The Ford Telstar was manufactured and sold by the Ford Motor Company from 1983 to 1999. Upon its launch, the Telstar replaced the Ford Cortina, but unlike the Cortina, it was only available as a sedan or a hatchback. The Telstar filled the gap in Ford’s model line-up left after the Cortina was discontinued in 1981. Under the model name, the hatchback version of the Telstar was designated the X5. All Telstars shared their platforms with the Mazda Capella/626, with some minor differences in terms of styling and engine size.
Upon its introduction in 1983, the Telstar was named Wheels magazine’s Car of the Year and was quite popular among auto enthusiasts. The car sold well in its segment for over a decade. In 1995, the Ford Mondeo replaced the Telstar X5. However, new generations of the Telstar continued to be sold exclusively in Japan.
Overall, there were three generations of the Telstar X5. Unlike its sedan counterpart, the TX5 featured a five-door configuration; however, beyond their layouts, the two cars were nearly identical throughout the production run. The first generation was only offered with one engine, while later generations saw more variety under the bonnet. In general, the Telstar TX5 was recognised as a stylish and competent car. Featuring good interior space and a quality build, the TX5 won many fans over the years.
Another positive feature of the TX5 is its excellent fuel economy. Not very thirsty at all, the TX5 can be quite inexpensive to run. Maintenance on the other hand can cost a pretty penny. Since the cars have been out of production for so long and were never particularly prevalent to begin with, parts and repairs can put a large dent in the wallet. Buyers should be sure to obtain maintenance records and thoroughly test the car prior to purchase.
Overall, the TX5 is a great car, driving-wise. A smooth, comfortable, and quiet ride make the total experience a positive one. Plenty of interior space combined with the flexibility offered by the hatchback layout create a superb total package. One note is that original versions (offered from 1982 to 1987) were only available with a 5-speed manual gearbox. However, later generations saw the addition of an automatic transmission option. Overall, the TX5 makes for a great first or family car, and it can be found cheaply on the used car market today.
The original generation of the TX5 (also known as the AR) came equipped with only one engine option under the bonnet. This was a 2.0L V4 carburettor model with an output of 70kW. A face-lifted turbo model arrived in late 1985. This version of the car featured a bit more power, with a 2.0L V4 engine with an output of 87kW and 200Nm of torque.
Second-generation TX5s came equipped with a fuel-injected 2.2L V4 with an output of 84kW and 179Nm. The third-generation TX5 was available with a wider range of engine options and trims. This was the last generation to be sold here. On offer from 1991 to 1995, the range-topper of this third generation featured a 2.5L V6 engine with 121kW of power and 213Nm.
The Telstar TX5 was technically deemed a luxury car, and accordingly came with impressive and state-of-the art kit. The first generation came standard with a push-button adjustable suspension as well as a digital instrument cluster. It’s important to note that this first-generation TX5 was only available with a 5-speed manual transmission. On the later generation TX5 Ghia, a popular model of the car, a 6-speaker stereo system with radio cassette, anti-lock braking, central locking, cruise control, power windows, air-conditioning, fog lamps, power steering, and electric mirrors all came standard.
The TX5 faced much competition in the highly competitive hatchback field. The Datsun 260Z hatchback is one example of a rival. The 260Z was available as a three-door hatch, and featured a 2.6L V6 engine with an output of 121kW of power and 213Nm of torque, nearly the same as the later versions of the TX5.
Even more competition came from the Mitsubishi Cordia. The Cordia was a compact hatchback coupe. The top-of-the-line Cordia came with a 1.8L V4 engine with 110kW of power and 210Nm of torque. Neither of these cars had the large amount of interior space available in the Ford Telstar TX5.