Mercury Tracer

In 1991, Ford replaced the hatchback-only Tracer with a twin of the Ford Escort, which was based on the Mazda 323's B platform. Nevertheless, the Tracer LTS, which was equipped with the more powerful 1.8L Mazda engine, was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1991. The Mercury Tracer was Mercury's tiniest car from 1988 to 1999, making for an impressive decade long run. It was based on the platform of the Mazda 323, which replaced the European-derived Mercury Lynx. Trim levels were base, which was known as GS, and LS. Additionally, there was a Trio appearance package as well that was sold between 1998 and 1999. The LS was the luxury model, offering some options not common in a compact model such as leather interior, keyless entry, power windows and power doors. LS models also had tachometers and alloy wheels, which were also not on the base model. Many speculate that if the Escort ZX2's more powerful 130 HP Zetec engine would have been available on the Tracer, it would have proved much more successful. But of course, hindsight is always 20-20. The Tracer was introduced in 1987 as previously stated, which was the same time that Ford introduced the Festiva to the subcompact segment. This latter model was originally intended to compete with the Geo Metro and the Toyota Tercel. It was in fact a rebadged version of the Ford Laser model already sold in Asia and Australia. Humorously, continuing the confusion, that model was itself a restyled Mazda 323. The 5-door hatchbacks were built in Hermosillo, Mexico, and the 3-door hatchbacks were assembled in Hiroshima, Japan. The Tracer and Escort were restyled in 1997 with a redesigned exterior and interior, and also received a new engine. The Tracer met its enemy in 1999, and that was it.