Car reviews - Ford - Telstar - GLX sedan
Refined, roomy, good to drive, comfortable, economical and versatile
Room for improvement
Parts can be expensive, bland styling, no image today
7 May 2003
THE Ford Telstar was introduced to Australia in 1983 to replace the ageing rear-wheel drive Cortina.
It shared mechanical components with the Mazda 626 but front, rear and interior styling differences gave each car a unique character.
The result was a marketing success for both manufacturers and they were voted joint winners of a major car of the year award in 1983.
The Australian-assembled Telstar did not quite match the quality of the imported 626 but from 1987 both makes were assembled in Japan so the build quality was equally high.
The fourth generation Telstar was launched onto the Australian market as a hatchback in December, 1991, with the sedan following a year later.
It was longer and wider than previous models with conservative, rounded, jelly mould styling.
The Telstar's stretched dimensions increased interior space so it is not too far behind its Australian-built rivals. For example, the rear shoulder width in the Telstar, which is what counts with three in the rear seat, is only 40 millimetres less than the Toyota Camry.
The automotive press at the time thought highly enough of the Telstar/626 twins to award them a second car of the year award in 1992.
The Telstar sedan sold in three equipment levels - GLX, Ghia and Ghia V6.
The GLX was by far the most popular and it was reasonably well equipped by the standards of the day, with air-conditioning and central locking. There were also remote adjustable mirrors and a security coded AM/FM radio/cassette with six speakers and an electric antenna.
The four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine was smaller than the previous model Telstar but the more efficient twin cam, 16-valve cylinder head produced an identical power output of 85kW at 5500rpm with a small drop in torque to 170Nm at 4500rpm.
One of the engine's strong points is good fuel economy, helped by the slippery body shape and the Telstar's relatively light weight.
The transmission drives the front wheels and is either five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic with electronic control and three gearshift modes.
The Telstar's steering, ride and handling were a significant improvement over the previous model. The handling is well balanced with moderate understeer.
Overall, the ride is smooth and quiet although some road noise is transmitted to the cabin.
The Telstar GLX is a strong contender as a comfortable, reasonably well equipped sedan with good fuel economy as a bonus. It is worth considering if rear seat space for three adults is not an important consideration.
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