Ford Escort XR3 / XR3i, 1980 to 1990
The Ford Escort XR3 and later fuel-injected XR3i was Ford's answer to the hot hatch boom of the 1980s that other manufacturers had already capitalised on. Based on the already popular Ford Escort 1.6, the XR3 (XR being a long-time Ford performance designation) was launched in the UK in September 1980 with a 1597cc 4-cylinder transverse OHC engine mated to a four-speed box driving the front wheels. Black window surrounds, alloy wheels, fabric sports seats and a two-spoke steering wheel added sports kudos to this pocket rocket.
The Escort XR3 was an immediate success, being one of Ford's top-sellers in its first year of manufacture, but did attract some criticism of its ride and handling. As a result, the car was given to Ford's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) team, with the result that in late 1982, the Ford Escort XR3i was unveiled. Using Bosch Jetronic fuel injection and a five-speed gearbox, the car now produced 105bhp and looked the part too: a new spoiler, wheel trims, interior overhaul and body-coloured bumpers created a car that gave stylish, sports performance to a generation of British drivers.
In 1984, a two-door convertible based on the XR3i hatchback was added to the range, although not officially designated the XR3i until February 1986. With the same power output as the hatchback, it was another hit and led to two further limited editions in 1990: the two-tone in red/moonstone, blue/moonstone or gold/grey, with leather-sided seats and the All Blue in Pacifica blue with RS Turbo-style alloys and leather seats. Both limited editions had power windows. The Ford Escort XR3i both hatchback and convertible was discontinued in the UK in September 1990.
The Ford Escort XR3i has risen in popularity again in the last few years as an iconic modern classic. Alternatives from the era include the Volkswagen Golf GTi and the Peugeot 205 GTI.
|Year||Make||Model||Submodel||Body Type||Average value|
|1982||Ford||Escort||XR3i||Hatchback||£ 2,310 4,560 8,750 15,480|
|1984||Ford||Escort||XR3i||Convertible||£ 2,000 3,900 7,300 12,500|
|1985||Ford||Escort||RS Turbo MK3||Hatchback||£ 8,000 17,000 25,000 35,000|