Used 1998 Ford Escort Coupe

1998 Ford Escort
List price range


  • Economical, reliable transportation in a package that is vastly improved over the previous model.


  • Poor resale value.

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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 really put the Escort on the defensive. Why buy an 88-horsepower Escort LX, when the Dodge Neon offered 132 horsepower? Why get an Escort covered in poor-fitting plastic that is a bit too shiny, when the immensely refined Geo Prizm was available? Why get the noisy, vibrating Escort when the smooth quietness of a Honda Civic beckoned? Apparently enough people were asking these questions that the gang at the Blue Oval decided to update their entry-level offering.

In 1997, Ford updated their entry-level car by addressing three major areas. The first was 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 2.0-liter overhead-cam engine that produces 20 percent more horsepower and 14 percent more torque than the 1996 motor. 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 firmer 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 maturer chord, the new Escort has fewer cut-lines and a more polished demeanor than previous models. The obvious exception here is the Gen-X-directed ZX2 coupes, which are definitely not meant to attract a mature audience. 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 of updating the Escort.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Ford Escort.

Can't be killed
jaxson, 7/18/2009
This car is ridiculous. Got this in 11/01 used from some dude who wanted a car with cruise control. Had 56K miles on it, almost 8 years later I have 143K on it. No problems at all with this thing. Runs as smooth as it did the day i took it over. Oil is always clean, probably dont even have to get an oil change every 5k miles. I still have to replace the timing belt. The tie rods had to be occasionally replaced every now and then. But thats it. I wish this thing would die already so I can feel justifed to get a new car already!
Fantastic City Car
jhs7, 10/7/2011
I've driven this car for the past 11 years and have had very few problems with it. It has enough power to be fun to drive, and to get you around slow trucks when you need to, while still getting good gas mileage. The best thing about it, though, is the amazing amount of cargo space for an economy coupe. Between the surprisingly roomy trunk, and the fold-down seats, you can actually haul quite a lot of stuff. I am regularly surprised at how much I can stuff into such a small car. On top of that, it's one of the best-looking cars in its class, (IMHO), it turns on a dime, and it fits in almost any parking space. The only thing it doesn't do well is snow. But then, what little car does?
mmfm, 12/24/2010
Ive had my 98 zx2 forever. She never lets me down. Im the third owner. The guy b 4 me literally drove the wheels off of it. didnt change the oil for 3 years over 41000 miles. when i got it did a tune up an a oil change.I only run the best. 93 octane ngk11 plugs an 8mm wires. castrol sytec fully sythetic. has 336,588 miles on it right now. still rips. took it to quaker drag strip ran a 15.3 at 91mph. bone stock. blew quite a few doors off it its time an will continue til it dyes on me. Its a fact if u take care of ur car ur car will take care of u. i have replace everthing on it once or maybe twice but i definatly got my moneys worth !!!!!5 STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good car for young drivers
cpa0217, 9/25/2006
Bought for teenage driver. She has been driving it for 5 years. Other than some "wear & tear" items & maintenance, this has been a very trouble-free car.
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Features & Specs

22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 5750 rpm
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 5750 rpm
See all Used 1998 Ford Escort Coupe features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • 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

More about the 1998 Ford Escort
Used 1998 Ford Escort Coupe Overview

The Used 1998 Ford Escort Coupe is offered in the following styles: ZX2 Cool 2dr Coupe, and ZX2 Hot 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Ford Escort Coupe?

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