Ford Escort (1990 – 2000) Review

Ford Escort (1990 – 2000) At A Glance


+Looked okay in a bland kind of way, three-door more attractive than five-door, formed the basis of RS Cosworth, massively improved with subsequent facelifts in 1992 and '95

-The 1990 original was a deadly dull and deeply cynical car, dreadful unassisted steering, rust kills them off

The 1990 Ford Escort - the fifth generation car to bear the name - was by far the least convincing to be launched by Ford. In an extraordinary U-turn, the company that had brought us the bold and interesting Sierra and Scorpio,  delivered a car so unimpressive, conservative, and cynically conceived, that the press staged a mass revolt against the car. Far more damagingly, the fifth generation Escort lost its top-selling spot from the UK charts (to the Fiesta). The problem was that although the 1990 Escort was a brand new car, it failed to improve on its predecessor in any meaningful way - and was also hampered by its carry-over CVH engines.

Stung by criticism and disappointing sales, Ford knuckled down to the matter of improving the car. Less than two years after the original was launched, Ford introduced the oval-grilled facelift car. It might not have looked much different, but improvements in the suspension and steering set-up made it a better drive - and much more importantly, the 16v twin-cam Zetec engines were a huge improvement. By the end of 1992, the Escort was at least class-competitive. The 1995 facelift saw new front-end styling, and ushered in a new dashboard - but again, it was a much improved car to drive.

The most interesting 1990-2000 Escorts were the go-faster and cabriolet models. The first RS2000 - initially powered by a modified version of the Sierra's I4 twin-cam developing 148bhp, and after the dullness of the car it was based upon, its excellence was a genuine surprise. At the first facelift, the RS2000 was improved further, and offered with the option of four-wheel drive. The RS2000 made it to the second facelift, but was finally phased out in early 1996 - today, very rare, and sought after by Ford enthusiasts. The XR3i name had also made a return with the first facelift n 1992, but the Zetec-powered warm-hatch was far less impressive.

Ask Honest John

Why does my car continue to run even when the key is removed from the ignition?

"I have a Ford Escort 1.8 TD but the ignition lights are on even when the key is not inserted. It goes out if the brake pedal is depressed. The engine continues to run when the key is removed but stops when the brake pedal is depressed?"
Escorts are well known for faulty ignition switch actuators. Check yours by removing the cover under the steering wheel and you'll be able to see where it connects to the ignition barrel.
Answered by Keith Moody

Is a 1995 Ford Escort Cabrio a classic car?

"I have a ‘black grape’ (purple) 1.6 litre Ford Escort Solar Cabrio bought from new in January 1995 so it’s a one-owner car. It has done just over 50,000 miles and has been regularly serviced. It runs well and is in above average condition. Could you tell me what it is worth or how I can get it valued? I believe it has the potential to be a classic particularly as the car is rare now."
We've often wondered why these Escort cabriolets aren't a bit more popular, given the UK's love of (almost) all things Ford. Prices for the XR3i soft-tops have started to pick up a bit, but you can still find special editions like the Silouhette for £1800 in the classifieds - you could probably ask a bit more for yours, given the fact is a one-owner car presumably with FSH. One thing we would say is that we've seen one or two of these go through auctions but not sell - so it looks like the demand isn't quite there yet. Great if you're a buyer, not so great if you're a seller. If you need a valuation for insurance purposes then the best thing to do is contact one of the many Ford clubs.
Answered by Keith Moody

How much would an average condition Ford Escort be worth?

"I'm trying to reach a reasonable value for a 1992 Ford Escort 1.4 base model (3-door). How much do you think it would be worth if I put it up for sale?"
A good rule of thumb is that a car is only worth as much as a buyer wants to pay for it, and a lot of its value is determined by several different factors. Roughly speaking a project would be about £350, an average one about £600, and a really good one about £1150.
Answered by Keith Moody

How many Ford RS2000 4x4 Mk6 models are left on the roads?

"How many Ford RS2000 4x4 Mk6 models are left on the roads. And what's the price of a mint one today?"
According to DVLA data, there are 41 RS2000 4x4 taxed - although there could be others on SORN. There's also an inputting error which lists 4x4 and 4WD separately. According to Stuart Light (Escort mk5/mk6 RS 2000 Registrar at the RS2000 Owners' Club) very good examples sell from £6.5k to £7.5k.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Ford Escort (1990 – 2000) cost?