Used 1997 Ford Aspire

1997 Ford Aspire
List price range

Pros

  • Fuel efficient, reliable transportation with a three year warranty for less than most three year old used cars.

Cons

  • The 1.3-liter engine is despairingly weak
  • this isn't the car to buy if your daily commute involves climbing many hills.

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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.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Ford Aspire.

My Prim is growing up!
kkandprim, 7/10/2012
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!
Ok first car
Tyler, 9/15/2010
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.
Misunderstood Vehicle
K.C. Courier, 10/22/2006
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.
160,500 miles and still running well!
rolynne, 8/12/2009
I was looking for a reliable, low-cost, used compact when I found a listing for an Aspire 2-DR automatic. After reading reviews here I went ahead and bought it. I'm pretty satisfied with it, especially the mileage it gets. It does have a lot of interior noise and could use a bit more pick-up on the 0-60 time, but once it gets going it has no problem keeping its speed up.
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Features & Specs

MPG
29 city / 38 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
63 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
29 city / 38 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
63 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Ford Aspire features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Ford Aspire
Used 1997 Ford Aspire Overview

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

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Ford Aspire?

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