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1997 Ford Escort Review
No better starter car.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Ford Escort provides a compact automobile. For 14 years, the Escort has been a top seller for Ford Motor Company, often ranking as one of the top 10 cars in North America. The Escort offers affordability, reliability, and safety. A popular choice for first-time car buyers, the Ford Escort welcomes many consumers to the Ford family. Ford’s intends to impress and keep these buyers with Ford, even if they choose to move on to another vehicle later.
In recent years, competing automakers such as Honda and Dodge have lured some first-time buyers away from Ford with similarly priced vehicles offering more power and amenities. This leads to the manufacturer making improvements across the board to the Escort via a complete redesign for the 1997 model year. The redesigned Ford Escort offers more power on hard acceleration, a smooth and quiet ride, and an enhanced suspension system for more torsion stiffness and less vibration. Other interior and exterior improvements bring the Ford Escort up to date in the wake of increased competition.
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Ford Escort, Ford Escort LX
The 1997 Ford Escort shows a complete upgrade after undergoing a complete redesign. Both the base and LX contain a two-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 110 horsepower. Other interior and exterior enhancements to the Escort for the 1997 model year modernize the car in the wake of mounting market competition from vehicles such as the Dodge Neon, Geo Prizm, and Honda Civic.
The Ford Escort measures 174.7 inches long. It has a width of 67 inches and stands 53.3 inches tall. With the automatic transmission, the Escort has a curb weight of 2457 pounds, while a 1997 Ford Escort with a manual transmission weighs 2503 pounds. The Escort rides a wheelbase of 98.4 inches with standard 14-inch silver steel wheels. The turning diameter totals 31.5 inches.
When it comes to style, the new Escort has a more refined demeanor with fewer cut lines.
The 1997 Ford Escort accommodates five people. Front headroom measures 39.1 inches, with 36.8 inches of rear headroom. Front legroom reaches an accommodating 42.5 inches, while rear legroom stays at a tight 34 inches. The back seat seems fine for children but won’t be comfortable for adult passengers. The base and LX Escorts come standard with bucket seats, cloth seating, power steering, height-adjustable front seat belts, and an upgraded stereo system. Air-conditioning provides an optional feature. The LX also offers optional cruise control, power windows and locks, a child seat, a CD changer, sport seats, a tilt steering wheel, and a tachometer.
Dashboard clutter has been significantly reduced with the Escort’s new interior redesign. Stereo and climate controls combine. The cup holders remain cheaply designed and prone to spills.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Ford Escort’s two-liter, four-cylinder engine performs adequately. Recent powertrain improvements have transformed the Escort into an effective runner. The Escort serves as more of a point A to point B commuter car than a flashy performance vehicle. Overall handling and performance feels solid.
The Escort uses rack and pinion steering with a front strut suspension, front coil springs, and a multilink rear suspension.
The 1997 Ford Escort comes standard with driver and passenger front airbags. NHTSA crash tests rate the Escort with four stars for passenger safety and three stars for driver safety in front-impact crashes. The Escort also earns three stars for both front and rear safety in side-impact collision.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Escort LX: 28/37 mpg city/highway
- Great fuel economy
- Comfortable ride
- Fold-down seats to maximize cargo space
- Smooth shifting
You Won't Like
- Cup holders
- Foggy headlights
- Little room in back seat
No better starter car.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Cavalier
- Dodge Neon
- Hyundai Elantra
- Geo Prizm
- Honda Civic