Ford Escort (North America)

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Ford Escort (North America)
97-02 Ford Escort sedan.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1980–2003
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car
LayoutFF layout
Chronology
PredecessorFord Pinto / Mercury Bobcat
Ford Fiesta (1978–1980) (North America)
SuccessorFord Focus

The North American version of the Ford Escort is a range of cars that was sold by Ford from the 1981 to 2003 model years. The direct successor of the Ford Pinto, the Escort also largely overtook the role of the European-imported Ford Fiesta as the smallest vehicle in the Ford model line in North America. Produced across three generations, the first generation was a subcompact; the latter two generations were compact cars. Becoming highly successful in the marketplace, the Escort became the best-selling car in the United States after 1982, a position it would hold for much of the 1980s.

Produced across three generations, the Escort was the first world car developed by Ford, with the first-generation American Escort designed alongside Ford of Europe, who transitioned the Escort Mk III to front-wheel drive. During its production, the Escort also underwent a wide use of platform sharing and rebranding. The first generation served as the basis of the longer-wheelbase Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz, the two-seat Ford EXP/Mercury LN7 and was rebranded as the Mercury Lynx. The second generation was introduced for 1991, growing into the compact segment. Moving away from a shared design with Ford of Europe, the Escort now shared a platform with the Mazda 323 and sharing a body with the Ford Laser (a model line sold in Asia and Oceania); the Mercury Lynx was replaced by the Mercury Tracer. For 1997, the third generation served as an extensive redesign of the previous-generation sedan; the Escort ZX2 two-door was introduced, with the Mercury Tracer adopting a similar redesign.

Ford introduced the Ford Focus in North America for 2000 as its third "world car", phasing it in as the successor of the Escort. After 2000, the four-door Escort was moved primarily to fleet sales (with the coupe remaining available); production ended entirely after the 2002 model year. In contrast to the first-generation American Escort and Escort Mk III of Ford of Europe (and the Mondeo/Contour and Mercury Mystique), the Focus adopted a much larger degree of commonality between its European and North American variants, in effect, becoming the original world car Ford had originally envisaged with the Escort.

During its entire production, the Escort was produced by Wayne Stamping & Assembly (Wayne, Michigan) and Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico); the first generation was also produced by Edison Assembly (Edison, New Jersey), San Jose Assembly Plant (Milpitas, California), and Oakville Assembly (Oakville, Ontario, Canada).

Ford "world car"[edit]

American version: 1981 Ford Escort GLX (on display at The Henry Ford)
European version: 1981 Ford Escort Mk III 1.3L

The Ford Escort began as an intended "world car" project by Ford in North America and Ford of Europe. Ford had already tried to market its European models retrospectively for the North American market - recent examples in the 1970s had been the Capri and the Mk I Fiesta, but these were merely "federalizations" in response to an emergent market need and were not true world cars - i.e. a single product conceived from the beginning to cater for both markets.

The programme intended to consolidate the replacements for the North American Ford Pinto and the European Ford Escort Mk II under a single model architecture. Intended for a 1981 model launch, the original intent was for the American Escort and the European Mk III Escort to share a common chassis architecture and components. During model development, American and European design teams diverged in thinking, leading to extensive differences in the final product lines.

Though they share the same basic shape, the 1981 Ford Escort and Escort Mk III share no interchangeable body parts; the only common components between the two vehicles are the CVH inline-4 engine and the ATX automatic transmission. While sharing a common 94.2 inch wheelbase, the American Escort is longer and wider than the Mk III; most versions are fitted with a larger amount of chrome exterior trim typical of American vehicles of the period, and the altered proportions gave the car a heavier and more ungainly appearance than its European sister car. In Europe, the Escort was produced in three body styles never developed for North America, including a 3-door station wagon, 2-door convertible, and a 2-door van. The European version also had a 4-door sedan derivative marketed separately under the Orion nameplate.

First generation (1981–1990)[edit]

First generation
85-87 Ford Escort hatch.jpg
Overview
Also calledMercury Lynx
Production1980–1990 (Escort)
1980–1987 (Lynx)
Model years1981–1990 (Escort)
1981–1987 (Lynx)
AssemblyEdison, New Jersey, United States
Milpitas, California, United States
Wayne, Michigan, United States
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style3/5-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
PlatformFord CE14 platform
Related
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission
Dimensions
Wheelbase94.2 in (2,393 mm)
Length169.4 in (4,303 mm)
GT: 169.0 in (4,293 mm)
Width65.9 in (1,674 mm)
HeightHatchback: 53.7 in (1,364 mm)
Sedan: 53.4 in (1,356 mm)
Curb weight2,243 lb (1,017 kg) (Escort GT)
1981 Ford Escort "World Car" badge

The first-generation Ford Escort was launched on October 3, 1980 for the 1981 model year, with Lincoln-Mercury marketing the model line as the Mercury Lynx.[1] Sharing a nearly identical wheelbase with the Pinto, the Escort grew in size over its predecessor, nearly six inches longer and over three inches taller. Alongside an unnamed base trim, the Escort was marketed in L, GL, GLX, and SS trim levels.[2]

1981-1984[edit]

1982-1985 Ford Escort GL Squire
1982-1985 Ford Escort GL 5-door

For 1981, the Escort was initially introduced with three-door hatchback and five-door station wagon body styles; a five-door hatchback was introduced in May 1981.[3][4] To showcase its "world car" status, Ford designed an Escort badge for the front fenders including a globe representing the earth; this badge was used for 1981 only. In line with the larger Fairmont and LTD Crown Victoria station wagons, the Escort wagon was offered with an imitation woodgrain Squire package in GL and GLX trims.[5][6]

For 1982, the exterior received a minor revision, as the model badging was revised to reflect the adoption of the Ford Blue Oval emblem to its North American product lines; along with an updated grille, the blue oval replaced the previous "FORD" lettering on the liftgate.[7] A high-performance Escort SS was introduced, renamed the Escort GT by the end of 1982 production.[7] The Ford EXP was introduced as a two-seat hatchback coupe (see below). Starting at a price of $5,518,[8] the 1982 Escort became the best-selling Ford model line and the best-selling automobile nameplate in the United States.[7]

For 1983, the exterior was largely carryover, with most changes concentrated to the Escort GT and the EXP. For liftback/wagon Escorts, the unnamed base model was dropped, leaving the L trim as standard.[7]

For 1984, the trim levels were revised further, as the GLX was replaced by the LX.[7] Offered for the five-door hatchback or wagon, the LX was fitted with the fuel-injected engine of the GT, along with its blackout trim, and styled cast-aluminum wheels. The interior of the Escort was revised, introducing a new dashboard and new shift boots for manual transmissions; in line with other Fords, activation of the horn was moved from the turn signal stalk to the steering wheel.[7]

1985–1990[edit]

1986 Ford Escort L
1989-1990 Ford Escort LX 5-door
1988-1990 Ford Escort LX wagon

Debuting as a "1985½" model change, Ford released a revision of the first-generation Escort. While much of the bodyshell was carried over, the front fascia saw extensive aerodynamic revisions, with designers fitting a smaller grille and flush-mounted aerodynamic headlamps. In other revisions, chrome trim was largely relegated to the bumpers. In a trim revision, the Escort Pony became the lowest-price version of the model line, replacing the Escort L entirely for 1986.[7]

For 1987, the trim lineup was simplified to a three-version range, including the Pony, GL, and GT. The Pony and GT were offered solely as a three-doors; the GL was offered as a three-door, five-door, and wagon.[9] The model year also saw the retirement of the Mercury Lynx, replaced by the Mercury Tracer during 1987 (a rebranded Ford Laser, itself derived from the Mazda 323).[10]

During the mid-1988 model year, the Escort underwent a second revision, again revising the front and rear fascias, adding plastic bumpers (integrated into the bodywork), revised (flush-mounted) quarter-window glass on hatchbacks. On non-GT Escorts, the wheel size was increased from 13 inches to 14 inches and the LX trim replaced the GL.[7][9] To accommodate passive-restraint regulations, the Escort received automatic shoulder safety belts.[7] In another change, the Escort EXP was discontinued.

For 1989 and 1990, the Escort saw no major functional changes, ending production in early 1990; in preparation for the launch of the second-generation Escort, all production had shifted to Edison Assembly in New Jersey.[11]

Powertrain details[edit]

While the two final product lines would end up with no shared body commonality, the American Escort would share a powertrain with the European Mk III Escort. Developed for the model line, the CVH inline-4 engine family was introduced in a 1.6L displacement for the North American market; smaller 1.1L and 1.3L versions were found to be insufficient in power output for the market and were not certified.[3] The 65hp engine was paired with 4-speed MTX-2 and 5-speed MTX-3 manual transmissions, and a 3-speed ATX/FLC automatic transmission.

For 1982, the Escort SS (later GT) received a "HO" high-output version of the 1.6L engine, increased to 80hp; fuel injection increased the output of the HO engine to 88hp for 1983.[7] The 1983 GT was the first Escort offered with a 5-speed manual transmission.

For 1984, two new engines were introduced. A Mazda-sourced 2.0L inline-4 diesel (producing 52hp) became available on non-GT Escort/Lynx trims;[12] in contrast to the diesel, a turbocharged version of the 1.6L I4 raised output to 120hp for the Turbo GT.[7]

As part of the mid-1985 model-year revision, the 1.6L I4 was enlarged to 1.9L, increasing output to 86 hp; the GT increased output to 108 hp (the Turbo GT was retired).

For 1987, the standard Escort adopted throttle-body fuel injection, dropping the carburetor; output was increased to 90hp.[7] The model year also saw the retirement of the diesel engine, discontinued due to low demand (less than 1.2 percent of overall sales[13]).

While the standard Escort retained the same engine following the mid-1988 revision, the GT was retuned slightly, increased to 110hp.

Engine configuration Engine family Production Output Notes
97 cu in (1.6 L) I4 Ford CVH engine 1981–1985 65–70 hp (48–52 kW)
1982–1985 80 hp (60 kW) High output (H.O.)
1983–1985 88 hp (66 kW) GT

multi-port EFI

97 cu in (1.6 L) turbocharged I4 Ford CVH engine 1984–1985 120 hp (89 kW) Turbo GT

multi-port EFI

122 cu in (2.0 L) I4 diesel Mazda RF diesel 1984–1987 52 hp (39 kW) All except GT
113 cu in (1.9 L) I4 Ford CVH engine 1985.5–1986 86 hp (64 kW) 2-bbl carburetor[7]
1987–1990 90 hp (67 kW) CFI (Central Fuel Injection)
1985–1988 108 hp (81 kW) GT, EFI HO

Multi-port EFI

1988.5–1990 110 hp (82 kW) GT, EFI HO

Multi-port EFI roller lifters & matching camshafts

Production Figures[edit]

Ford Escort Production Figures[14]
3-door 5-door Wagon Yearly Total
1981 192,554 - 128,173 320,727
1982 165,660 130,473 88,999 385,132
1983 151,386 84,649 79,335 315,370
1984 184,323 99,444 88,756 372,523
1985 212,960 111,385 82,738 407,083
1986 228,013 117,300 84,740 430,053
1987 206,729 102,187 65,849 374,765
1988* 251,911 113,470 56,654 422,035
1989 201,288 110,631 30,888 342,807
1990** N/A N/A N/A N/A

*For 1988, Ford EXP production figures were combined with the Ford escort figures

**For 1990, production figures were not provided

Variants[edit]

EXP[edit]

1982 Ford EXP

Introduced for 1982, the two-seat Ford EXP (later Escort EXP) was a coupe variant of the Escort. The first production two-seat Ford since the Thunderbird, the EXP was developed with a sportier exterior appearance (but few performance upgrades) over the standard three-door liftback. The EXP was sold by Lincoln-Mercury from 1982 to 1983 as the Mercury LN7, differing slightly in grille and hatchback design.

Following the 1985 update of the Escort, the EXP underwent a restyling, becoming the Escort EXP. Distinguished by the adoption of the front fascia from the liftback Escort, the two-seat coupe adopted a more subdued appearance. The variant was discontinued after the 1988 model year; as consumer demand shifted away from two-seat vehicles, Ford sought to concentrate its resources on the four-seat Ford Probe (which began development as the intended 1989 Ford Mustang).

Escort GT[edit]

1985½-1988 Ford Escort GT
1990 Ford Escort GT

For 1981, Ford introduced the Escort SS as a performance-oriented version of the model line, offered as both a three-door liftback and five-door station wagon. Externally distinguished by blacked-out trim, special stripes and SS decals, the Escort SS also received upgraded brakes, suspension, and model-specific seats and full instrumentation.[2] For 1982, the 1.6L engine was increased in output to 80hp.[7]

As a running change during the 1982 model year, the Escort SS was renamed the Escort GT. In addition to removing conflict with the Chevrolet SS option package,[5] the change aligned the model nomenclature with the namesake Mustang GT (with Ford offering the Escort GT solely as a three-door).

For 1983, the GT received a fuel-injected 1.6L engine, raising output to 88hp; the engine was also paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. A Turbo GT was introduced, increasing output to 120hp.[7] The GT/Turbo GT introduced metric-size alloy wheels to fit Michelin TRX tires,[15] fog lights, and front and rear spoilers.[7]

For 1984, the Escort GT was largely carryover, with the Turbo GT lasting into the first half of 1985 production.[7]

For the 1985½ revision of the Escort, the GT initially went on hiatus, returning for the 1986 model year.[7] Alongside the standard Escort, the 1.6L was replaced by a 1.9L fuel-injected engine, with the GT receiving a higher-output 108hp version.[7][9] Distinguished by its body-color asymmetrical grille, the GT received body-color bumpers (integrating the foglamps), 15-inch alloy wheels, body sill skirts, and optional 2-tone paint (similar to the Merkur).

While 1987 was largely carryover, the GT underwent a second facelift midway through the 1988 model year alongside the standard Escort 3-door. The 1988½ Escort GT replaced the asymmetrical grille with a body-color insert and new rear spoiler.[7] For 1989, the GT received another grille revision, unchanged for 1990.

Escort Pony[edit]

Replacing the standard Escort and the Escort L, the Escort Pony served as the lowest-content version of the Escort; prior to the introduction of the Ford Festiva, it also served as the least-expensive vehicle marketed by Ford in North America. Devoid of most interior trim and features, the Escort Pony was adopted more vinyl and plastic for the interior (instead of cloth). A four-speed manual transmission was standard, although both the five-speed manual and three-speed automatic transmissions remained available as options. To keep the price low, features such as power steering and factory-installed air conditioning were not offered (the latter was available as a dealer-installed accessory).

Along with their lower price, the Escort Pony generated marketplace interest as its lower weight (due to lack of extra features) increased the fuel economy of the model line.

Mercury Lynx[edit]

1982 Mercury Lynx 5-door
1986-1987 Mercury Lynx wagon

The first-generation Ford Escort was marketed by Lincoln-Mercury as the Mercury Lynx. The successor to the Mercury Bobcat, the Lynx also adopted a nameplate derived from big cats. Sharing its entire body with the Escort, the Lynx differed from its Ford counterpart primarily in its grille styling, parking light and taillamp lenses, and the use of additional chrome trim. Similar to the Escort, the Lynx was introduced in base, L, GL, GS, LS, and RS trims;[16] the Mercury LN7 was the divisional counterpart of the Ford EXP.

For 1984, Mercury introduced the Lynx LTS (Luxury Touring Sedan[17][18]). The counterpart of the Escort LX, the LTS was also fitted with blacked-out exterior trim, aluminum wheels, and upgraded suspension,[17] serving as a five-door counterpart of the Lynx RS (Escort GT).[19]

Alongside the Escort, the Lynx underwent a mid-1985 body revision. Distinguished by the addition of the "cascading" Mercury emblem replacing the "big cat" logo (used by the Mercury Cougar), the Lynx received an all-black grille between flush-mounted aerodynamic headlamps. For 1986, the Lynx RS was renamed the XR3 to align it with the Cougar XR7 (and the eventual Topaz XR5).

For 1987, Lincoln-Mercury introduced the Mercury Tracer as the successor for the Lynx; the latter was discontinued after the 1987 model year. The first Mercury sold without a Ford counterpart (in North America) since 1960, the Mexican-assembled Tracer shared its body with the Asian-market Ford Laser, sharing much of its chassis architecture with the Mazda 323.

Second generation (1991–1996)[edit]

Second generation
1993 Ford Escort LX 5-dr front left.jpg
1993 Ford Escort 5-door
Overview
Also calledFord Laser (Asia and Oceania)
ProductionApril 1990–March 1996
Model years1991–1996
AssemblyWayne, Michigan, United States
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Body and chassis
Body style3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
5-door hatchback
PlatformMazda B platform
RelatedMazda 323
Mazda Protegé
Mercury Tracer
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission5-speed F series manual (1.9)
5-speed G5M manual (1.8)
4-speed F-4EAT automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase98.4 in (2,499 mm)
Length170.0 in (4,318 mm)
Wagon: 171.3 in (4,351 mm)
1992 & 1995–96 Sedan: 170.9 in (4,341 mm)
Width66.7 in (1,694 mm)
HeightSedan: 52.7 in (1,339 mm)
Hatchback: 52.5 in (1,334 mm)
Wagon: 53.6 in (1,361 mm)
Curb weight3-door hatchback – 2,355 lbs (1,068 kg)
5-door hatchback – 2,385 lbs (1,082 kg)
4-door sedan – 2,404 lbs (1,090 kg)
5-door wagon – 2,491 lbs (1,130 kg)

In April 1990, Ford released the second-generation Ford Escort for the 1991 model year. Again a "world car" like the previous generation, the model line shifted away from its Ford of Europe origins, adopting a design from Mazda (at the time, 25-percent owned by Ford). Adopting mechanical commonality with the Mazda 323, the Escort became the American-market version of the third-generation Ford Laser (introduced in 1989). In North America, the Mercury Tracer now shared design commonality with the Escort.

In a major design change, a four-door sedan joined the model line for the 1992 model year,[7] sharing its underpinnings with the Mazda Protegé.

1991-1992 Ford Escort LX 5-door
1995-1996 Ford Escort LX 4-door

Design overview[edit]

The second-generation Ford Escort adopted the Mazda B platform (BG); in North America, the chassis was also used by the Mazda 323/Protegé. Again using front-wheel drive, the wheelbase expanded to 98.4 inches (almost within an inch of the Tempo). To improve handling stability, a rear anti-sway bar was added to the rear suspension.[7] In another design change, the Escort adopted independent rear suspension.

The Escort shared its body with the third-generation Ford Laser, introduced in Japan in 1989. The two model lines are nearly identical in appearance; the standard Escort was styled with a grille insert styled in line with the Ford Taurus and places the rear license plate between the taillamps (the Laser, into the rear bumper). The Escort sedan was styled with a body-color C-pillar, with black trim for the Laser (a design adopted for higher-trim Mercury Tracer sedans). In line with the previous generation, the Escort GT again adopted an asymmetrical grille insert. Unique to North America, the five-door Escort station wagon was styled with vertical taillamps (in line with the larger Taurus); following the discontinuation of the LTD Country Squire, the Escort wagon now served as half of the Ford station wagon line.

Powertrain details[edit]

While the Laser shared powertrain offerings with the Mazda Familia/323, the Escort carried over the 1.9L CVH inline-4 (retuned to 88 hp) from the previous generation. For 1991, the engine replaced the previous throttle-body fuel injection with a sequential configuration (SEFI); to allow for a lower hoodline, the engine was tilted forward.[7] The Escort GT dropped the CVH engine, replacing it with the Mazda-sourced 127hp DOHC BP 1.8L I4 (shared with the Mazda Protegé LX and Mazda MX-5). The 4-speed manual and 3-speed automatic transmissions were dropped. Both engines were paired with a standard 5-speed manual transmission; a 4-speed automatic was offered with the 1.9L engine as an option.

The 1.9L engine was one of the first Ford engines to feature distributorless ignition (known as EDIS, Electronic Distributorless Ignition System). In line with the (much) larger Ford Taurus SHO and the Ford Crown Victoria, the Ford Escort GT was fitted with 4-wheel disc brakes.

Engine configuration Engine family Production Fuel system Output (SAE Net) Notes
Horsepower Torque
113 cu in (1.9 L) I4 Ford CVH engine 1991–1996 Sequential Fuel Injection (SEFI) 88 hp (66 kW) 108 ft⋅lbf (146 N⋅m) Standard/Pony, LX
112 cu in (1.8 L) I4 Mazda BP engine 1991–1996 Multi-port Fuel Injection 127 hp (95 kW) 114 ft⋅lbf (155 N⋅m) GT, LX-E

Design history[edit]

1994 Ford Escort GT
1995 Ford Escort LX station wagon

For 1991, Ford introduced the second-generation Escort under Pony, LX, and GT trims, returning the previous three-door and five-door hatchbacks and five-door station wagon. While growing in wheelbase, the Escort saw only negligible growth in overall size, gaining less than two inches in length and approximately 100 pounds of weight.

For 1992, to improve engine cooling, the grille oval around the Ford emblem was enlarged in size. In a trim change, the base-trim Pony was dropped for the last trim, becoming an unnamed standard trim Escort. For the first time, a four-door Escort sedan was introduced, with the LX-E trim serving as the Ford counterpart of the Mazda Protegé LX and four-door Escort GT (equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, larger front brakes, larger clutch, equal-length driveshafts, larger anti-roll bars, dual-outlet exhaust, sport interior, and 1.8L DOHC engine).

For 1993, 1.9L Escorts moved from 13-inch to 14-inch wheels (last used in 1990); the GT continued its use of 15-inch wheels. For non-wagon LXs, a "Sport Appearance" option package was introduced; along with 14-inch alloy wheels, the option included a decklid spoiler and the full-width taillamps used by the GT.[7]

For 1994, a driver-side airbag was added to the dashboard; dual airbags were made standard for 1995, requiring a redesign of the dashboard.[7]

For 1996, the Escort saw few changes, as the third generation was introduced for 1997.

Production Figures[edit]

Ford Escort Production Figures[20]
3-door 5-door Sedan Wagon Yearly Total
1991 182,445 114,944 - 57,337 354,726
1992 81,023 57,651 62,066 58,950 259,690
1993 89,761 58,909 69,796 157,239 375,705
1994 87,888 39,837 59,052 108,372 295,149
1995 91,875 50,233 62,713 115,960 320,781
1996 64,964 11,807 13,439 35,199 125,409
Total 597,956 333,381 267,066 533,057 1,731,460

Third generation (1997–2003)[edit]

Third generation
1997-99 Ford Escort wagon.jpg
Overview
Production1996–2002
Model years1997–2002
AssemblyWayne, Michigan, United States
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Body and chassis
Body style4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
PlatformMazda B platform
RelatedMazda Protegé
Mercury Tracer
Powertrain
Engine2.0 L SPI2000 SOHC I4
2.0 L Zetec DOHC I4
Transmission5-speed G5M manual
4-speed F-4EAT automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase98.4 in (2,499 mm)
LengthWagon: 172.7 in (4,390 mm)
Sedan: 174.7 in (4,440 mm)
Width67.0 in (1,700 mm)
HeightSedan: 53.3 in (1,354 mm)
Wagon: 53.9 in (1,369 mm)
Curb weight2,468 lb (1,119 kg)

The restyle dropped the hatchbacks and added a new sporty coupe for the 1998 model year.

The Escort sedan and wagon used the lower-powered CVH SPI2000 engine with 110 hp (82 kW). There are subtle differences in the Escort sedan from 1996 to 2002. The trim lines for 1997 were base and LX, for 1998–2002 it was offered in LX and SE trims. For 1999, the reverse lights were moved into the same piece as the tail lamps; they were previously below the tail lamp on the body.

A very rare trim package was available with chrome 14 in (36 cm) wheel covers and other features. It was offered in 1999.

Ford Escort sedan
Ford Escort LX wagon

The Escort was offered in a "sport" package as well. The Mercury Tracer's version was called the "Trio" or "Sport" depending on the year. A basketweave type of wheel was put on the Tracer Trio while a flower petal pattern was used on the Tracer Sport. The Sport/Trio package included aluminum wheels, a sport exhaust tip, a tachometer, and a rear decklid spoiler.

The Escort wagon largely retained the same body style, gaining only the new interior, front end and fascia, side-view mirrors, door handles, badging, and slightly restyled taillamps and reflectors. The black window frames on the doors of some models became body-colored.

Both the Escort wagon and the Mercury Tracer sedan and wagon were discontinued after 1999. The Escort sedan was discontinued in 2002, but continued to be sold as fleet and rental cars only. It was replaced by the Ford Focus[citation needed]. The last Ford Escort rolled off the assembly line in June 2002. The last ZX2 rolled off the assembly line on March 21, 2003. In Mexico, it was replaced by the smaller Ford Ikon.

Engines[edit]

  • 1997–2002 2.0 L (1986 cc) CVH SPI2000, SOHC I4, 110 hp (82 kW) at 5,000 rpm, 125 ft⋅lbf (169 N⋅m) at 3,750 rpm, redline 5,500 rpm sedan and wagon
  • 1998–2003 2.0 L (1989 cc) Zetec, DOHC I4, 130 hp (97 kW) at 5,750 rpm, 127 ft⋅lbf (172 N⋅m) at 4,250 rpm, redline 6,500 rpm, 7,200 rpm rev limiter ZX2
  • 1999–2000 2.0 L (1989 cc) Zetec, DOHC I4, 143 hp (107 kW), 146 ft⋅lbf (198 N⋅m) ZX2 S/R

ZX2[edit]

ZX2
MyZX2.png
Overview
Also calledFord Escort ZX2
Production1997–2003 (USA)
1997–2000 (Canada & Mexico)[citation needed]
Body and chassis
ClassSport compact
Body style2-door notchback coupe
PlatformMazda B platform
RelatedMazda Protegé
Mercury Tracer
Powertrain
Engine2.0 L Zetec DOHC I4
Transmission5-speed G5M manual
4-speed F-4EAT automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase98.4 in (2,500 mm)
Length175.2 in (4,450 mm)
Width67.4 in (1,710 mm)
Height52.3 in (1,330 mm)
Curb weight2,478 lb (1,124 kg)
Chronology
PredecessorFord Probe

The 1998 Escort ZX2 replaced the Ford Probe as Ford's sport compact car. The ZX2 was a much lower-slung and rakish car than both the Escort sedan and wagon, aimed squarely at the youth market as a replacement for the Escort GT (although lacking the its rear disc brake setup) and was built exclusively at Ford's Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, assembly plant. The interior was refreshed for 1999, and the model was retired after 2003. It had a completely redesigned dashboard, and included a panel that unified the heat and radio controls, similar to that of the third generation Ford Taurus.

The 1998 Escort ZX2 coupe featured the 2.0 L, 130 hp (97 kW) Zetec DOHC four-cylinder engine as standard equipment, an option unavailable on the sedan or wagon. Intended for use as the base engine in the larger European Ford Mondeo and its American cousins, the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique, the Zetec gave the ZX2 respectable performance, running 0–60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

The 1999 and 2000 models offered a performance limited edition ZX2 S/R which further enhanced the car's performance.

For 2001, the four-door sedan was limited to fleet sales only and the Escort moniker on the Escort ZX2 was quietly dropped, making the car officially just a two-door notchback coupe.

The Ford Focus debuted in 1998 (1999 in the U.S.) and was produced concurrently with the ZX2. Despite some popularity, the ZX2 was replaced by the Focus ZX3, ZX4 and ZX5. Though the two cars share the same Zetec engine, there are a few differences. The Focus lacks the exhaust-side VCT, and contains less aggressive camshafts that push the power band down a few hundred RPM. The two models share the same block but, due to the different camshafts and the different cylinder head, the torque output for the Focus was bumped up by 8 ft⋅lb (11 N⋅m). Thanks to better gearing and less weight, the ZX2 continued to outperform the Focus. The ZX2 continued with little more than 15 in (38 cm) alloy wheels and a rear defroster newly offered as standard equipment, and for 2003, a revised front fascia. Production ceased at the end of the 2003 model year.

ZX2 S/R[edit]

The increased presence and success of tuner models from overseas in the late 1990s caused Ford to create their own performance model, the ZX2 S/R, meant to compete with cheap factory performance sport compacts such as the Honda Civic Si and the Dodge Neon ACR. Its initial debut was at SEMA's Import Auto Salon in Pomona in 1999. The ZX2 S/R was the first product jointly developed by Ford Racing and Ford Motor Company's Small Vehicle Center Product Development.

Ford's final limited production count was 2,110 units, consisting of 110 yellow S/Rs for 1999, the first two of which were sold in Columbus, Ohio, and the other 108 in California; and for 2000, 500 black, 500 red and 1,000 yellow S/Rs were sold. The upgrade price to the S/R package was $1,500 in both years. It is believed that only 35 of those 2000 S/Rs were sold in Canada, making it a very rare trim there.

The optional S/R package added stiffer suspension parts (Eibach springs (M-5560-Z2), Tokico struts (M-18000-Z2) and Energy Suspension brand polyurethane suspension bushings), more power (through a Ford Racing PCM (M-12650-Z2)), more efficient intake (Roush or Iceman), rear disc brakes (M-2300-Z2), a stronger 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) and boot (M-7277-Z2), upgraded seats, a unique blue valve cover, a different speed cluster that goes up to 150 mph (240 km/h) and a unique tire and wheel package. Engine power was increased 10% over the base Zetec engine used in the ZX2 to 143 bhp (107 kW; 145 PS), courtesy of a recommended premium fuel re-calibration, new air inlet system, the performance PCM, improved Borla muffler and pipe (M-5230-Z2). All ZX2 S/Rs have a special "S/R" badge on the back, either silver (on a red car) or red (on a yellow or black car). Some S/Rs went out of the assembly plant without some of the performance mods. The suspension bushings were not installed at the factory but instead packaged with the car for installation at the dealership. This also led to many cars leaving the showroom without the full complement of S/R parts.

Sales[edit]

Calendar year American sales
1998[21] 334,562
1999[22] 260,486
2000 110,736
2001[23] 90,503
2002[24] 51,857
2003 (ZX2 only) 25,473
2004[25] (ZX2 only) 1,210

References[edit]

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External links[edit]