Used buying guide: Ford Escort XR3i
There were two flavors of the XR3i: the hatch and the convertible. In its day, the hatch was cheaper than the convertible, but it was more likely to be stolen, crashed, and misused. The convertible was bought by more discerning types who lived in nicer areas and took better care of them. As a result, there are many more convertibles than hatches today and they are in better shape. However, they are worth less.
That’s partly because of its greater availability, but mostly because the hatch is more desirable for today’s fast-paced Ford enthusiasts. Don’t let this put you off buying a convertible, however. Unlike the hatch that was built in Saarlouis, which was on strike, and later in Halewood, the Karmann convertible in Osnabrück was built on a much higher level. It also fits better in dire straits.
Expert Opinion – Biran Rowe, Insurance Valuations, XR Owners Club
“I have a Mk4 90-spec XR3i 73,000 mile hatch that I bought 11 years ago. It was the car that I always wanted as a teenager but could never afford it. Refueling at a gas station takes about half an hour because people come to me to share their memories of the XR3i. Of course, it doesn’t feel like a modern car, but it feels more connected to the road. You can also hear the engine better than a modern car, especially at around 3500 RPM when the exhaust rattles nicely. It’s surpassed by other hot hatches of the time like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Peugeot205 GTi, but I still love it. ”
Buyers watch out …
Engine: The 1.6-liter CVH engine can sound clunky in the cold, but should become quieter as the temperature rises. It likes a new timing belt and water pump every three years, and fresh oil at least every 6,000 miles. The early model’s Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection system is more reliable than the later 90 spec’s electronic injection system.