Ford Probe

The Ford Probe is a coupe that was manufactured in the model years 1989 through 1997 to replace the Ford EXP as Ford’s sport compact car. Built on the Mazda6 platform, the Ford Probe was initially designed to be a replacement for the Ford Mustang during the oil crisis in the late 1970s. When the oil crisis furor abated, Mustang buyers complained about the new look of the iconic car, especially the lack of a V-8 engine. Ford kept the design but later renamed the car the Probe.

More on the Ford Probe
Ford Probe Origins

The Ford Probe was the product of a joint venture between Ford and Mazda called AutoAlliance International.Ford manufactured Probes in the same factory where the Mazda6 and Mazda 626 were built. The Ford marketing team had determined that a front-wheel drive platform would lower production costs, and the front-wheel drive option was becoming more popular with consumers.

In 1990, the LX model was added. It offered a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that was also used in the Ford Taurus, Ford Ranger, Ford Tempo, and Ford Aerostar. The 1990 GT was equipped with a 2.2-liter turbocharged intercooled engine.

In 1993, the car was completely redesigned by the joint Ford/Mazda engineering venture. Mazda engineered the engine, transmission, and chassis while Ford engineered the body and interior, along with making other enhancements. Soon thereafter, the new Probe was introduced. Despite being longer and wider than its predecessors, the car was 132 pounds lighter. The result was a Probe with some of the best handling of any vehicle on the road. Engines included the 2.0-liter Mazda FS-DE 16 valve four-cylinder. The 2.5-liter Mazda KL-DE 24 valve V-6 featured double overhead cam designs and could be ordered with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission. In 1994, the 2.0-liter engine was paired with the Ford CD4E automatic transmission instead of the Mazda transmission.

Between 1993 and 1997, reviews claimed that the Probe GT was one of the best cars on the road for its price. In a coast-to-coast road test, it finished third behind an $80,000 Mercedes-Benz and an $80,000 BMW. With a price of about $15,000, it represented an attractive bargain.

Due to declining sales over the lifetime of the Probe as well as its poor sales record for that year, Ford discontinued the Probe in 1997, instead working on a major redesign of the Ford Mustang.

About theFord Probe

The 1989 Ford Probe is equipped with a 2.2-liter SOHC four-cylinder Mazda F2 engine and a four-speed automatic transmission. It was initially available in GL, LX,and GT trim levels and offered air conditioning as standard equipment.

Critics complained about the noise and rough ride in the GT model, and of the overall difficulty in entering and exiting either model of the low-profile Probe. An additional complaint about poor rear seat room was consistent throughout the production years and models.

Ford Features

The 1997 Ford Probe, a sleek two-door hatchback, has impressive cargo room and good visibility, which is sometimes a problem in hatchback styles. A base and GT model were made available in 1997. The Base model is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment includes bucket seats, power steering, power brakes, cloth seats, tinted glass, driver and passenger front airbags, AM/FM radio and a driver side airbag.

Optional equipment on the Base model includes a center console, keyless entry, power sunroof, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, power doors and windows, air conditioning, four-speed automatic transmission four-wheel ABS, alloy wheels, leather seating, AM/FM Cassette or AM/FM/CD stereo and a rear spoiler.

The Ford Probe GT is equipped with a 2.5-liter V-6 engine and a five-speed manual transmission. It offers all-wheel disc brakes as opposed to the drum brakes offered in the Base model, and requires premium gasoline. Standard equipment includes cloth bucket seats, fog lights, power brakes, power steering, 16-inch alloy wheels, tachometer, driver and passenger front airbags, and an AM/FM audio system.

Optional equipment included keyless entry, power sunroof, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, power windows and doors, power mirrors, chrome wheels, four-wheel ABS, leather seating, power driver’s seat, AM/FM/Cassette or AM/FM/CD audio system, and a rear spoiler. A four-speed automatic transmission was also available.The GT offered good handling for such a sporty car, but ranked poorly for back-seat room.

Ford ProbeEvolution

A new Sport appearance package was introduced in 1992. It included a rear spoiler and 15-inch alloy wheels for the GT model, whilethe GL and GX trim levels were dropped.In 1993,the Probe was completely redesigned and a year later, a passenger side airbag was added. The Sport package also gave the Base model an appearance that was close to the GT. In 1995, some options were lost, such as rear window windshield wiper, four-way seat height adjuster, and graphic equalizer. In 1996, struts and springs were modified for the GT after complaints about the harsh ride.

Select a Ford Probe Year

1997 Ford Probe

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1997 Ford Probe classifies as a front-drive, two-door hatchback that offers consumers a savory combination of solid performance and a sporty style, but often gets overshadowed by Ford’s traditional pony car, the Mustang.

1996 Ford Probe

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1996 Ford Probe serves as an extremely safe personal coupe.

1995 Ford Probe

Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The Ford Probe was originally introduced to replace the Ford EXP in the late 1980s.