1997 Ford Thunderbird

  • 1997 Ford Thunderbird LX Notchback

    LX Notchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.8L V6
    • MSRP
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1997 Ford Thunderbird Review

Reserved styling with plenty of power.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Ford Thunderbird offers sporty power under the hood with reserved styling on the exterior. Extremely fun to drive, the Thunderbird offers power, reliability, and plenty of interior space and cargo room. Available in only a single trim, the Thunderbird LX offers enough to please most buyers. Overall, the Thunderbird is a solid choice, despite poor rear crash test ratings.

The Range

Body Styles: coupe
Engines: 145-hp 3.8-liter 145 V-6, 205-hp 4.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Ford Thunderbird LX

What's New

After years of revisions, the 1997 Thunderbird has very few updates. The center console is revised, the brakes are upgraded to four-wheel disc brakes, and the exterior paint is now available in a few more color options.


The Thunderbird comes in over thirty paint colors, and special factory paint jobs are available as well. The wheels are 15 inches, and they are available in chrome or alloy. Other exterior options include a keyless entry system, a power moon roof, and a rear spoiler. The outdated design has been the same for the past eight model years, but it is clean and classy. It measures 72.7 inches wide, 52.5 inches tall, 200.3 inches long, with a curb weight of 3561 pounds and a wheelbase of 113.0 inches.


The 1997 Ford Thunderbird comes standard with front bucket seats. Upholstery is cloth, but leather is an available option. A leather steering-wheel cover is also available. Standard features include cruise control, power steering, and power windows, locks, and doors. Interior options include rear bucket seats, a premium audio system with a CD player, and a power-adjustable driver's seat. The interior is roomy for a coupe, even in the back – it measures in at 56.6 inches of rear hip room, 37.5 inches of rear head room, 35.8 inches of rear leg room, and 58.9 inches of rear shoulder room.

Performance & Handling

The standard 145-horsepower (hp), 3.8-liter V-6 offers plenty of power, but the optional 205-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 makes the 1997 Ford Thunderbird quicker on the road and better at accelerating. Rack-and-pinion steering makes driving extremely smooth. Optional limited slip differential and traction control ensure more dependable handling. Overall, the Thunderbird offers a sporty ride with a clean design.


The 1997 Ford Thunderbird comes standard with driver and passenger front side airbags. Additionally, fog lights are standard for increased visibility. Optional safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes for better stopping power. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted extensive crash testing on the Ford Thunderbird. The NHTSA rated the passenger and driver with five out of five stars for excellent safety in frontal-impact tests. In side-impact front tests, it earned three out of five stars for safety, and the side-impact rear tests resulted in a worrisome one out of five stars. Overall, the Ford Thunderbird offers decent safety.

EPA Fuel Economy

Ford Thunderbird LX: 16/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Classy styling
  • Great engine choices
  • Decent safety ratings

You Won't Like

  • Dated design

Sum Up

Reserved styling with plenty of power.

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