Just when Ford Malaysia was losing grip of the mid-size sedan category with its Mazda-based Lynx, it looked at its own past for some much-needed inspiration. The last car Ford sold here had that could have been described as popular was the old Laser TX3 1.8i which had inherited the ‘boy racer’ image from its predecessors that dated back to the first twin-carb Laser Sport 1.5 of 1982.
So the company then decided to go down the same route again – making an affordable sporty version of a cooking model – in hope to gain what it had lost in the years since.
The car they came up with was the Lynx RS but this met with less success than hoped for as consumers felt that sticking with proven Japanese brands is a much safer bet (notwithstanding the fact that the Lynx was essentially the Ford version of the Mazda 323). It hardly mattered that the Lynx RS was a real belter; that Blue-Oval badge on the grille just didn’t have the same appeal as a Honda.
It was unfortunate and had nothing to do with the car itself really as the Lynx RS was highly regarded for its handling. This is a trait that is still evident today – Ford family cars can run match or beat many rivals in the ride and handling department. The Civic and Sentra of that era didn’t come close to matching its blend of comfort and cornering balance.
With a platform and many parts shared with the Mazda 323, the Lynx RS would be as reliable as any Japanese car in the same price range. Parts are not that hard to find and it’s not a terribly complicated car to maintain. A trustworthy mechanic should be able to help get a used one into tip-top condition.
Such cars are often bought by driving enthusiasts and that has its own set of pros and cons. While it can be assumed that they would have taken care of their cars and not taken cheap repair shortcuts, it can also be expected that the same owners would more likely to have driven them harder than others would. This would have implications on the engine and gearbox so take a close look and be more attentive on a test-drive of a used unit.
Risks aside, however, the Lynx RS, now available for a little above RM40,000, is by far and away the most fun you can have for that amount of money (spent on a car, that is). With good looks, now-stable residuals, and a great driving experience, this is the car real smart guys should get. [Hafriz Shah]
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