Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

Harsh old 1.3 and 1.4 engines detract from improvements elsewhere. Diesel units are sluggish except 1.8 TDi; 16-valve 1.6i or 1.8i models offer a more satisfactory level of performance and refinement. RS2000 has a 150bhp 2.0 litre and the fire-breathing RS Cosworth develops 227bhp from its turbocharged lump and will give even today’s fastest hot-hatches a run for their money.

Improved over previous generation, but Escort still offers a fairly nondescript driving experience – it’s easy to drive and the road holding is safe enough but it’s not a car that delivers much in terms of driver enjoyment. Ride quality is upset by poor roads. Suspension was updated in 1995, as was the steering.