As you well know, I’m not exactly a big fan of quite a bit that came from the Big Three during their declining decades (70s – 00s), especially their small cars. There of course exceptions, and the gen2 Escort is one of them. It managed to transcend much of perpetual downward descent of that genre, once it was apparent that most of their small cars weren’t really competitive with the market leaders, like the Corolla and Civic.
Of course, the fact that the gen2 Escort was essentially a domestically-built Mazda 323 with a Ford engine gave it a decided leg up on the domestic competition. And there was just something about it that made it acceptable to folks who would otherwise likely buy an import. Like my two sisters in law, who both bought wagons like this in the same year, and got superlative service from them until just a few years ago. And in Eugene, they’re seen as a legitimate Corolla substitute.
One of the things that made the wagon particularly popular was that during the years 1993-1995, Ford sold all four body styles (three door hatch, 5 door hatch, sedan, wagon) in a decently-equipped LX trim for the same no-haggle price ($10,899 with 5 speed; $11,631 with automatic). Obviously, the wagon was the best deal. Ford had to add alloys to the 3 door hatchback to keep its sales from not swooning.
That seemed like a reasonably good deal at the time. And they sold very well. Inflation-adjusted, that’s right about $20k for the automatic-equipped versions. I just bought a very decently equipped new Corolla LE for $14, 500, for my disabled daughter’s new group home. Who says cars are getting more expensive? Ok; that was with a big discount; the MSRP was right around $20k too. But who pays that for a car these days?