The 1998 Ford Escort provides a compact car manufactured by Ford Motor Company. It debuted in 1981, and it uses some components and the general design of the European Mk II Escort. However, the current generation looks more or less like a car designed from scratch, with only the badge being shared.
At the time of its introduction, the Escort provided the first front-drive vehicle in the U.S., and it replaced the dated and allegedly unsafe Ford Pinto subcompact. The Escort turned out to be one of the most popular models in the U.S. throughout the 1980s, even more so than the Pinto. It became the bestselling car for a good part of the 2000s.
Body Styles: four-door station wagon, sedan, two-door coupe
Engines: 2.0-liter SOHC I-4, 2.0-liter DOHC I-4
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Ford Escort SE, Ford Escort LX, Ford Escort ZX2 Cool, Ford Escort ZX2 Hot
The entry-level car from Ford includes a revised list of models and packages this year. The 1998 Ford Escort comes in three body styles: sedan, wagon, and coupe. The Escort has also been qualified as a low emission vehicle due to its split-port induction four-cylinder engine.
With the recent release of more powerful and better-looking budget cars from the likes of Honda and Dodge, Ford revamps its own bread-and-butter car, and this results in the redesign in 1997. Ford addresses the exterior as one of the areas for improvement.
The 1998 Ford Escort maintains the same mature and refined exterior styling introduced for the previous year. The sheet metal has fewer cut-lines than the previous generation, giving the 1998 Escort a more polished look. This contrasts the ZX2 Hot and Cool coupes, which use classic sports car-like design cues to appeal to a younger audience.
The quality of the 1998 Ford Escort’s interior changes a lot with the revamp of 1997. Earlier generations of the Escort lack a certain fit and finish, but this model sees a lot of improvements. One of the biggest improvements results from the introduction of the Integrated Control Panel from the 1996 Ford Taurus. This particular panel combines stereo and climate controls conveniently in one location. It makes access and operation of both systems much easier for the driver and the passenger.
In terms of space, the front seats of the 1998 Ford Escort offer a generous amount of headroom and an average amount of legroom for adults. At the rear, knee room suffers from the biggest restriction in the wagon and sedan, and headroom causes a problem for the coupe. Ford offers plenty of interior storage options, and the actual trunk space remains just about average for the sedan and coupe. The wagon version, however, provides enough cargo space to make it a versatile hauler.
Performance & Handling
The Ford Escort offers two engine options. A single overhead-cam, two-liter straight-four delivers 110 horsepower. The ZX2 coupes get a slightly more powerful dual overhead-cam version of the same engine, delivering 130 horsepower. Both engines pair with a standard five-speed manual gearbox and a four-speed automatic transmission as an option.
Despite the hike from 88 horsepower in the previous generation, the new engine under the hood of the 1998 Ford Escort provides only average acceleration because of the increased weight. However, the engine remains a lot smoother and quieter than before. The automatic transmission works quite smoothly for this engine too, but the manual transmission offers a more lively feel.
The 1998 Ford Escort gets mediocre safety results in tests conducted by the NHTSA. It receives three out of five stars for driver safety and passenger safety in frontal-impact safety tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Escort two-liter I-4, automatic: 25/33 mpg city/highway
- Great fuel economy
- Improved looks
- Very low price
You Won't Like
- Poor resale value
- Noisy ride
- Lack of rear-seat room
A far cry from its previous generation, in a good way.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Cavalier
- Dodge Neon
- Honda Civic