Ford Escort (Europe)
The Ford Escort is a small family car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company from 1967 to 2003. Although it was originally a European model, the Escort badge has also been applied to several different designs in North America over the years (see Ford Escort (North America)).
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Class||Small family car|
|Body style(s)||2-door saloon (1968–1980)|
4-door saloon (1969–1980, 1983–2000)
3-door hatchback (1980–2000)
5-door hatchback (1980–2000)
3-door estate (1968–1990)
5-door estate (1983–2000)
2-door convertible (1983–2000)
2-Door panel van (1968–2000)
|Engine(s)||1.0 L, 1.1 L, 1.3 L, 1.6 L Ford Kent (Mark I, Mark II)|
1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L,
Ford CVH (Mark III, Mark IV)
1.1 L, 1.3 L,
Ford Valencia (Mark III & Mark IV) 1.6 L, 1.8 L
Ford Zetec (Mark IV)
Ford Escort Mark I (1968–1975)
| 1971 Escort Mark I saloon|
1971 Escort Mark I estate
|Production||Jan 1968–Nov 1974|
|Body style(s)||2-door saloon|
2-door panel van
|Engine(s)||1098 cc Straight-4 OHV|
1298 cc Straight-4 OHV (1300 & GT),
1558 cc Straight-4 (Twin Cam))
1994 cc Straight-4 (RS2000)
|Wheelbase||94.5 in (2400 mm)|
|Length||159.25 in (4045 mm) (saloon) |
160.8 in (4084 mm) (estate)
|Width||61.8 in (1570 mm)|
|Height||58.5 in (1486 mm)|
|Curb weight||1,690 lb (767 kg)|
The original Ford Escort was introduced in the United Kingdom at the end of 1967. It replaced the successful long running Anglia. The car was presented in continental Europe as a product of Ford's European operation. Escort production commenced at Halewood in England during the closing months of 1967, and for left hand drive markets at the Ford plant in Genk. At the beginning of 1970 continental European production transferred to a on the edge of Saarlouis, West Germany.
The Escort had conventional rear wheel drive and a four-speed manual gearbox, or 3 speed automatic transmission. The suspension consisted of a simple live axle mounted on leaf springs, but with rack-and-pinion steering. The Mark I featured contemporary styling cues in tune with its time: a subtle Detroit-inspired "Coke bottle" waistline and the "dogbone" shaped front grille — arguably the car's most famous stylistic feature. Similar styling featured in the larger Cortina Mark III (also built in West Germany as the Taunus) that was launched in 1970.
Initially, the Escort was sold as a 2-door saloon (with circular front headlights) and rubber flooring on the "De Luxe" model. The "Super" model featured rectangular headlamps, carpets, a cigar lighter and a water temperature gauge. A 3-door estate was introduced in March 1968 and a panel van in April 1968. The 4-door saloon appeared in 1969.
Underneath the bonnet was the Kent Crossflow engine. Diesel engines on small family cars were very rare, so the Escort featured initially only petrol engines — in 1.1 L, and 1.3 L versions. A 950 cc engine was also available in some export markets, but few were ever sold.
There was a 1300GT performance version, with a tuned 1.3 L Kent (ohv) engine sporting a Weber carburetor and uprated suspension. This version also featured additional instrumentation with a rev counter, battery charge indicator and oil pressure gauge. The same tuned 1.3 L engine was also used in a variation sold as the Escort Sport that used the flared front wings from the AVO range of cars but featured trim from the more basic models. Later on a further "executive" version of the Escort was produced known as the 1300E. This featured the same 13" road wheels and flared wings of the Sport but was trimmed in an upmarket, for that time, fashion with wood trim on the dashboard and door cappings.
There was, in the early days of the Escort, a higher performance for rallies and racing — the Escort Twin Cam, which featured an engine with a Lotus made 8-valve twin camshaft head fitted to the 1.5 L non-crossflow block which had a bigger bore than usual to give a capacity of 1558 cc. Production of the Twin Cam, which was originally produced at Halewood, was phased out as the RS1600 was developed.
The Mark I Escorts became very successful as a rally car, and they eventually went on to become one of the most successful rally cars of all time. The Ford works team was practically unbeatable in the late 1960s / early 1970s, and arguably the Escort's greatest victory was in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally being driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola. This gave rise to the famous Escort Mexico (1.6 L "Kent" engined) special edition road versions in honour of the rally car.
In addition to the Mexico, the RS1600 was developed which used a Kent engine block with a 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head. This engine was essentially a detuned Formula 3 engine designated BDA, for Belt Drive A Series. Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built at Ford's Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex. As well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened bodyshells making them an ideal model for rallying. Even today Mark I Escorts are still popular in the amateur rally scene. The BDA engine has a distinctive growling which can be heard for quite a distance when the vehicle is being driven hard, such as in competition.
Ford also produced an RS2000 model as a more "civilised" alternative to the somewhat temperamental RS1600 featuring a 2.0 L Pinto (ohc) engine. This also clocked up some rally and racing victories; and pre-empted the hot hatch market as a desirable but affordable performance road car. Like the Mexico and RS1600 this car was produced at the Aveley plant.
The Escort quickly became one of Britain's most popular cars, comfortably outselling the conceptually similar Vauxhall Viva HB launched two years earlier. It was also a success on export markets, though in the larger European markets it tended to be outsold by the Opel Kadett, its General Motors rival. The car was built in Germany, Britain and in Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Ford Escort Mark II (1975–1980)
| 1980 Escort Ghia|
1975 Escort Mark II estate: beyond the A pillar, second generation Escort Estates featured the same body panels as their predecessors, but at least the bonnet/hood section replicated the lines of the Mark II.
|Assembly||Halewood, England |
|Body style(s)||2-door saloon|
2-door panel van
|Engine(s)||1.1L OHV "Kent" Straight-4|
1.3 L OHV "Kent" Straight-4
1.6 L OHV "Kent" Straight-4
1.8 L DOHC "BDA" Straight-4 (RS1800)
2.0 L OHC "Pinto" Straight-4 (RS2000 and Australia)
|Length||163 in (4140 mm) (estate)|
|Width||61.8 in (1570 mm)|
|Height||55.65 in (1414 mm)|
|Curb weight||1,940 lb (880 kg) approx to tip a ex:any cortina -|
Unlike the first Escort (which was solely a British effort), the second generation was developed along with Ford of Germany. Codenamed "Brenda" during its development, it used the same mechanicals as the Mark I. The 950 cc engine was still offered in Italy but in larger markets elsewhere in Europe it was unavailable. The estate and van versions used the same panelwork as the Mark I, but with the Mark II front end and interior. The car used a revised underbody, which had in fact been introduced as a running change during the last six months of the life of the Mark I.
This car made a point, just with its four body styles, of competing in many different niches of the market, which rival manufacturers either had multiple models ranges, or simply none at all. "L" and "GL" models (2-door, 4-door, estate) were in the mainstream private sector, the "Sport", "Mexico", and "RS2000" in the performance market, the "Ghia" (2-door, 4-door) for an untapped small car luxury market, and "base / Popular" models for the bottom end. Panel-van versions catered to the commercial sector.
During the second half of the 1970s, the Escort continued to prove hugely popular with buyers in Britain and other parts of Europe.
A cosmetic update was given in 1978, with most models gaining the square headlights (previously exclusive to the GL and Ghia variants), some models gaining the Escort Sport wheels, and an upgrade in interior specification — the "L" in particular gaining a glovebox and centre console. Underneath a wider front track was given.
Production, after an incredibly popular model run, ended in Britain in August 1980, other countries following soon after.
As with its predecessor, the Mark II had a successful rallying career. All models of the Mark I were carried over to the Mark II, though the Mexico had its engine changed to a 1.6 L ohc Pinto instead of the ohv for the UK market. Other markets continued with the 1.6 L Kent in the Mark II and called it the "Sport" model. Also a new and potent model was released, the RS1800, which had an 1800 cc version of the BDA engine. It was essentially a special created for rallying, and surviving road versions are very rare and collectible today. There has been a long standing debate regarding how the RS1800 was homologated for international motorsport, as Ford are rumoured to have built only fifty or so road cars out of the four hundred required for homologation.
The works rally cars were highly specialised machines. Bodyshells were heavily strengthened. They were characterised by the wide wheelarch extensions (pictured right), and often by the fitment of four large spotlights for night stages. The BDA engine was bored to 2.0 L and gave up to 270 bhp by 1979. It was complemented by a strengthened transmission, five-speed straight-cut ZF gearbox, five-linked suspension and a host of more minor modifications. In this form, the Escort was perhaps not the most sophisticated of the rear-drive saloon cars that dominated rallying in the late 1970s, but it was reliable and powerful, and good enough to win in the hands of some of the best drivers of its day.
The late 1970s were a very successful period in rallying for Ford. The Mark II Escort continued its predecessor's unbeaten run on the RAC Rally, winning every year from 1975–79 and winning a variety of other events around the world as well. In the 1979 season of the World Rally Championship, Björn Waldegård took the drivers' title, Hannu Mikkola was runner-up and Ari Vatanen finished the year in fifth place, all driving Escort RS1800s. These drivers' successes throughout the year gave Ford the manufacturers' title, the only time the company had achieved this until the 2006 season, when Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen won title for Ford in Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Vatanen won the drivers' title in 1981, again at the wheel of an RS1800. This victory came despite the arrival on the WRC scene of the venerable four-wheel drive Audi Quattro. Ford placed in the top three in the manufacturers' championship for the sixth year in a row.
The 1.6 L (1598 cc/97 CID) engine in the 1975 1.6 Ghia produced 84 hp (63 kW) with 125 N·m (92 ft·lbf) torque and weighed 955 kg (2105 lb). For rally use, this can be compared to the 1974 Toyota Corolla which output 75 hp (56 kW) and weighed 948 kg (2090 lb).
The 2.0 L RS2000 version, which featured the Pinto engine from the Cortina, was available with a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h). The 2.0 L engine was also easily retro-fitted into the Mark I, and this became a popular modification, along with the Ford Sierra's five-speed gearbox, for rallying and other sports, especially given the Pinto's tunability.
The RS2000 was more distinctive, having a slanting polyurethane nose housing four round headlamps.
Australia and New Zealand
Ford Australia also built Mark II Escorts. The majority of Escorts (regular and performance models) sold there utilized the 1.6 L OHV Kent and the Cortina's 2.0 L Pinto engine (in a lower tune than European units, due to Australian emission laws). The bodyshells were 2-door, 4-door and van, the estate models not being available in Australia. The slant-nose RS2000 was sold as a regular production model in 1979 and 1980, in both 2-door and – unique to Australia – 4-door variants and in both 4 speed manual and 3 speed automatic. A total of 2400, RS2000's were made in Australia. The Escort, like the Cortina, was never popular on the Australian market, due to the competing Japanese imports, and the preference of Australian drivers for large 6cyl and V8 vehicles.
In New Zealand, Mark II Escorts were built from CKD kits at the Ford plant in Wiri, South Auckland. Unlike Australia, Escorts and Cortinas always topped the monthly sales lists, and all body styles including the estate were sold. Based on the British models (aside from using metric speedometers), the cars were sold in 1.1 L (base), 1.3 L (L, GL, 1300 Sport, estate and van variants) and 1.6 L (Ghia, 1600 Sport) variants — the 1.3 L being the most common.
The Escort was replaced in Australian and New Zealand by the Ford Laser in 1981, which was a badge engineered Mazda 323. The Escort returned to New Zealand in 1996, initially as an estate, as the Laser was only available as a hatchback and saloon. When local assembly of the Laser ceased in 1997, Ford New Zealand switched to importing the Escort hatchback and saloon, but then switched back to the Laser in 1999, as importing the Focus from Europe was then unviable. The Escort estate, however, remained on sale in New Zealand until 2000.
Ford Escort Mark III (1980–1986)
Codenamed "Erika", the third generation Escort was launched in September 1980. The code name alluded to the leader of the product planning team, Erick A. Reickert. The North American Escort introduced at this time was a derivative. The two vehicles were intended to share component designs, but separate engineering organizations and government regulations made this impractical.
The Escort Mark III was intended to be a hi-tech, high-efficiency design which would compete with the Volkswagen Golf, and indeed the car was launched with the advertising tagline "Simple is Efficient". The Mark III was a radical departure from the two previous models, the biggest changes being the adoption of front wheel drive, and the new hatchback body, which introduced trademark styling cues which would be later seen in the forthcoming Sierra and Scorpio, most notably the "Aeroback" rear end — the "sawn off" bootlid stump which was proved to reduce the car's drag coefficient. Also new were the overhead camshaft CVH engines in 1.3 L and 1.6 L formats, with the Valencia engine from the Fiesta powering the 1.1 L derivative. The suspension was fully independent all around, departing from the archaic leaf spring arrangement found on its predecessors. The Escort Mark III was voted European Car of the Year in 1981. From launch, the car was available in Base (Popular), L, GL, Ghia and XR3 trim.
However, the car attracted criticism from the motoring press at launch due to how its suspension was set up, with positive camber on the front wheels and negative camber at the rear, giving rise to the Mark III's infamous "knock-kneed" stance. Although this gave the car acceptable handling on perfectly smooth roads, once the car was tested on bumpy British roads the effects of this decision was obvious and the Mark III soon had a reputation for a harsh, unforgiving ride, with questionable handling. The shock absorber specification was to blame also, and it was not until 1983 that the suspension gremlins were finally ironed out. A three-speed automatic transmission was available on the 1.6 L engine within a couple of years of the car's launch. From mid-1982, a 5-speed manual gearbox was introduced across the range. This was now standard on the 1.6 L versions and could be specified as an option on most 1.3 L engines.
In order to compete with Volkswagen's Golf GTI, a hot hatch version of the Mark III was created from the outset — the XR3. Initially this featured a tuned version of the 1.6 L CVH engine fitted with a twin-choke Weber carburettor, uprated suspension and numerous cosmetic alterations. Despite the initial lack of a 5-speed transmission and the absence of fuel injection, the XR3 instantly caught the public's imagination and became a cult car which was beloved by boy racers in the 1980s. Fuel injection finally arrived in 1983 (creating the XR3i), along with the racetrack-influenced RS1600i. The final performance update arrived in the form of the turbocharged RS Turbo model in 1985.
Another engine introduced around the same time was the 1.6 L diesel engine. Developed in Dagenham, it was remarkably economical for its time, and still is to this day, managing over 70 mpg. It was available on the L and GL models. However, the performance was not so impressive, with only 54 bhp and a top speed of barely 90 mph.
The Escort estate was initially only available with three doors, but a five-door version was eventually introduced in 1983. In that year, a saloon version of the Escort, the Orion, was launched. It used the same mechanicals as the hatchback, but had a more upmarket image and was not available with the rather underpowered 1.1 L engine. The Orion name would continue in use through until 1993, when it was dropped and the Orion simply called "Escort".
A convertible version, courtesy of coachbuilder Karmann appeared the same year, significant as it was the first drop-top car produced by Ford Europe since the Corsair of the 1960s. The Escort Cabriolet was initially available in both XR3i and Ghia specification, but the Ghia variant was dropped after a couple of years.
Ford Escort Mark IV (1986–1990)
The Escort Mark III received a facelift in early 1986. Codenamed within Ford as "Erika–86", it was instantly recognisable as an updated version of the previous model, with a smooth style nose and the "straked" rear lamp clusters smoothed over. New features included an optional mechanical anti‐lock braking system (standard on RS Turbo models) and the option of a heated windshield — features which were at the time unheard-of on a car of this size and price. The trim designations were carried over from the pre-facelift car.
Trim designations for the Escort Mark IV:
- Popular: 1.1 L, 1.3 L petrol, 1.6 L diesel, 1.8 L diesel
- Popular Plus: 1.3 L petrol, 1.8 L diesel
- Bonus: 1.1 L, 1.3 L petrol (4-speed gearbox only)
- L: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol, 1.6 L diesel, 1.8 L diesel
- LX: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol
- GL: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol, 1.6 L diesel, 1.8 L diesel
- Ghia: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol
- Cabriolet: 1.6 L CVH carburettor (as seen in the Mark III Escort XR3) engine or fuel injected 1.6 L CVH engine (seen in the XR3i)
- XR3i: 1.6 L CVH engine equipped with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system Producing 105 bhp (from 1989 equipped with Ford EEC-IV engine management Producing 108 bhp)
- RS Turbo: 1.6 L CVH fuel injected engine with Garrett T3 Turbo producing 132 bhp
In Brazil, the trim designations were a bit different for the Mark IV:
- Hobby: 1.0 L CHT engine (petrol only) and 1.6 L CHT engine (petrol/alcohol)
- L: 1.6 L CHT engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 series engine (petrol/alcohol)
- GL: 1.6 L CHT engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 series engine (petrol/alcohol)
- Ghia: 1.6 L CHT engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 series engine (petrol/alcohol)
- XR3 Conversivel (cabriolet): 1.6 L CHT Fórmula engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 engine (petrol/alcohol)
- XR3: 1.6 L CHT Fórmula engine (alcohol only) and 1.8 L VW EA-827 engine (petrol/alcohol)
There were special series in Brazil:
- XR3 Formula: 1.8 L VW engine (petrol/alcohol), electronic suspension
- Guaruja (produced in Argentina): 1.8 L VW engine (petrol/alcohol), 5 doors
Note that in Brazil, the 1.8 L and 2.0 L engines were made by Volkswagen (VW) as part of the AutoLatina agreement, where Ford CHT engines were used in VW cars and vice-versa. The 1.0 L and 1.6 L were all ford CHT motors. All Escorts made after 1993 were fuel-injected. Also, the Mark IV model was made until 1992.
As well as an all-new interior, a new 1.4 L derivative of the CVH engine was introduced, as well as numerous suspension tweaks to address the long standing criticisms of the Escort's handling and ride quality, although these had limited success. A new LX version was introduced in 1987 in order to bridge the gap between the L and GL models. In 1989, the diesel engine was enlarged to 1.8 L, and the poorly‐performing 1.1 L version was finally dropped from the range.
To sell the last few 1.1 L engines, a special variant called the "Finesse" was released by Polar Ford.[clarification needed] This car featured colour-coded bumpers, vinyl decorations on the bodywork and a Capri style vinyl spoiler. Underneath the cars were identical to the standard Popular trim level.
The Orion was also proving popular with the motoring public, and Ford also gave the Escort‐based saloon a similar makeover. Carried over from the previous range was the 3–speed automatic which was ultimately replaced late in the production run with a variant of the CTX stepless gearbox as first used in the Fiesta a couple of years earlier.
Escorts for European markets continued to be assembled at the plants in Halewood and Saarlouis. However, sales were strong through the decade, and during the later 1980s Escort production also commenced at the Ford plant originally established for Fiesta production in Valencia.
At this time, the Escort was dropped in South Africa and replaced by the Laser and Meteor, although the Escort‐based Bantam pick-up remained in production, facelifted, and also sold as a Mazda Rustler.
This Escort continued production until 1995 in some foreign markets, especially Latin America. In 1993, the Escort Hobby trim was introduced in Brazil, using a 1.0 L 50hp engine derived from the European 1.1 L. This was done in order to be eligible for tax breaks.
The 1.0 L engine was unique to Brazil, whereas the 1.1 L engine was sold worldwide. This special 1.0 L engine was the same CHT 1.6 L used in the Escort but with smaller pistons, making it less powerful but very economic. A popular kit changed the pistons and crank rods to take the engine to 1.3 L capacity. This kit was made by COFAP in Brazil.
There were no trims with a high-power engine in Brazil — no turbos or Cosworth versions. The most powerful Escort was the Escort XR3 Formula 1991, which had 125 hp. Also, the on-board computer wasn't available in Brazil.
Ford Escort Mark V (1990–1992)
The fifth generation Escort platform (and Mark III Orion saloon) arrived in September 1990 with an all-new bodyshell and a simplified torsion beam rear suspension (instead of the Mark III's fully independent layout). Initially the 1.3 L, 1.4 L and 1.6 L CVH petrol and 1.8 L diesel units were carried over from the old model, and were starting to show their age in terms of refinement especially compared to Rover's state of the art K-Series engine launched in 1989.
Despite being the most eagerly awaited model for year, the Escort and Orion ranges were subjected to a surprising amount of criticism from the media and motoring public alike. Its uninspiring internal and external styling and its disappointing handling were the main reasons for this bad press. Some owners were also disappointed by the levels of quality. Despite this, the Escort remained hugely popular with buyers, coming second in the British car sales charts in 1990 and 1991 before topping the charts in 1992. The Orion was less popular, failing to feature in the Top 10 best selling cars in Britain after 1990.
Matters improved in 1991 when the all new Zetec 16-valve engines were launched bringing improved driveability, while also marking the return of the XR3i which was available with 2 versions of the 1.8 L Zetec engine. The 150 bhp (112 kW) RS2000 also appeared in 1991 with a 16v version of the Sierra's I4 2.0 L engine and also improved ride and handling meaning a Mark V Escort finally delivered on the road. Specification, however, were also higher than before. The Escort was now available with items such as power steering, electric windows, central locking, electronic antilock brakes and even air conditioning.
It was also in 1991 that Ford introduced an advertisement for their Mark V model whose music was shrouded in secrecy. To this day the Ford company have never revealed the identity of either the artist or title behind the 30-second commercial. The song contained the words "Ask for the impossible and I will show you how you can trust in me", although no songwriter has ever come forward to announce that they penned the piece.
1992 saw the launch of the Escort RS Cosworth, and a 5th generation Escort that was genuinely considered excellent. Intended to replace the Sapphire RS Cosworth as Ford's stalwart rally challenger, it used the turbocharged 2.0 L Cosworth 16-valve engine, generated some 227 PS (167 kW) and was capable of 225 km/h (140 mph), as well as having four-wheel drive. Its most memorable feature was its extremely large "whale-tail" tailgate spoiler. The 2,500 road-going examples sold (required for homologation purposes) were made, but demand for the car was so high that Ford kept producing them. These have a smaller turbo than the Homologation versions and came with the whale-tail spoiler as an option. The Escort Cosworth ceased production in 1996 but it has already achieved classic status, and has a huge following. However, the car wasn't really an Escort at all, being based from a Sierra floorpan and mechanics, including its longitudinally mounted engine, and was merely clothed in body panels to look (supposedly) like a standard Mark V.
The fifth generation Escort was launched in South America in 1992, being manufactured in Brazil and Argentina by Autolatina, a joint-venture between Volkswagen and Ford. This resulted with the top of the line Escort XR3i being equipped with a VW AP 2.0 L engine generating 115.5 hp / 86 kW (although this value is supposed to be lower than the actual value, a practice that was done before with the 1989 XR3 model). This generation also spawned two VW-branded cars with the same mechanics (but different body styles and interiors) called Pointer (five-door hatchback) and Logus, a two-door saloon.
- 1.3 L (1297 cc)
- 1.4 L CFi (1392 cc) CVH 52 kW
- 1.4 L EFi (1392 cc) CVH 55 kW
- 1.4 L G (1392 cc) CVH 54 kW
- 1.6 L EFi (1597 cc) CVH 79 kW
- 1.6 L G/H (1597 cc) CVH 66 kW
- 1.6 L EFi (1598 cc) Zetec 66 kW
- 1.8 L EFi (1796 cc) Zetec 77/85/96 kW
- 1.8 L D (1753 cc) Endura D 44 kW
- 1.8 L TD (1753 cc) Endura D 66 kW
- 2.0 L EFi (1998 cc) Ford I4 Engine 110 kW
- 2.0 L (1993 cc) Cosworth YBT 167 kW
Ford Escort Mark Vb (1992–1995)
Stung by the criticism of the original Mark V, Ford facelifted the Escort and Orion in September 1992, giving the revised cars a new grille, bonnet and, in the Escort hatch's case, a new rear end. A new 1.6 L 16-valve 90 bhp (66 kW) Zetec engine was introduced, replacing the previous CVH. Fuel injection was now standard on all petrol models, and Ford introduced a four wheel drive variant of the RS2000, offering much improved handling over its front wheel drive cousins. A first for the Escort also saw the introduction of all disc brakes on all four wheels as standard on all RS2000 and Xr3i models.
In 1993, the Orion name was quietly dropped, the saloon taking on the Escort badge. The crash structure was also improved, featuring side impact bars, improved crumple zones and later on, airbags. Though it appears airbags became standard much earlier in the UK, as there are L-reg cars with at least a driver's airbag present. These revisions made the Escort and Orion much better cars and they were competitive against rivals, if still not the best in class.
The facelifted Mark V Escort is sometimes referred to in error as the Mark VI, with the Mark VI in turn wrongly being called the Mark VII, which never in fact existed. UK-based enthusiasts generally agree that the model be referred to as the Mark Vb.
Ford Escort Mark VI (1995–2000)
The Escort was thoroughly revised in January 1995, although it was still based on the previous model. This version had new front lights, bonnet, front wings, front and rear bumpers, wing mirrors, door handles and 4 different front radiator grilles (slats, honeycombe, circles and chrome). The interior of the car was hugely revised too, featuring an all new dashboard arrangement of competitive quality. However, the underlying car was now four years old and most of its rivals were either new or to be imminently replaced.
Dynamically, the handling and ride were also much improved with revised suspension set up from that on the previous Mark V / Vb models. The sporty "Si" model had slightly stiffer suspension than the LX and Ghia variants, although the Si was otherwise the same as the LX with some additional standard, mainly cosmetic, enhancements such as front and rear spoilers (which were also available as options on the LX).
The RS2000 models ceased production in June 1996, and were the last Escorts ever to wear the famous RS badge. The RS badge did not resurface until the Focus RS arrived in 2002. A new Ghia X model was introduced around 1996, which included air conditioning and a 6 CD autochanger as standard. Although the equipment of the Ghia below it was reduced, it was now more affordable.
The last "standard" model to be introduced in 1997 was the GTi — the only GTi-badged Ford to ever be sold in Europe. This used the same existing 115ps (85 kW) 1.8 L Zetec-E engine found in other cars in the range, but included a body kit borrowed from the now cancelled RS2000 model, part-leather seats plus the standard fitment of ABS. The GTi was available in 3- and 5-door hatchback and estate bodystyles. (station wagon)[clarification needed]
In 1998, Ford announced an all-new car, the Focus, which was launched as a replacement for the thirty year old Escort. The Escort would continue to be offered for a further two years, as a move to give Ford's loyal Escort buyers time to get used to the Focus's (at that time) cutting edge design (a move which turned out to be arguably unnecessary as in the first full year that both Focus and Escort were simultaneously on sale, the Focus became Britain's best-selling car while the Escort dropped out of the top ten best sellers list). The range was cut down to "Flight" and "Finesse" editions. The 1.3 L, 1.4 L and 1.8 L petrol engines, and the three-door hatchback and four-door saloon bodystyles, were dropped (except in mainland Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and South America) and the only versions remaining were the 1.6 L petrol and 1.8 L turbo diesel. Prices were made more competitive and this managed to keep European Escort sales going until the last one rolled off the Halewood assembly line in July 2000, though stocks lasted into 2001 and several Y-registered (purchased from 01 March to 31 August 2001) examples were sold.
The van variant remained in production until 2002 when the new Transit Connect model was introduced. The Escort hatchback and station wagon were produced in Argentina until 2004, having been sold alongside its successor (the Focus) during the final stages of production.
In Chile, to avoid confusion with the US-market Escort which was being sold alongside it, this generation was sold as the "EuroEscort" for several years.
- 1.3 L CFi (1299 cc) HCS 44 kW (59 hp)
- 1.3 L CFi/H (1299 cc) HCS 44 kW (59 hp)
- 1.3 L EFi (1299 cc) HCS 37 kW (50 hp)/44 kW (59 hp)
- 1.4 L CFi (1393 cc) CVH 52 kW (70 hp)
- 1.4 L EFi (1393 cc) CVH 55 kW (74 hp)
- 1.6 L EFi (1597 cc) Zetec 66 kW (89 hp)
- 1.8 L D (1753 cc) Endura D 44 kW (59 hp)
- 1.8 L DT (1753 cc) Endura D 55 kW (74 hp)/66 kW (89 hp)
- 1.8 L EFi (1796 cc) Zetec 85 kW (114 hp)/96 kW (129 hp)
- 2.0 L EFi (1998 cc) Ford I4 Engine 110 kW (148 hp)
- Auto Motor und Sport Heft 18 Seite 162. Stuttgart. 2008.
- Ford Motor Company - Press Release - Ford heads Marathon rally to Sydney