1997 Ford Aspire
1997 Ford Aspire

Looking for an inexpensive and fuel-efficient used car? Check out the Ford Aspire! It’s an under-rated small car that can often be picked up for a bargain price. Although it’s small, Aspire can still seat four adults surprisingly well and it’s hatchback design also allows a fairly large cargo area that expands considerably when the rear seats are folded.

The Aspire was actually made by Kia Motors in Korea for Ford. Launched in 1994, it replaced the Ford Festiva and originally came in 3-door or 5-door hatchback versions. A little longer and wider then the Festiva, the Aspire has better body corrosion protection, in the form of galvanized sheet metal and zinc plated panels.

A sporty SE version of the 3-door was also sold during the ’94 and ’95 model years. The SE package included a rear spoiler, fog lamps, tachometer, unique instrument cluster (analog, white on blue, gauges) and special seat and door trim fabrics.

The stylish and aerodynamic teardrop shape was supposedly designed to appeal to the female buyers, but unfortunately not enough of them bought it. Aspire sales never did live up to expectations, even though it came with dual air bags as part of the standard safety package that was a first and best in the sub-compact car class. So, Aspire expired after the ’97 model year production run.

Power is provided by a frugal 1.3 litre in-line four cylinder engine that is rated at 64 horsepower at 5000 rpm, that’s slightly more than the old Festiva engine. Fuel consumption figures with the manual transmission are 6.5 L/100 km (43 mpg) in the city and 5.1 L/100 km (55 mpg) on the highway.

Aspire has a familiar front-wheel-drive system with a strut type front suspension and a beam axle and coil springs in the rear. Power steering was only offered in combination with the automatic transmission.

The ’94 Aspire was recalled for poorly positioned fuel lines and hoses that can chafe or corrode and may eventually result in a fuel leak. Some early Aspires also came without a date of manufacture on the certification label.

The Ford Aspire could be the transportation answer to a city dweller on a tight budget. It makes a reliable little commuter-car that can slip in or out of tight parking spaces, it’s an economical efficient fuel user and, best of all, you can get a used one at a bargain basement price.

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

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