2001 Ford Escort ZX2

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2001 Ford Escort ZX2
RCR Ford Escort Thumb.jpg
Car Details
Make Ford
Model Escort ZX2
Year 2001
Owner Vander
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season Vagabond Summer
Air Date October 17, 2016
Credits u/Ianator

We Review the last of the Ford Escorts: The ZX2. It's not quite a Focus but it is trying to show how far the Escort has come. Made a mistake with today's video. The ZX2 had a 2.0L motor, not 2.4

I'm tired of making these technical errors. I got engine displacement wrong again on the ZX2 video. The reason I make these asinine mistakes is because I speak from memory, in a "Yea, I got this," way. The crazy thing about this video is that my notes clearly say:

"-2.0 L, 4-cylinder ZTEC engine, with a factory-rated 130 hp, and a top speed of around 128 mph, if it's post-apocalypse and all the roads are deserted. However, the owner says a friend of his got up to 135 on an empty road in Mexico, although he ran out of fifth gear in the process."

And what did my bird-brain do? Combine the "2" in "Two Liter" and the numeral "4" in "Four Cylinder" and barfed out "2.4L"



(pouty and drawn out) *sigh* My name is Jennifer and this is my boyfriend's ZX2.



Let me be the one for you,
Giving you the D in my ZX2,
I'll grab you by the puss,
but only with your consent.



(still pouty) My boyfriend's name is Jayden. His mom's a lawyer and his dad's a cop. He does whatever he wants. Anybody have a cigarette? Jayden always smirks in his profile pictures. He pulls his mouth to one side. His favorite movie is The Purge. He calls his mom, 'That Bitch.' He smokes Newports but keeps them in a Marlboro Reds box. Anybody have any Virginia Slims?

If you don't have that, I'll take a Capri.

(end pout)

2001 Ford Escort ZX2. It has a 2.4 (sic*)-liter four-cylinder ZTEC engine that, eh, SVT never breathed on. So this thing, although it looks fast, was rated at 130 horsepower. And a top speed of about 128. However, the owner of this ZX2 said he got it up to 135 miles an hour *on an empty road in Mexico*. And then, uh, he ran out of fifth gear.

*(Mr. Regular later made a post on the RCR subreddit apologizing for some errors during this episode.)

Now, this owner had a previous ZX2 for three years. But it had body rot that Vander didn't discover until he owned two of the cars. So he bought this Escort a little over a year ago for just three hundred dollars - and he volunteered that information, by the way. We here at RCR have a habit of not asking an owner how much they paid for a car. Because it's... rude. That- that's car culture in general.

You never ask how much someone paid for their vehicle. Because it's invasive about their financial circumstances. As if it's some kind of contest to see who can piss farther with the least amount of pee. And then planting flags in the snow at the longest point. So if we mention a price, you know the owner brought it up voluntarily. And Vander had no problem letting us know the deal he got on this one. Hell, the only car that comes close to this in value is the Kia Spectra that Roman's friend Duncan got for free. And you can watch that video here.

Anyway. Long story short is that a friend got Vander into Escorts with the idea that they're a fun four-cylinder that is different from the typical Honda fare of the late 90s and early 2000s. And when he got this second ZX2 he carried mods over from his first which was a 2000 model but we'll get to modding these cars in a little bit.

Okay, it's a little bit later.

This Escort has an SVT Focus intake and exhaust manifold, a two-and-a-quarter-inch catback exhaust, a short-throw shifter and upgraded rear sway bar, lowered spring, polyurethane chassis bushings, stage 2 clutch and a lightened flywheel, aftermarket headlights and taillights and a 2003 ZX2 bumper swap. There's also a limited-slip differential and a new tune, to say nothing of the fresh coat of paint and the Mazda MX-3 bucket seats.

So what's the difference between the ZX2 and the ZX3 SVT Focus? Quite a bit as far as the engine goes because the Focus was replacing the Escort but for a brief period of time the two existed simultaneously. This is the very end of the escort line.

Now the Ford Focus ZX3 SVT made ten-and-a-half to one compression whereas this ZX2 ZTEC motor made nine... no, six-tenths to one... I know, I'm calling that wrong. Nine to six to one! The ZX3 SVT ZTEC motor had dual intake runners and a Cosworth exhaust manifold, hotter cams and forged connecting rods wheth- whereas the ZX2 didn't get any of that.

Now the engines are similar enough that you can swap the SVT intake runners onto a ZX2. But they won't work. And the reason they won't work is because the ECUs for the ZX2 and the ZX3 are different. And they're different enough that they can't make heads or tails of variable intake geometries so what happens, and it's true on this car, is that while it does have SVT intake runners, the intake runners are stuck in the long position, like the long intake runners are the only ones that stay open. The short ones, theres- there's nothing going on in there. The path is closed. Which is fine for high revving - it runs great at high revs! But at low revs, eh... It feels like a 90s car. But that doesn't mean it's limpy. It's great at high revs.

The Ford Escort ZX2 package was to be the coupe sister of the ZX3 hatchback while they shared the same stage. But unlike the ZX3, no upper trim SVT tuner option was offered as a tier above the regular ZX2. (Caption: Yes there was the ZX2 S/R but only 2,110 cars were ever made!) This was as high as the Escort was ever going to ascend. And the coupe got stiffed because hot hatches were king by 1998 when the two-door ZX2 debuted.

And you're supposed to call this a ZX2 - Ford didn't want you to call this, 'an Escort.' So it was just like the, ah, Dodge Neon SRT-4, like, "THIS ISN'T A NEON, THIS IS AN SRT-4!" But there was nothing in it for Ford to push the ZX2 in advertising or engineering. No one wanted an Escort anymore. I mean, who wants a sports coupe in the early 2000s? What is this, the 70s? Are you gonna roll out a 'personal luxury car', too?

Oh wait, Ford. You did. You made the Mercury Cougar. (Caption: "It was really a 2-door Ford Mondeo wearing foundation and eyeliner. The 8th-Gen Cougar was a kissy-face VD-Machine that America never wanted or asked for.") Eaaaugh.

Now the ZX2 was only really really supposed to last from 1998 to 2000 but Ford kept it around. Maybe to go after the SRT-4 from Chrysler? Maybe people protested that they didn't want the Escort name going away? But it kept going for another three years.

This is the official car of summer camp counselors getting their first hint of hot box in the backs of these things. AGGRESSIVE HEAVY PETTING. It's- hah (laughing) - it's a car for the guy who, like... heheh... who thinks fisting is part of foreplay, and- but it makes sense because that's how you're supposed to treat an Escort. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GIVE IT TWO FISts- (more laughing) It's like Mike Tyson's hook to the body and hook to the up- and the uppercut. ONCE IN THE FRONT, ONCE IN THE BACK!

Y-y- you beat on Escorts and that's where it shines. The cars are so cheap, who cares? I suppose a Honda would be better for be-eating on? But gosh, Fords take it well too. Because like so many cars I adore, the Escort ZX2 had to live in the Focus's shadow. No one wanted sport coupes anymore. It's like, if you're gonna get a car that's a two-door that's kinda fast, you would go right to a muscle car or maybe you would go right to the Mustang. The 4.6 Modular Mustangs of the early 2000s were way better dollar-for-horsepower than you got with the ZX2. I guess you could say you'd want to have it for tuner cred? But again, the SVT Focus is way better at that. And it drives a lot better.

But I thank Ford for making the ZX2. For giving the Escort one last shot at glory before it went away. It's like an AMC Hornet. Or an AMC Javelin. Or an AMC Eagle. Or a Studebaker Golden Hawk. Or an MGB GT. Or a Mercury Marauder. A big, shining finishing move before it's all over.

I don't know if I would want one of these though. 'Cause while it's fun at the upper end, it's not an SVT Focus. But I'm glad Vander has one and one of these cars is still rolling around. From cost alone, this is pretty much a restomodded car which should give you some kind of idea why a car like this endures.

It's a perfect learning car. Even if you don't know your way around a wrench, you can learn. It's the automotive equivalent of those practice corpses that they use in medical school. It doesn't matter how beat up the car is, there's always something you can learn from a car like this. Because battle wounds are the oldest form of storytelling.



Knock knock, who's there?
It's a ZX2, an Escort for that derriere.