Credited to be one of the first Ford vehicles to feature the jellybean styling, the Ford Tempo is the downsized successor to the Ford Fairmont—one of the brand’s last box-styled cars. The Tempo was sold as a coupe and a sedan for 10 years from 1984 to 1994. Aside from introducing a new look for Ford vehicles, this car is also credited as one of the brand’s initial efforts in creating modern cars that were more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient. It was one of Ford’s ways to compete with import cars from Asia that were slowly getting their footing in the American car market. Here’s quick look into the Tempo’s solid and decade-long run.
Late 1970s: Design and development
The creation and development of the Ford Tempo came at a time when the company was adapting a new design philosophy—to create more ergonomic, efficient, and aerodynamic cars. The change in the brand’s philosophy was due in part to its aging vehicle platforms and the emergence of import cars in the market. To start the revolutionary change with its cars, Ford released three model vehicles—the Thunderbird (1983), Tempo (1984), and Taurus (1986). The Ford Tempo was created based on the front-wheel-drive Ford CE14 platform, which was also used with the Ford Escort. Unlike the Escort, however, the Tempo was equipped with a newly designed body.
1984-1994: First generation
The first generation of Ford Tempos was introduced to the market in 1984, and it was made available in two body styles—a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan. It was also available in five different trims—L, GL, GLX, LX, and AWD. Veering away from its previous vehicles with long wheelbases, the Tempo is said to be Ford’s first compact car. Its front windshield and rear window were set at identical angles—60 degrees—and the trunk was positioned higher than the windows for better air flow and fuel efficiency. A closer look the Tempo reveals that it shares a lot of design aspects with the European-released Ford Sierra that preceded it by a year. And in terms of its powertrain, the Tempo was equipped with a 2.3 L HSC inline four-cylinder engine that had a one-barrel carburetor while it was driven by a standard four-speed IB4, five-speed MTX-II manual transmission, or a 3-speed FLC automatic transmission.
1988-1994: Second generation
In 1988, the second generation of Ford Tempos was introduced to the market and it was still available in five trim levels. Design-wise, the new look of the Tempo was very similar to that of the Taurus. But aside from that, the model received major design upgrades and transformations. For instance, it was furnished with a new grille, rectangular headlights, and flush-mounted tail lights. After ten years in production, the Tempo was finally dropped from the Ford’s vehicle lineup with the emergence of a new platform that would elevate the brand’s safety standards and innovation.