Used 1997 Ford Escort

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1997 Ford Escort
List price range

Pros

  • Attractive new design. Good cargo space. Zippy new engine makes driving this car fun.

Cons

  • Not much rear seat room.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The Escort has been Ford's bread-and-butter car for the last 14 years. Think of it as the car that brings consumers into the Ford family. The Escort's low price, decent reliability and above average crash test scores have consistently offered recent college grads and young families an attractive set of American wheels. Recently, however, a rash of excellent cars from Dodge, Honda and Geo has really put the Escort on the defensive. Why buy an 88-horsepower Escort LX, when the Dodge Neon is offering 132 horsepower? Why get an Escort covered in poor-fitting plastic that is a bit too shiny, when the immensely refined Geo Prizm is available? Why get the noisy, vibrating Escort when the smooth quietness of a Honda Civic beckons? Apparently enough people were asking these questions that the gang at the Blue Oval decided to update their entry-level offering. The Escort needed help in three major areas; the first is power. The old 1.9-liter four-banger just wasn't getting the job done against the newer cars. Heck, the lowly Hyundai Accent and Suzuki Esteem had more power available than the base 1996 Escort. To tackle this, Ford replaced the old powerplant with a 2-liter overhead-cam engine that produces 25 percent more horsepower and 14 percent more torque than last year's model. This difference in engines is most readily noticed under hard acceleration; what was once a noisy bumpy affair is now a smooth, quite one. Coupe versions of the Escort are available with an even more potent engine, a 2.0-liter ZETEC powerplant taken from the Contour. This engine provides 130 eager ponies and 127 foot-pounds of torque.Ford's second area of concern was with body stiffness and vibration. Previous Escorts are notoriously wiggly over rough surfaces. The Escort's tendency to shake, which leads to a lot of rattle-and-roll, can really punish passengers on long commutes. One-piece body construction, a cross-car beam and stiffer stabilizer bars solve this problem by radically improving the Escort's torsional stiffness.Fit and finish, the Escort's third problem area, are also refined by the one-piece body construction; windows and doors fit better and are less likely to let in the weather. The instrument panel, a long-standing sore spot among Escort owners, has been brought up to speed by the introduction of Ford's Integrated Control Panel, first seen on the 1996 Taurus. The ICP reduces dashboard clutter by combining the stereo and climate controls. The single-unit ICP is very easy to use and allows eyes-on-the-road operation of its systems. Further interior improvements include rear-seat heater ducts, an upgraded six-speaker audio system and nicer upholstery and dashboard materials.Of lesser importance, is the Escort's new sheetmetal. Striking a more mature chord, the new Escort has fewer cut-lines and a more polished demeanor than previous models. We find this ironic considering how much more fun the new one promises to be. In the end, we feel that Escort is a real winner; no more increased blood pressure when merging with freeway traffic, no more shaking like a willow when driving over uneven pavement. Ford has done a fine job bringing this car up-to-date. We expect to see quite a few of these new Escorts on the road.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Ford Escort.

1997 Ford Escort station wagon
Fay Forto, 9/13/2009
It drives like new. I enjoy driving it and it is a great gas saver. I can drive all day long and it is fun to drive it. It takes 5 passengers including me the driver. It drives very smoothly. I can put groceries behind the back seat. I can also put things on top of the car. It is very useful to me. I love it because it gives the same comfort just like a mini van or SUV. It is very comfortable. It provides what I need in a car. I do not have to spend a whole lot of money buying an expensive car because this one provides me what I really needed in a car. I enjoy driving it and I want other car owners to know that it is not just foreign cars that saves me gas. I am happy with it.
300,000 kms and still going strong!
emersome, 1/12/2011
Bought my Escort Wagon used and best money I've ever spent on a vehicle so far. Plenty of cargo space but small enough you can park anywhere. Put winter tires on it and is amazing around town; have passed half-tons stuck on the side of the road. Can even do some light off-roading. Easily put 2 kayaks on top and has enough clearance that you can get where you need to go. Little slow off the start but once its going has lots of pep. With regular maintenance its been very reliable and is still zooming along at 300K. And fuel mileage is awesome! Had a hatchback Escort before and wasn't too thrilled but the Wagon has really been impressive.
Ford escort 97 station
micamans, 9/20/2014
I bought this car a year ago second hand. I needed a cheap car to get me to work and just prayed it would not die on me even though it had 220000 K's on it. It now has 310000 It still gets me from A to B fine. Ive had the problem that it sometimes refuses to go into first gear. This problem has something to do with the sync rings in the gearbox but the problem just seems to sort it's self out. Other then that I have not r had any problems with the car. It is quite sluggish compared with all of these modern cars here in Europe and the suspention is like spagetti in the corners, but hey it is no racing car.
bought new
Tony, 10/6/2015
We bought this nee and although we got it - 287000 miles it wasn't without lots of work. Alternator 13000 miles serpentine belt 32000 miles water pump 42000 miles alternator again 56000 miles battery 57000 miles EGR valve 62000 miles oxygen sensor 73000 miles fuel pump 81000 miles alternator again 92000 miles transmission torque converter 93000 miles needed new transmission 93000 miles head gasket 98000 miles alternator again 103000 miles blower motor and heater core 106000 miles radiator hundred and twenty eight thousand miles ac 172000 miles alternator again 181000 miles transmission again 201000 miles I'm sure I'm missing a whole bunch but I can't remember it all
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Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
110 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Ford Escort features & specs

Safety

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
    Acceptable

More about the 1997 Ford Escort
Used 1997 Ford Escort Overview

The Used 1997 Ford Escort is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan, 4dr Sedan, and LX 4dr Wagon.

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