Ford Escort XR3 and XR3i (1980 – 1990) Review

Ford Escort XR3 and XR3i (1980 – 1990) At A Glance


+Sharp looks, achingly cool (the early ones, anyway), nice handling

-Rotten ride, tinny build quality, not as fast as it looks

Ford was actually quite an early arrival on the hot hatchback scene with the extrovert - and devilishly handsome - Escort XR3, despite going on sale four years after the Volkswagen Golf GTI. And with that target in mind, Ford devised a package it felt should have blown the Volkswagen into the weeds.

Certainly in terms of looks and handling, it looked good enough. But the original XR3 of 1980 wasn't quite fast or refined enough. A tuned 1597cc CVH engine produced 96bhp thanks to a twin-choke carburettor, while front and rear spoilers and blacked-out trim made it visually appealing to '80s eyes. But Volkswagen could breath easy with its 110bhp Golf.

Better was to come though with the fuel-injected XR3i of 1983. With 105bhp and that all-important 0-60mph time in under nine seconds, it was a whole lot closer. But still not quite good enough to beat the German car - and emerging rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra GTE and MG Maestro EFi. But boy racers soon fell in love with the XRs, despite its shortcomings, in the same way their fathers had with the old rear-wheel-drive Escorts, such was its importance within the hot hatchback sector.

Ask Honest John

How much is my 1987 Ford Escort XR3i Convertible worth and where's the best place to sell it?

"I have a Ford Escort XR3i Convertible. It's a 1987 with 56k miles in excellent condition. I want to know how I can get the best price for it?"
You've got a few - but in your case you'll want to make the most of the incoming warmer weather and get your car seen in as many places as possible. Plenty of photos and lots of information are critical. Have a look at our guide here to pick up some tips:
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Ford Escort XR3 and XR3i (1980 – 1990) cost?