With racy looks, a lightly tweaked engine and a family-friendly saloon body, the Escort Mexico served up a winning blend of performance and practicality.
In the days before the hot hatch, keen drivers on a budget lusted after one model – the Escort Mexico.
With racy looks, a lightly tweaked engine and a family-friendly saloon body, it served up a winning blend of performance and practicality.
Built to celebrate Ford’s win in the gruelling 16,000- mile London to Mexico rally of 1970, it was an instant sales hit. Buyers loved its wide-wheeled stance, bold optional graphics and eager performance. Although the 1.6-litre ‘Kent’ engine produced only 86bhp and could trace its roots back to 1959, it was reliable and responsive. The Mexico got the stronger bodyshell from the more expensive RS models, which aided its sporty, rear-wheel-drive character. Another factor in the two-door’s success was the ease with which it could be modified, even by owners themselves. Anything from styling tweaks to tuned mechanicals were available.
Even in a standard-spec car there’s a real sense of occasion once you get behind the wheel, while a sharp throttle response and raspy engine note add to the drama. Only a long-throw gearshift and slightly vague steering let this example down – although it is nearly 35 years old! However, it’s easy to see why all those fans fell for the Mexico in the first place.
* Performance: 2/5 * Heritage: 5/5 * Style: 4/5 * Driver appeal: 4/5
Model tested: Escort MexicoChart position: 7
In this review
- 1IntroductionThe Blue Oval’s performance hits From 1963-2009.
- 2New Focus RSThe latest – and possibly greatest? – addition to the blue oval’s stable.
- 31st Sierra RS CosworthAs with all the best fast Fords, the Sierra RS Cosworth exists because blue oval bosses wanted to go racing.
- 42nd Escort RS CosworthIf our top fast Fords were picked on visual impact alone, then the Escort RS Cosworth would be a clear winner. With its bulging wheelarches, aggressive nose and wild rear wing, it looks like nothing else on the road.
- 53rd GTIntroduced to celebrate the blue oval’s 100th birthday, the GT has the performance, power and looks to take on exotic rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
- 64th GT40The sunning GT40 took Le Mans victory spoils four times between 1966 and 1969 – and racing pedigrees don’t come much better than that.
- 75th RS200Jaw-dropping styling, fearsome performance and rarity – the RS200 has it all.
- 86th Escort RS1600To the casual observer it might appear to be a humble entry-level model, but the plain looks hide thoroughbred racing mechanicals.
- 97th Escort Mexico - currently readingWith racy looks, a lightly tweaked engine and a family-friendly saloon body, the Escort Mexico served up a winning blend of performance and practicality.
- 108th Lotus CortinaFor many fans, this is the first fast Ford. With its powerful engine, motorsport pedigree and affordable pricing, it set the template for the blue oval’s future high-performance models.
- 119th Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4It looks like a sober-suited saloon, but beneath this four-door Sierra Sapphire’s low-key lines lurks supercar-rivalling performance.
- 1210th Racing PumaWith bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner.
- 1311th Focus RSWith looks inspired by the firm’s World Rally Championship contenders, the RS is a real head-turner.
- 1412th Capri 2.8iBilled as the car you always promised yourself, the rakish coupé was a sales hit the minute it was launched in 1969.
- 1513th Escort RS2000 MkVShocked to see the MkV Escort RS2000 finish so high up the order? Well, you shouldn’t be – this is a fast Ford through to its very core.