UK CAR Reviews: Ford Escort 1.8 Ghia estate 1998





The Ford Escort has been around for decades now and is one of the worlds most popular cars.
Produced in various body styles over the years including hatch, estate, saloon and even cabriolet.

Fords Escort has been one of the UK's best sellers throughout the seventies eighties and nineties. replaced now with the Focus it has been shelved as a name at least for now. Who knows maybe in years to come Ford may produce another model and call it Escort just for nostalgia.

The Escort tested was an estate with the 1.8 engine and the specification "Ghia" which is as old as the Escort itself. Ghia is mainly associated with Ford and it is generally the best spec car in the range. 

1998 Ford Escort 1.8 Estate

Now of course they have added an x which surpasses the Ghia. Through the seventies the Ghia was what every working class male wanted be it a Granada or even the ultimate a Capri 3.0 Ghia wow! how thing have thankfully changed however the best association I have with Ghia is dell boy with his Capri Ghia. The Ghia is as classic as only fools and horses and both will sustain popularity for a long time to come. 

 

This model of Ford was introduced in 1995 and is pleasant enough looking. The exterior has chrome grill and boot trim which add just that little touch of class. Colour coded bumpers mirrors and side moulding add to the general appearance. The general front end is very rounded without any sharp styling and the rear is simply estate like just squared off. Front fog lamps are standard on the Ghia these do add that little something in looks as well as improving driving visibility on those rare but dangerous foggy nights which we do suffer from time to time in the UK.
The Escort is quite long in its class it is longer than the Astra and even the Audi A4 which is a little surprising. 
Roof rails are standard on the estate and are quite happy to carry a reasonable load, a rear load cover is also standard for the times when you don't want your personal items in view, the boot carry capacity is as large as 1415 litres when the seats are folded down this is very respectable.
The interior is very plush with velour trim on the seats and door pads, the boot is simply charcoal in colour very  good in hiding any accidental spillage. The general layout of the with-gear and controls such as the window switches is good the dash is easily read and the general view from the drivers seat is good the seating is quite high allowing even a short person good visibly. I'm not entirely sure about the plastic wood that keeps getting fitted to cars but yes the Ghia has it and it is in your face.

Ghia Interior trim with the classy wannut finish. Boot load area with load cover retracted.

The Ghia has lots of standard features such as head rests fitted both front and rear, the rear head rests can be removed to fold the seat backs flat for that extra carry space.
Electric operated front windows which are located in the center consul I prefer the switches which are fitted on the drivers door pad. The location in the central area and low are some what of a distraction when driving. But I guess you would quickly become familiar. Next to the window switches is the remote boot release button which works only when the engine is off thus preventing any accidental opening whilst on the move.
The factory tilt and slide sunroof has been on Ford's Ghia models for years and indeed has not changed much at al. The sunroof operates in an upward motion allowing ventilation and will then retract into the roof lining for the benefit of ventilation and the pleasantness o0f having a sunroof. There is also fitted a blind which is retracted with the sunroof and simply pulled forward when required. This is effective in keeping direct sunlight off you. It also directs air forwards and downwards when the sunroof is in the up position giving a very pleasant ventilation around the head area.
Electric operated mirrors are also fitted these are ideal if there is more than one driver of the car enabling easy and convenient adjustment of the exterior mirrors.
A heated front windscreen is also standard these are great on those frosty morning when you neighbour is using their credit car and kettle to clear their windscreen you just press your heated front and rear screen buttons sit and wait a small time and hey presto the screen is defrosted. 
The cup holder is fitted in the center consul area and appears to be an after thought. It as a small arm rest in its normal position and a cassette storage tray and cup holder when opened. Absolutely no use to the driver as is behind and difficult to reach, you would not find a hot coffee easy to drink and rest in this holder.
The time clock is worth a mention as it is embossed with the Ghia logo a small touch of class and a constant marketing reminder of what you are driving.
Driving position is very good the drivers seat is height adjusting with lumbar support and height adjustable seat belts and in addition the steering column adjust upwards and downwards for that just ideal position. The steering wheel itself is leather coated and has a very good feel factor.


The engine which powers this car is a twin cam 16 valve four cylinder transverse unit. It produces a respectable 115 bhp and takes the car to 60 mph from standing in only 9.2 seconds not bad for an estate family car. It can achieve a top speed of 122 mph and is very efficient on fuel giving up-to 44 mpg.


The engine is fully controlled electronically for the best power and fuel ratios, it has a multi point fuel injection system with a catalytic converter fitted as standard. The ignition system is fully electronic and very reliable.
driving the escort Ghia is actually quite good the engine provides sufficient power for most occasions, The engine will rev very freely right through its rev range and it does it without excess noise or giving an impression that it simply did not want to. 
The gear box is very smooth and easy to select. reverse is a doddle unlike some new cars which have to have levers lifted for reverse selection. The car tested had covered in excess of 80,000 miles and performed and drove with ample power and no exhibits of mechanical wear were evident at all, the gear shift was I must say as good as new.

The suspension on the car is independent with front Mc Phearson struts and independent rear coil springs. This is a good set up allowing all wheels the ability to support the car best where and when required.
Braking is servo assisted with front ventilated discs and rear brake drums. Anti lock braking is also fitted to assist when you are just that little bit out of control!.
Power assisted steering is standard on the 1.8 model it is very even and effective the steering wheel itself is a good size some I find too big and uncomfortable, the Ghia has a sports feel to the steering which is somewhat encouraged with a simple but sporty wheel being fitted.
The wheels are 14" with 185 tyres fitted these are almost now a standard size now for a car of this class and do very much enhance grip cornering and braking. Not so good however in snow. 

The escort in this model range has many types of safety systems fitted including drivers air bag, side impact protection fitted as standard in the doors, and pre tensioned front seat belts.
The Escort is now also like many other makes in that it has a transponder style key which is uniquely coded to the car. If the key is not used to start the car and force or other means are tried the engine management system will not run the engine.
Ford supplies a master red key with the cars when new allowing further replacements quite easy to reproduce when needed. there is also a standard alarm fitted which is activated by locking the car, a micro switch in the central locking turns the alarm on and off. A good idea in principal but Ford locks are traditionally not very reliable and therefore the alarms are the same.

 

The Escort has been produced for so long now that it is almost un-noticed but it is very much still a car of good value and in the main reliable and cheap to run. Fords competitors are now many, Ford has had it's work cut out to protect its market. the Escort I don't think is as popular in any other country as the UK Ford deserve than credit in keeping it so popular and maintaining the lions share when they did produce this longstanding car of many styles.
A good all round option for the family work or play however there is not something that extra that would tempt you from any other marque.

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