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Escort RS2000 MkV

Shocked 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.

Shocked 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.

When the final generation Escort was revealed in 1990, it was a huge disappointment. With lacklustre driving dynamics and no high-performance models, the newcomer had a tough time in the compact family class.

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But the RS2000 helped the Escort fight back. Key to its success was an all-new 150bhp 2.0-litre 16-valve motor and radically revised suspension settings. It matched the hot hatch competition in the visual stakes, too. A deeper front bumper, discreet power bulges in the bonnet and distinctive alloy wheels were all standard. Inside, the Escort’s drab cabin got the Recaro treatment and white dials.

A transformed driving experience was also part of the package. Direct steering, together with a balanced and composed chassis, helped the Escort take on the class leaders.

Unlike the original RS2000, this model excelled in motorsport. In 1994 and 1995 it won the front-wheel-drive class on the RAC Rally, before sewing up the British Rally Championship in 1996.

The MkV should be regarded as much more than a tarted-up family hatchback, and it certainly deserves its lofty placing here.

* Performance: 2/5
* Heritage: 3/5
* Style: 4/5
* Driver appeal: 3/5

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Details

Model tested: Escort RS2000 MkV
Chart position: 13

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