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Ford Escort ZX2



  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    "Finally got the escort right"

    I don't know about that. I think they had it right with my '94 GT. Judging by feel I would have to say it handled and felt at least as good as the ZX2, and a bit more solid. Overall I would say my enjoyment level was a little higher in the other one, except for how visually dull it was. Does anyone have any specs on it?
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Oh yeah, I also liket the old 1.8l beter in the GT, except for some reliability issues.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    Just my opinion, but I think the ZX2 is pretty cheesey. The S/R is the car and the 94 GT can't compare with it at all.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    drm4869, does your S/R have the Roush intake or is it a Ford copy of the Roush piece. Does the B&M shifter feel unusually stiff to you or is it pretty smooth? I put the S/R shifter in my ZX2 and as much as I like the shorter throw, seems like it takes a little too much muscle to get into 3rd and 5th.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Define Cheesy. It may be cheesy, but its a cheesy car that outperforms most of its competitors.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Now that I've replaced the rims and rubber, the only beef I have with this car is the lousy 106mph speed limiter. I may not go that fast regularly, but when I do it irritates me when the car just stops accellerating at that relatively modest speed.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    Well, the Z sits up so high on its chassis that it detracts from the cars appearance. Springs are too soft. Shiffter throw is too long and shifter is too far forward. The seating position is truck-like. Brakes are not crisp. Steering ratio is too slow.

    The S/R addresses most of my complaints. Would love to get one.

    Little by little I am hanging S/R goodies on my Z and I am getting very fond of it.

    The Z is one of the most underrated cars on the market today - with just a few tweaks, it is a very respectable sportscar (don't tell shifty I called it a sportscar).
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Heh, shifty's like God here, his eyes are everywhere ;-)

    It needs tweaks, thats for sure. But no more then any other car in this class. Go drive a Cavalier and you'll feel better about the Z!

    BTW, what rims and rubber do you have on her? And a while ago you said something about making a mistake with the eboch springs? what was that about, cause I'm considering lowering.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    Cavalier isn't worth a tweak. Same for Sunbird or whateve they call it these days. Cheap tweaks on Z give big results.

    I put a set of 7" rims on but still have the factory rubber with about 17,000 miles on it. Figure those tires will go another 3,000 before they're shot. Oddly enough, I like the RSAs. They don't stick very well, but they are unusually predictable. They let you know when they have reached their limit.

    My tire budget only has about 400 bucks in it, and I want somethin that will last a couple or years.

    Eibachs???? Best mod you can do on the Z! For one thing the car takes up less sky now and looks much sharper. They are only about 8% stiffer, so you can actually get by with your original struts. You will notice a little bounciness though from lack of rebound dampening. Seems to me that the combination of the 8% spring rate increase and dropping the CG down 1.5 inches does wonders for the car. With good rubber, it will be as sticky as the Miata. Not as well mannered, but as capable. Does that make sense?

    Do the Eibachs first, then the struts, then the rubber, then the shifter, and finally the motor (chip, intake, etc). Screw the exhaust - its fine as is. End result - excellent Honda Eating GT that many would consider a FWD sportscar. I'd really like to go to the rear disks as well, but at some point you have to wonder if you are putting a silver saddle on a mule.
  • dunn3dunn3 Posts: 29
    and I don't see how you could have beaten a Civic unless it was a DX. My ZX2 is ok, but I know that the Honda is a better made automobile
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    I agree the Honda is "better made" but the Z is geared low, light,and has an unusual engine. Fords 2 liter 16 valve Zetec not only produces 130 or 140 pounds of torque at about 4200 rpm, but 80% of that torque is available all across the rpm band. You don't have to be doing 5,000 rpm to get strong pull. I'm amazed at how many V6s there are out there that can't keep up with the little Z. Of course they are pulling heavier cars with automatic gearboxes, but nonetheless, in real world driving situations the Z is very respectable performer.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    dunn3: I agree with you, Civics are much better made. But the ZX2 performs better then any civic except the 160 hp SI (SI R in canada) which a couple grande more, and the ZX2 can be modified to match the SI for that money. Stock, it accelerates, brakes, and steers better then any other stock civic. replace the tires and it does almost everything better. Civics have a smoother, quieter engine, and is more refined overall though.

    Ralex: I've replaced the factory rims with 16"x7" and the rubber with 205/45 HR's. The only other mod I want to do is lower it and I'm done. That will cover all the cars problems except top speed without having to sink too much money into it (I've checked, I'll be able to transfer the rims onto the miata when I get it in two years) I've never had a problem with the shifter other then the long throw.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    The 16s probably look pretty good. Initially I wanted to go that route, but decided to get a 15 in wheel so I could use up my stock tires, then go to a 205x55-15 tire. I though the 45 series tire would liven up the steering. Did you notice a difference in steering response?

    Seems like I only paid about 229 for the Eibachs. Well worth it - you will definitely like them.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Roadgrip is the most noticable difference, being several ratings higher then the stock, and I find the reduced sidewalls seem to have increased stability around corners. I find the wider tires make the steering seem a little tighter and more accurate, which I like.

    You paid $229 total for the springs? Did you install them yourself. I'll have to pay someont to do it.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    Actually its the reduction in sidewall flex that makes the steering seem tigher.

    Turns out the Eibachs were $219 + shipping. Here is the link:

    Nice guys!

    A friend of mine owns a good garage and he gives me good deals from time to time. He has a good spring compressor, so one Saturday I gave him a hand and he changed the springs for me for nothing. Next week I will get the struts done the same way. Should have done them at the same time! I don't recommend doing the springs yourself - can be dangerous without right equipment, but there are a lot of people who "do it in the driveway."
  • drm4869drm4869 Posts: 4
    ralex2,my shifter seems a little tight going into second and third gears ,but i think that`s because its so will probably loosen up in time,overall i like that short throw,sweet.when i blew that honda off it wasn`t from a start it was on a twisty road which i love to open it up.the driver either couldn`t drive or the civic just didn`t handle good.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    Interesting. I wish I knew more about the linkage on transaxles. The Tiburon has a very sweet shifter for FWD, the Neon R/T was a joke, the ZX2 is ok but long and the B&M mod is short but stiff. Looks like there would be an asjustment that could be improved. Mine was super stiff when I installed it, but freed up with time. Still stiffer than the Tiburon though. Oh well, part of the charm of the car is it's peculiarities.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    I agree fully with you the Hondas are much better made. They run smoother and are a credit to the Japanese who designed them. However performance wise the ZX2 can hold it's own against most of them. And it not a dime a dozen on the road. As intrigued as I am by all the mods being discussed here; for my part I will have to hold off on any upgrades until I have paid off and financialy recovered from my accident.
  • twig93twig93 Posts: 38
    AUDI - Always Unsafe Designs Implemented

    BMW - Big Money Works Bought My Wife
    Brutal Money Waster
    Bimbette Motor Weapon
    Break My Window
    BUICK - Big Ugly Indestructible Car Killer

    CHEVROLET - Can Hear Every Valve Rap On Long Extended Trips
    Cheap, Hardly Efficient, Virtually Runs On Luck Every Time
    Cheap Heap, Every Valve Rattles, Oil Leaks Every Time
    Condition Hopeless, Entire Vehicle Relies On Leftover Engine

    DODGE - Drips Oil, Drops Grease Everywhere
    Dem Old Dudes Go Everywhere
    Dead or Dying Gas Eater
    Dear Old Dad's Geriatric Express

    FIAT - Failure in Italian Automotive Technology
    Fix It All the Time
    Fix it again, Tony!

    FORD - First On Recall Day
    First On Race Day
    First On Rust and Deterioration
    Fix Or Repair Daily
    Found On Road, Dead
    Fault Of R&D
    Fast Only Rolling Downhill
    Features O.J. and Ron's DNA
    Found On Russian Dump

    GM - General Maintenance
    Great Mistake

    GMC- Garage Man's Companion
    Got A Mechanic Coming?

    HONDA - Had One Never Did Again

    HYUNDAI - Hope You Understand Nothing's Drivable And

    MAZDA - Most Always Zipping Dangerously Along

    OLDSMOBILE - Old Ladies Driving Slowly Make Others Behind
    Infuriatingly Late Everywhere
    Overpriced, Leisurely Driven Sedan Made Of Buick's Irregular
    Leftover Equipment

    PINTO - put in new transmission often

    PONTIAC - poor old Neanderthal thinks its a Cadillac

    SAAB - Send Another Automobile Back
    Swedish Automobiles Always Breakdown.
    Sorry Arsed Auto Builders

    TOYOTA - Too Often Yankees Overprice This Auto

    VOLVO - Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object Vehicles Of Low
    Velocity Owners

    VW - Virtually Worthless
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    I dont think there is any comparison.

    The ZX2 comes standard with 130 hp engine which probably beats all but the most powerfull Civic. What is up with all of thos Civic models anyway? (DX, EX, HX, CX, they seem to be endless and the base engines are useless).

    I dont think comparing at 14,500 ZX3 S/R to a 17,500 Civic SI is an unfair comparison. I am an S/R owner and I was actually able to purchase my $15,400 S/R for $13,000 after dealer discount and and 1500 cash back. The SI is more like $18,000 with delivery. Just try negotiating with any Honday dealer to buy an SI at invoice. They will politely show you the door.

    With out considering price, the edge goes to Honda for their silky smooth refinement, but for the money (which is the most important factor for all of us in the real world) the S/R is the better buy.

    I think the only competion to the S/R is the Hundai Tiburon. The Tiburon is supposed be a very sporty car but I cant get past its appearance.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    I felt good in the Tiburon, but the S/R should ourperform it, and like you, I think the exterior is pretty strange looking. The hood / front fender design is terrible. The earlier tibs looked much better. All those Leggo knobs on the interior are hard to get used to. I understand they are plastic with silver paint to emulate pot metal. I do like the Tibs shifter and the suspension is supposed to be very good. Hope they make one for grown-ups next year.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    I agree with you there about the Tiburion's looks. Slightly odd resembling the current Acura Integra but not quite as refined. The front end in particular needs some work. I wouldn't have mind test driving one. But there is only about 2 dealers within 50 miles of location. And niether could provide me one for a test drive when I was making my desicion.

    The primary competitors to the ZX2 are the Neon, and Cavalier. Both of those cars failed badly during my shopping center cart tests. Though both in my opinion are far more luxurious cars with nicer and far more generous options packages. My problem with both cars is that I couldn't get past the sloppy handling and performance. Yes I like comfort and yes I am royal furious for not getting the top line fully loaded ZX2 when I could have. However with me I was looking for a car at an affordable price that could compete with my now dead 89 Acura Integra; hence the ZX2.

    Luxury and comfort are nice and should not be overlooked BUT good Performance was my first issue after price. Besides you can always add the luxuries later on down the road.

    One of the dangers in the ZX2 is that we tend to compare it against cars other categories. I suspect part of this is because the performance is so much higher than it's competitors. A customer of mine in the shop I work who owns one was even suggesting it was a rival for Jaguar and Lexus. To which all I can say is "yeah right". Five minutes behind the wheel of either of those two cars I am sure would have have convinced him of his stupidity. Beyond a passing slight resemblance in Body Style to the Lexus, four wheels, seats, the presence of an internal combustion engine, there is NO COMPARISON.

    I have often said many times when people have suggested I could have gotten this car or that car. My only regrets with the ZX2 are that I was too conservative with my wallet and didn't plan the purchase very well. Short of moving into the next category of car I still would have purchased the ZX2. Though with a much higher end luxury package. The car handles like a dream, it can and will hold it's own against most of it's contemporaries. Including many those in the next two categories up of cars.

    Right now though I think I will just be happy to get my car back from South Carolina and have my court case behind me. Damn that accident realy screwed my life up for the moment. I keep wanting to plan for this or that, but until I know whats going to happen in the near future I am afraid to get my hopes up. I am starting to see why people sue for emotional recompensation.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    A couple weeks ago you mentioned the mud guards. Today parked in the parking lot beside my "rent a @#@#" Escort, was a Tropic Green ZX2 with black Mudguards. It actually looked pretty good. The owner had also added some 1/4 inch thich 3 inch wide black body side moldings around the rear bumper. Very tasteful to look at and though it seems ridiculous to protect your bumper with a bumper. I daresay though very practical for minor nicks and abrasions. The interior had also been dressed up with lots of custom leather around the window frames, roof liner, and doors. Though I question the wisdom of addding a padded leather roof to a car that is notorious for it's lack of head room. IT did however look very comfortable. He had also replaced the seats with some overly padded leather ones that where of a different shape, and the interior was trimmed in simulated wood. I have no idea how much of a small fortune he paid for all the mods; probably a small fortune. Cosmetically though they did look rather nice and gave me lots of food for thought.

    Other than the mud guards and trim; exterior wise the car's owner had replaced the wheels with spoked 14 inch ones and added I think Good Year Eagle GA tires. What other mods he had done I don't know, but it was interesting to see. Even if I can't afford a damn thing right now and I am still bemoaning my ZX2s absence.

    Silly point Ralex my old dad agrees with you about Focus ZX3. He was checking up on my cars progress for me, and on a lark he test drove one. He fell in love with it it immediately.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Am I the only one who thinks the Tiburton shifter (I've only test driven the '00 model) is an even longer throw then the ZX2, and a little too smooth (some resistence is nice) Personally the only thing I liked about the Tiburon was that it a superior sporty feel. The car is lower, and the seats are designed with a sportier feel. The car also seemed to hug the road a little better, giving the driver a better feel for it. Otherwise I found the car sluggish in both acceleration and response, and overall very cheaply finished. Hyundai has come a far way, but they have more miles ahead of them.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    Yes Freddy, you are the only one! I have driven 3 Tibs, one automatic and 2 five speeds. Of course the automatic couldn't get out of its own way - very sluggish. My main attraction to the Tibs was the sportscar feeling the cockpit provides. The seats are good, the seating position is much better than the Z, shifter/wheel/pedal positions were just right for me, shifter was short throw & smooth, steering felt better than Z, and suspension felt very good. Unfortunatlely, it was all just a "feeling." The car is slower than the Z and does not grip as well as the S/R. I like the warranty, but overall -- the Z is still the better buy - especially if you ever need to buy parts!!

    The Z is lighter than the Tib and the two are close to being same size. Yet the Tib is very smmall inside by comparison. Personally I like that. It creates a "intimate" cockpit feel that the Z lacks. Z is very "old Taurus" like on the inside. Typical Ford thing - afraid to do the cockpit the right way instead of the Ford way!
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    It seems we agree on everything else, but I just can't figure out the shifter thing. Maybe they've improved on them recently. Ore was it the old model that you are thinking of? It wouldn't be the first car to have something get worse instead of improve.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    2000 models Freddy. They were nothing like Miata toploaders, but for transaxle with 5 feet of linkage, they were great.

    Only vehicle with longer shifter throw than ZX2 is coming off Fords truck line.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    STrange discovery here. I have Actualy discovered something I like in the crappy Escort I have as a loaner. I gets better gas mileage than my ZX2. Granted I am not too sure exactly what the gas mileage is I have not done the mileage calculations on it. However I guess it is close to 40 miles per gallon. BUT I still want my ZX2 BACK!!!
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Performance first. Mileage second.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    Freddy I couldn't agree with you more... The more I drive this Escort the greater the loathing I have for this blue 4 door piece of @#@#. Honestly if I had to buy 4 door sedan in the same price range I think I would be looking at getting a used Sentra or some other car. I really is pathetic.
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