicont year in the Unitit States an durin maist o that decade.

First generation (1981–1990)

1985-1987 Ford Escort GL 3-door

Introduced in 1981, the first American Escort wis intendit tae share common components wi the European Mk III Escort (as wi its sister, the Mercury Lynx), an wis launcht as a 2-door hatchback an as a 4-door station wagon, wi the 4-door hatchback follaein a year later. It haed considerably mair chrome than the model sauld elsewhaur. The caur wis freshened in 1983.

Awtho the basic silhouette wis the same, it wis amaist completely different frae the European version, apairt frae the Ford CVH ingine. Thare wis a 1.6 L ingine, a 4-speed MTX-2 an a 5-speed MTX-3 manual transmission that wur staundart wi a 3-speed ATX/FLC automatic transmission optional. A 1.3 L ingine wis designed an prototyped but did no see production due tae lack o pouer. Beginnin in 1983 a GT model affered a multi-port EFI version o the 1.6 L 4-cylinder that increased pouer bi 20 hp ower the base carburetit version. It an aa came wi a 5-speed transmission, TRX handlin package, front an rear spoilers, metric-sized alloy wheels an fog lichts. An aa beginnin in 1983 the Ford EXP haed the option o the turbochairged 1.6 L 4-cylinder ratit at 120 hp (89 kW) an matchin torque, a fairly sporty package, considerin that the Mustang GT o that period wis anerlie ratit at 175 hp (130 kW), an wis muckle hivier. The sport targetit Ford EXP wis essentially a twa-seat hatch wi lawer roofline based on the Escort, but wis no as successfu as ither body styles.


  • 1981-1985 1.6 L CVH I4, 68 hp (51 kW)
  • 1983-1985 1.6 L EFI CVH I4, 88 hp (66 kW)
  • 1984-1985 2.0 L RF diesel I4, 52 hp (39 kW)
  • 1983-1985 1.6 L turbocharged CVH I4, 120 hp (89 kW)



Thare wis a seicont facelift (less chrome, restyled taillamps, flush heidlichts, 1.9 L ingine) as a 1985½ model. The Lynx wis retired for 1987, but wis replaced bi the Mazda 323-derived Tracer model in 1988. [That Mazda platform wis revampt in 1990 an debuted as the 1990 Mazda Protege. The updatit platform wad form the basis for the next generation (1991–1996) Escort/Tracer.]

The Escort saw anither minor facelift in mid-1988, which smoothed oot the front an rear fascias. New plastic bumpers, lairger rear side windaes, a mair roondit rear-end design an lairger (14 in (36 cm) versus 13 in (33 cm)) wheels modrenized the leuk o the caurs. The ingine wis an aa updatit wi a slichtly revised camshaft, an roller lifters. The new design is commonly referred tae as the "88.5" year, an existit till the end o the 1990 model year.

Findin some popularity durin the final three years o this generation wis the Pony model, which wis the least-expensive U.S.-biggit Ford at the time. Pony models uised plainer interior trim wi greater uise o vinyl an plastic instead o cloth, an a 4-speed manual transaxle wis staundart, awtho buyers coud opt for the 5-speed foond in LX models or the 3-speed ATX automatic. The leet o available options wis vera leemitit, tae the extent that sic luxuries as pouer steerin an factory-instawed air conditionin wur no affered (a dealer-instawed A/C seestem wis available). Gien thair lichter wecht, Pony models wur kent for thair ability tae deliver excellent fuel economy—mileage upwards o 40 mpg-US (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg-imp) in hietway drivin wis no uncommon.



Seicont generation (1991–1996)

1995-1996 Ford Escort LX sedan

In 1991, the Escort an the Mercury Tracer wur replaced bi models based on the Mazda B platform, which wis an aa uised bi the Mazda 323 an Protege. Ford, which awned a 25% stake in Mazda, awready sauld a version o the 323 in Asie an Australasie, cawed the Ford Laser, which replaced the auld rear-wheel drive Escort thare.

The Escort a decade earlier uised localized ingines. The Escort for the 1990s, housomeivver, wad be amaist identical warldwide, differin anerlie in appearance.

This generation o the Escort wis ane o the first Ford automobiles tae featur, on the 1.9 L ingine, distributorless ignition (kent as EDIS, Electronic Distributorless Ignition System). It an aa featurt a new electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as an independent rear suspension, baith (at the time) relatively uncommon in caurs in this class.

The Mazda-based model sauld sluggishly in Americae at first, syne anerlie hatchback models wur affered in 1991, but became popular later in 1992, when thay introduced the sedan, available in aither LX or LX-E trim levels.

Frae 1993-1995, Ford affered the Escort on a "ane price" basis, wi the same price for a 3- or 5-door hatchback, a sedan or a wagon when equipt wi the maist popular options (3-doors quickly addit alloy wheels tae the "ane price" specification). The LX-E, equipt wi the same sportin equipment as the GT (4-wheel disc brakes, sport suspension, sport interior, 1.8 L Mazda inline 4), lastit ae till 1993. The Pony departit in 1992, replaced bi the Standard trim level.

Trim levels wur LX, Pony an GT: the GT wis the North American equivalent o the European XR3i version. Lik its European coonterpairt, it wis a 3-door hatchback anerlie, but whauras the European caur haed a 1.8 L Ford ingine, the North American mercat got a 1.8 L Mazda ingine. The LX an Standard or Pony wur equipt wi the 1.9 L owerheid cam CVH inline 4. The Pony or Standard wis the base trim level, maist lackin features lik pouer steerin or a radio. The LX wis the upscale trim level, an a Sport package coud equip it tae leuk lik a GT. Subtle differences can be noticed in aw three Escort models (sedan, hatchback an wagon) frae 1991-1996. In 1994, the grill oval hall aroond the "Ford" emblem became a little lairger in order tae allou mair air intae the ingine, an an aa the rim size wis chynged frae 13 in (33 cm) tae 14 in (36 cm).


  • 1991-1996 1.9 L (1859 cc) CVH I4, 88 hp (66 kW) 108 ft·lbf (146 N·m)
  • 1991-1996 1.8 L (1839 cc) Mazda BP I4, 127 hp (95 kW) 114 ft·lbf (155 N·m) LX-E an GT

Third generation (1997–2002)

Ford Escort sedan

The 1997 restyle dropped the hatchbacks an addit a new sporty coupe for 1998, the Escort ZX2. It replaced the Ford Probe as Ford's sport compact caur. A muckle lawer-slung an rakish caur than aither the sedan an wagon, it wis aimed squarely at the youth mercat as a replacement for the Escort GT (awtho lackin the latter's rear disc brake setup) an wis biggit exclusively at Ford's Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico assembly plant. The interior wis refreshed for 1999, an the model wis retired efter 2003.

The 1998 Escort ZX2 coupe featurt the 2.0 L, 130 hp (97 kW) Zetec DOHC fower-cylinder ingine as staundart equipment, an option unavailable on the sedan or wagon. Intendit for uise as the base ingine in the lairger European Ford Mondeo an its American cousins, the Ford Contour an Mercury Mystique, the Zetec gae the ZX2 mair-than-respectable performance, runnin 0-60 in 7.4 seconds.

The 1999 an 2000 model years affered a leemitit performance edition ZX2 S/R which further enhanced the caurs performance in ivery aspect.

The Escort sedan an wagon uised the lawer pouered CVH SPI2000 ingine wi 110 hp (82 kW). Subtle differences can be noticed in the Escort sedan frae 1997-2002. The trim lines o 1997 wur base an the LX, 1998-2002 affered the LX an SE. In 1999, the reverse lichts wur moved intae the same piece as the tail lamps; thay wur previously belaw the tail lamp on the body.

A vera rare trim package coud be foond wi chrome 14 in (36 cm) wheel covers an ither features. It wis affered in 1999.

Ford Escort LX wagon

The Escort wis affered in a Sport package as well. The Mercury Tracer's version wis cawed the Trio or Sport dependin on the year. A basketweave teep o wheel wis put on the Tracer Trio while a flouer petal pattern wis uised on the Tracer Sport. The Sport/Trio package includit aluminum wheels, sport exhaust tip, a tachometer, an a rear decklid spoiler.

The Escort wagon lairgely retained the same body style, gainin ae the new interior, front end & fascia, side-view mirrors, door handles, badgin, an slichtly restyled taillamps & reflectors. The black windae frames on the doors o some models became body-colored.

Baith the Escort wagon an the Mercury Tracer wur discontinued efter 1999. The Escort sedan wis discontinued in 2002, an wis awready replaced bi the Ford Focus. The last ZX2 wis biggit in 2003. In Mexico, it wis replaced bi the smawer Ford Ikon.


  • 1997-2002 2.0 L (1986 cc) CVH SPI2000, SOHC I4, 110 hp (82 kW) @ 5000 rpm, 125 ft·lbf (169 N·m) @ 3750 rpm @ 3750 rpm, redline 5500 rpm Sedan an Wagon
  • 1998-2003 2.0 L (1989 cc) Zetec, DOHC I4, 130 hp (97 kW) @ 5750 rpm, 127 ft·lbf (172 N·m) @ 4250 rpm, redline 6500 rpm, 7200 Rpm rev cut ZX2
  • 1999-2000 2.0 L (1989 cc) Zetec, DOHC I4, 143 hp (107 kW), 146 ft·lbf (198 N·m) ZX2 S/R
1998-2002 Ford Escort ZX2
2003 Ford ZX2

For 2001, the sedan wis limitit tae fleet sales ae an the Escort moniker on the Escort ZX2 wis quietly dropt, makin the caur offeecially juist ZX2.

The Ford Focus debuted in 2001 an wis produced concurrently wi the ZX2. Tho no athoot its fans, baith then an nou, an still fairly well-representit in the automotive eftermarket, the ZX2 wis replaced bi the Focus ZX3, ZX4 an ZX5. Tho the twa caurs shared the same Zetec ingine, thare wur a few differences. The Focus lackt the exhaust-side VCT, an contained less aggressive camshafts that pusht the pouer baund doun a few hunder RPM. Thay baith shared the same block but, due tae the different camshafts an the different cylinder heid, the torque ootput for the Focus wis bumpt up bi 8 ft·lbf (11 N·m). Thanks tae better gearin an less wecht the ZX2 continued tae ootperform the Focus. The ZX2 continued wi little mair nor 15 in (38 cm) alloy wheels an a rear defroster nou affered as staundart equipment, an for 2003, a revised front fascia. Production ceased at the end o the 2003 model year.



The increast presence an success o tuner models frae owerseas in the late 90s caused Ford tae creaut thair awn performance model, the ZX2 S/R. Meant tae compete wi cheap factory performance compacts sic as the Honda Civic Si or the Dodge Neon ACR, Ford creatit the ZX2 S/R tae show that thay haed plenty tae bring tae the table. Its initial debut wis at SEMA's Import Auto Salon in Pomona in 1999. The ZX2 S/R wis the first product jointly developt bi Ford Racing an Ford Motor Company's Smaw Vehicle Center Product Development.

Ford's final leemitit production coont wis 2,110 units, consistin o 110 yellae S/Rs in 1999, the first twa o which wur sauld in Columbus, Ohio, an the ither 108 in soothren Californie, an in 2000, 500 black, 500 reid an 1,000 yellae S/Rs for an upgrade price o $1,500 baith years. It is believed that anerlie 35 o those 2000 S/Rs wur sauld in Canadae, makin it a vera rare trim thare. The ZX2 S/R an aa led tae inspiration in the Breetish sector o Ford an wis laterally biggit in Europe as the Ford Puma, Top Gear's caur o the year in 2002.

The optional S/R package adds stiffer suspension pairts (Eibach springs (M-5560-Z2), Tokico struts (M-18000-Z2) an Energy Suspension brand polyurethane suspension bushins), mair pouer (throu a Ford Racing PCM (M-12650-Z2)), mair efficient intake (Roush an Iceman), rear disc brakes (M-2300-Z2), a stranger clutch (Centerforce dual friction (M-7560-Z2), a short-throw B&M manual-transmission shifter (M-7210-Z2), an S/R-unique shift knob (M-7213-Z2) an buit (M-7277-Z2), upgradit seats, a unique blue valve civer, a different speed cluster that goes up tae 150 mph (240 km/h) an a unique tire/wheel package. Ingine pouer wis increased 10% ower the base Zetec ingine uised in the ZX2 tae 143 bhp (107 kW; 145 PS), courtesy o a recommendit premium fuel re-calibration, new air inlet seestem, the performance PCM, improved Borla muffler an pipe (M-5230-Z2). Aw ZX2 S/R hae a special "S/R" badge on the back, aither siller (on a reid car) or reid (on a yellae or black caur). Some S/R went oot o the assembly plant athoot some o the performance mods(example: missin the Centerforce clutch). The suspension bushings wur no installed at the factory but instead packaged wi the caur for installation at the dealership. This an aa led tae mony caurs leavin the showroom athoot the full complement o S/R pairts.


Calendar Year American sales
1999[1] 260,486
2000 110,736
2001 -
2002[2] 51,857
2003 (ZX2 anerlie) 25,473
2004[3] (ZX2 anerlie) 1,210


  • Martin Padgett, Jr. "Short Take:Ford Escort LX-E". Car and Driver (March 1992): 132–133.
  • Specifications Archived 2010-11-18 at the Wayback Machine Ford Escort History
  • TeamZX2 Archived 2018-06-02 at the Wayback Machine
  • "Ford Escort may return as 100mpg hybrid"
  1. "Ford Motor Company Sets New Full Year U.S. Sales Record". Retrieved 28 Apryle 2009.
  2. "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". 17 November 2004. Retrieved 28 Apryle 2009.
  3. "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". 17 November 2004. Retrieved 28 Apryle 2009.