Used 1997 Ford Aspire

1997 Ford Aspire
List Price Estimate
$768 - $1,826

Pros & Cons

  • Fuel efficient, reliable transportation with a three year warranty for less than most three year old used cars.
  • The 1.3-liter engine is despairingly weak
  • this isn't the car to buy if your daily commute involves climbing many hills.
Ford Aspire years
Ford Aspire for Sale

Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Commonly known among Ford salespeople as the "Expire" because of its asthmatic acceleration, the Aspire replaced Ford's spunky Festiva in 1994. Originally, the Aspire was the only subcompact available with standard dual airbags and optional antilock brakes. Now, all subcompacts on the market offer standard dual airbags and optional antilock brakes.

The Aspire is available in three- or five-door hatchback body styles, in a single trim level. A torquey 63-horsepower engine motivates the Aspire, but the optional automatic transmission effectively severs what little power it is able to transmit to the front wheels. We have received considerable mail from people who have rented the Aspire when on budget vacations or cheap business trips who were horrified to discover that the car was unable to maintain freeway speeds when confronted with the most innocuous of inclines.

Aspire is surprisingly roomy inside, and the dashboard houses easy-to-read, if basic, instrumentation. Base prices start at just under $8,600 and can climb to a maximum of just over $14,000 for a fully loaded five-door hatch.

This year Ford limits revisions to interior/exterior color changes, new wheel covers, and a higher final drive ratio on models equipped with an automatic transmission .

Aspires are affordable and reliable, but there are other models in this class that offer the same with much more go power. We can only recommend the base three-door model with a manual transmission, because prices escalate quickly once the options are added, pushing the Aspire into Hyundai Accent territory. Pile the options on and you might as well buy the bigger, more powerful Ford Escort. Stick to the basics, and the Aspire is a good value, especially when the local Ford dealer offers them up for a big discount in price. Beware of inexpensive program cars, though, chances are that they have been driven at or near redline by Hertz renters in Orlando for all of their 20,000-30,000 miles.

1997 Highlights

This Kia-built entry-level Ford gets a higher final drive ratio on models equipped with an automatic transmission. New wheel covers, paint choices and interior trim are the only other changes.


Overallundefined / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Ford Aspire.

5 star reviews: 22%
4 star reviews: 44%
3 star reviews: 30%
2 star reviews: 4%
1 star reviews: 0%
Average user rating: 3.8 stars based on 23 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • fuel efficiency
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • engine
  • driving experience
  • doors
  • handling & steering
  • acceleration
  • electrical system
  • seats
  • spaciousness
  • maintenance & parts
  • transmission
  • oil
  • climate control
  • interior
  • appearance
  • lights
  • value
  • brakes
  • warranty
  • visibility
  • comfort
  • road noise

Most helpful consumer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars, My Prim is growing up!

I received my '97 Aspire about six months ago as a gift from my fantastic grandparents, and immediately named her Primrose. Prim had 38,000 miles when I got her, and the previous owner kept detailed records of all maintanence. She's been a fantastic little car with amazing gas milage and small, inexpensive repairs. I certainly plan to keep her for as long as she'll hold up to my busy lifestyle!

2.625 out of 5 stars, Ok first car

I bought my ford aspire last December as my first car. I paid Five hundred dollars for it. Since than i have put at least eight hundred dollars in repairs into the darn thing. From Bad motor mounts to tires, I've replaced it. I don't blame the car itself because the previous owners never even changed the oil in the car. It took four oil changes to finally get it cleaned out! I have to tell you for what this car been through I'm surprised it still goes, the engine is good condition just everything around it is what's wrong. If I'm gentle with the throttle i will get 35 mpg city and 35 mpg highway it has the 3 speed automatic. The transmission requires you to floor it to shift down.

4.625 out of 5 stars, Misunderstood Vehicle
K.C. Courier,

I am a courier and have used this vehicle for 7 years. Upkeep has been low for a very heavy demand car. Gas mileage is still very close to 40mpg on mainly a city driving route. AC is excellent but has required upkeep. Visibility is excellent with higher clearance. Speed to 70 mph is comfortable but gets rough past that. The Aspire is cheap to purchase and operate. You must maintain this vehicle with proper care - if you do it will take good care of you. Do not allow transmission fluid or engine oil to get low. Front axles are cheap and should be maintained. At 198,000 I have not had to do any major engine work. This little car still hums and with the 5 speed my acceleration is fine.

5 out of 5 stars, I have loved this car for 21 years!
Dawn Shuler,
2dr Hatchback

I bought my 97 Ford Aspire brand new with 25 miles 20 years ago. It now has 98,000 miles. I have loved this car for the most part. The only issue I had was a cracked distributor cap the 1st year I had it and Ford wouldn't pay for it. It cost 900.00. I live in the North so we have horrible winters with salt on the streets. It is starting to rust a little but it always turns over and gets me where I need to go. Great gas mileage! It is bigger inside than it seems from the outside. I have moved several times and it has plenty of room inside. You sit up high in your seat and all the windows are large which is good since I am only 5'4''.I will be sad when I have to buy another car. I wish they still sold them because I would buy another! I have had to have some front end work done because the streets are full of potholes. But this is about it. If you can still find one, buy it! You wouldn't be disappointed! It is 2018 and she is still in my garage! I am taking her in tomorrow to see about a oil leak. Hopefully it isn't anything major. She is a like member of the family!

Write a review

See all 23 reviews

Features & Specs

4dr Hatchback features & specs
4dr Hatchback
MPG 29 city / 38 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
63 hp @ 5000 rpm

2dr Hatchback features & specs
2dr Hatchback
MPG 29 city / 38 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
63 hp @ 5000 rpm

See all Used 1997 Ford Aspire features & specs


IIHS Rating

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.

Side Impact TestNot Tested
Roof Strength TestNot Tested
Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
Moderate Overlap Front Test


Is the Ford Aspire a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 1997 Aspire both on the road and at the track. You probably care about Ford Aspire fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Aspire gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that carrying capacity for the Aspire ranges from 14.9 to 17.0 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Ford Aspire. Learn more
Is the Ford Aspire reliable?
To determine whether the Ford Aspire is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Aspire. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Aspire's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 1997 Ford Aspire a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 1997 Ford Aspire is a good car. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 1997 Aspire is a good car for you. Check back soon for the official Edmunds Rating from our expert testing team Learn more
How much should I pay for a 1997 Ford Aspire?

The least-expensive 1997 Ford Aspire is the 1997 Ford Aspire 2dr Hatchback. Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $0.

Other versions include:

    Learn more
    What are the different models of Ford Aspire?
    If you're interested in the Ford Aspire, the next question is, which Aspire model is right for you? Aspire variants include 4dr Hatchback, and 2dr Hatchback. For a full list of Aspire models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 1997 Ford Aspire

    Used 1997 Ford Aspire Overview

    The Used 1997 Ford Aspire is offered in the following submodels: Aspire Hatchback. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback, and 2dr Hatchback.

    What do people think of the 1997 Ford Aspire?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 1997 Ford Aspire and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 1997 Aspire 3.8 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 1997 Aspire.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 1997 Ford Aspire and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 1997 Aspire featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our Review Process

    This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

    We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

    What's a good price for a New 1997 Ford Aspire?

    Which 1997 Ford Aspires are available in my area?

    Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Ford Aspire for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 1997 Ford Aspire.

    Can't find a new 1997 Ford Aspires you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new Ford Aspire for sale - 4 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $25,640.

    Find a new Ford for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $22,260.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 1997 Ford Aspire?

    Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

    Check out Ford lease specials