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Escort RS2000

Despite its RS badges, this model was never intended to enter the heat of competition. It looked like a road racer, though.

Escort RS2000

It didn’t take long for the legendary Escort MkI to crop up in our countdown. The RS2000 is the first of three entries for the classic family saloon, and it features a winning blend of pace and refinement.

Despite its RS badges, this model was never intended to enter the heat of competition. Its torquey 2.0-litre engine was tuned for refinement, while the sports suspension was still supple enough to be comfortable.

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It looked like a road racer, though. The lowered ride height and wide wheels give it a purposeful stance, and owners could create even greater visual impact with the optional bonnet and side stripes.

And drivers were left in no doubt of the RS2000’s sporting intent once they got behind the three-spoke wheel. Extra dials were fitted into the dashboard, while deeper bucket seats held occupants firmly in place during hard cornering.

Head out on the road, and it’s immediately clear that this Escort is softer than other RS models.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not great to drive. The engine is eager, the steering direct and the balance between ride and handling is virtually perfect. As with the modern Focus ST, it’s a superb all-rounder, perfectly mixing performance and practicality.

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

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Details

Model tested: Escort RS2000
Chart position: 19

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