1990 Mercury Topaz

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$1,900
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Expert Reviews

By 

chicagotribune.com
There are those to whom zip and zoom mean absolutely zilch.

They want basic no-frills transportation, a vehicle to get them to workand back each day, with a side trip or two to the store, without burning a lotof fuel and certainly without burning any rubber. To them, miles per gallonare more important than miles per hour.

The front-wheel-drive Mercury Topaz fits the bill.

We drove the four-door Topaz LS, a conservatively styled sedan powered by an equally conservative 2.3-liter, 98-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine teamedwith optional ($563) automatic transmission. You measure performance in terms of a 23 m.p.g. city/33 m.p.g. highway EPA rating, not with a zero-to-60 m.p.h.time, which would have to be taken with sundial.

You won`t be in the passing lane too often, but then you won`t spend much time at the pump, either.

The base GS and the LS offer the 98-h.p., 2.3-liter engine, while the XR5 and LTS go with what`s called a high-output version of the 2.3 that kicks up100 h.p.-still no stallion under the hood.

In response to critics who want more power and to compete with rivalcompacts offering V-6 engines, Ford will start offering a 3-liter V-6 in Topazand its cousin Ford Tempo in the 1992 model year. About 50,000 3-liters willbe built. Until then, the 2.3-liter 4 will have to suffice.

The compact, front-wheel-drive Topaz is the Mercury version of the Tempo. It`s built on a 99.9-inch wheelbase and is 177 inches long. It seats five incomfort with minimum glitz or glitter but with enough trunk room to hold thegroceries.

Ford of Europe is responsible for bringing out the Topaz replacement in1994. The focus will be on livelier styling and a peppier engine, but thebenchmark, regardless of the new sheet metal and power plant, will be maximum mileage.

Topaz`s strength in addition to fuel economy is price. The LS starts at$11,543 and includes dual power remote mirrors; center console with cassettetape storage; floor mats; side window de-misters; trip odometer; AM/FM stereo radio with cassette and digital clock; leather-wrapped steering wheel; airconditioning; power brakes and steering; power decklid release; rear-windowdefroster; tinted glass; illuminated entry; power door locks; cruise control; tilt steering wheel; 14-inch, steel-belted radial tires; power windows; andintermittent wipers.

Our car was the front-drive version and not the all-wheel-drive Topazoffered for $1,400 more.

Our car had power seats for $280, driver`s side air bag for $622 and airconditioning for $817, along with a $138 upgrade of the sound system. Thesticker read $13,963 plus a $430 freight charge. There`s no need to doll it upwith more goodies.

Topaz delivers basic, comfortable, high-mileage transportation without alot of frills or need for a lot of fuel.



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