Vintage R&T Review: 1971 Capri 2000 – The European Pony Car Gets More Zip With A 2.0 Engine

The European Capri had arrived stateside in 1970 and found a good receiving. With that settled, steady improvements appeared on the vehicle throughout its run. First of all, a new 2.0 L engine as an option, that if chosen greatly changed the Capri’s character for the better.

R&T had already tested the Capri’s base 1600, and found it willing but too leisurely. The 75 bhp mill had to be pushed hard just to keep up with traffic. Meanwhile, in the words of R&T, the new 2.0 L engine wanted to be driven hard. Particularly when shifting from 1st to 2nd; with the ratios between the two being widely spaced, the testers recommended the shift to second above the 4500 rpm mark. That said, besides the manual, an automatic was to appear on the Capri 2000.

Performance-wise the 0-60 times told the story, as the 1600 reached 60 in 17.3 seconds, while the 2000 did so in 11.7 seconds. There were no penalties for that newfound performance, as fuel consumption was better in the 2.0 than in the 1600.

A number of criticisms are mentioned that applied to all Capri versions; the car was extremely sensitive to side winds, and there was lots of wind and interior noise, plus an odd front suspension handling issue that Ford people attributed to a maintenance error. Finally, the early Capri got some flack for its styling by publications of the day (something the Mustang also endured), and this R&T review was no exception. Time has proven the public didn’t agree with such views.

Despite all the negatives, reviewers found the Capri had a lot to recommend; it was a solidly built compact that was fun to drive, particularly with the 2.0 engine. Ford would keep introducing further improvements to the model, increasing steadily its appeal factor.


Further reading:

Curbside Outtake: 1972 Ford Capri 1600GT – Understanding The Appeal

Carshow Classic: 1969 Ford Capri – The European Mustang Ford Always Promised Itself

Vintage R&T Review: 1972 Ford Capri 2600 V6 – “Our Enthusiasm For This Engine Is Almost Unbounded”