1995 Ford Escort Review
Big value in a small package
The Escort has undergone several styling revisions since its 1981 debut, and it now shares some mechanical and structural elements with the Mazda 323/Protege family. That's good company, but in terms of appearance the Escort just doesn't create much excitement - an Escort is an Escort is an Escort.
There's nothing wrong with this conservative design. It just lacks any real personality, something that can be said for the entire Escort line. Ford didn't take any chances with this look, so it's not as current as many of the Escort's competitors are, including the new-for-'95 Mazda Protege. And a redesigned Escort is still more than a year away.
On the other hand, it can be argued that the Escort looks more contemporary as a wagon than it does as a sedan.
Fatter 175/65 tires on 14-in. wheels, a '94 upgrade, give the Escort Wagon a more substantial look, as well as a little extra grip in cornering. And of course the whole understated package is very trim and tidy, as you'd expect of a car in this size class.
The Escort line has been brightened up for 1995 with five new exterior colors: Deep Iris, Coral Mist, Ultra Violet, Deep Forest Green and Silver Frost. All of these are clearcoat metallic finishes.
Even though the outside is familiar, a new wraparound instrument panel spiffs up the interior quite a bit.
The interior makes this car considerably more attractive from a safety point of view - the Escort joins the passive restraint mainstream in '95 with the addition of standard dual airbags and knee bolsters.
The new instrument panel is a marked improvement over older Escort designs, with an instrument cluster that's well laid out and easy to read. And we always appreciate having a tachometer.
Secondary controls are standard stalks - easy to reach, easy to operate.
The climate control system is another story. It's a stretch to reach, as are the audio controls. With their tiny push buttons, Ford sound systems are far from the industry's best. Operating the controls requires taking your eyes off the road, as well as a steady hand. There's definitely room for improvement here.
Our Escort's front bucket seats were roomy enough and provided good leg-room, although there was not a great deal of lateral support.
Even though the rear seats were cramped by adult standards, we'd rate the Escort's roominess as no worse than average among subcompacts. Our LX Wagon included 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks, which lent versatility to the cargo space.
And cargo space is a big plus for the Escort Wagon. With the rear seatback up, there's 30.6 cu. ft., with 38.9 in. between the rear wheel wells and more than 38.0 in. from floor to ceiling.
With the rear seats folded flat, the space expands to 66.9 cu. ft., which is best-in-class among subcompact wagons.
The rear hatch opening is wide and it's not much of a reach up to the cargo bed, making loading an easy chore.
Civilizing extras that went with our package included air conditioning and a higher grade of upholstery material.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 1995 Ford Escort, click here: 1995 Ford Escort.