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Used car review Ford Laser TX3 1985-1993

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Patrick Lyons takes a look at the used Ford Laser TX3, its fine points, flaws and what to watch for when you buy one

Ford’s TX3 cars are the "hot" versions of the popular Laser range, being available in front-drive and four-wheel-drive versions and with turbo and non-turbo engines.  The Laser TX3 Turbo 4WD performed impressively in the inaugural 12-hour race at Bathurst due to its stunning acceleration and impressive grip from the four-wheel drive.

Many TX3s have also performed brilliantly in rallies, hill climbs and other motorsport events.  The TX3 began life in 1985 with a 1.6-litre fuel-injected engine, while the front-drive TX3 Turbo, introduced in 1987, used a 16-valve blown version of this engine.

Sure-footed motoring was also provided from 1987 through a four-wheel-drive model using the turbo-charged engine.  From the start of the KF series in 1990, a twin-cam 16-valve 1.8-litre engine was made standard in the TX3 and a turbo version of this motor was under the bonnet of the 4WD hatch.

The power from the 1.8-litre turbo engine was considered too much for a front-drive car, so this version was dropped from the range.  Even with the 1.6-litre engine, the front-drive car is noted for its torque steer which can be dangerous on slippery roads for inexperienced drivers.
Ford's 1.8-litre TX3 Turbo 4WD was launched at $2500 less than the 1.6-litre model, a move which helped make this car a popular choice.

But Ford stopped offering the TX3 Turbo 4WD from mid-1993 due to rising prices caused by the exchange rate and the advent of stiff competition from cars, such as the Lancer GSR. The 1.8-litre TX3 model continues.  Lasers are generally trouble-free, but these "hot" versions may have spent considerable time competing in club rallies so they should be checked out.

Check for signs of body damage or repair, and your test drive should concentrate on ensuring there is strong acceleration.  Abnormal whining from the turbo could indicate excessive wear.

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 7 comments

  • ford went backwards,,, they replaced the tx3 with a ugly looking focus,, the only focus that looked good was the rs and xr5,,, when is ford going to make a new tx3 laser. the only downfall to the tx3 lasers kf/ kh were the gearboxes needed to be stronger, and it should of been fitted with the jap spec gtx 134kw version instead of the 117kw oz spec,,besides that they were great-roomy/handled well, all it needed was sportier front seats

    danny of sydney Posted on 21 January 2014 4:42pm
  • Hello I started looking up the values of a Holden VN and came to this website. I read the review on here and figured there's a chance that maybe they have reviewed my car. I juts turned 17 and last year in late July my father bought me a Ford Laser KC hatchback Ghia. Main reasons was I wanted to learn manual and I've always asked for a car. Bought it with ergo till apr 012, 256,000 km on the clock and had a engine redo 75,000 km before it. With minor paintwork problems for $2,100 plus a RWC for a extra $100 and the interior all nice it was a decent deal for something to learn manual in. Left $300 deposit came back in a week and dad found out he spent over $500 on new used tyres, replaced indicator, wipers etc. In reality, a saving of $500 for repairs. Our neighbor drove it home me in my new car while dad followed. Until now as Im reading this I love driving it. Rev's smoothly and easy to change gears for a Learner. I don't hook but you have to rev the guts out of it if yur coming to a steep hill. That the only flaw. I'd recommend it for any learner because its great on fuel. And you can't hook in it.

    Tim Milano of Australia Victoria Melbourne Posted on 01 June 2012 12:28pm
  • Who want to help me about my TX3, I have problem with carburator, and persneling gear I can't find in my country.... thanks

    yants mardiyan of indonesia Posted on 25 July 2011 3:56pm
  • Can anyone help me with my TX3? I have problem with carburator, and I can't find gear in my country ... thanks.

    yants mardiyan of indonesia Posted on 25 July 2011 3:56pm
  • i believe i cannot get any air flow for 1985 tx3, in Indonesia. and the price is not so cheap. what should i do

    arie ts of tangerang, indonesia Posted on 29 June 2011 1:03pm
  • I am looking for an exhaust manifold for my TX3 Ford Laser ? finding it hard to track one down. Any idea on a suitable replacement for an 89-90 fulltime 4WD turbo? It has a crack running through the sensor. Please help me find one.

    drew chapman of hornsby Posted on 03 June 2011 1:21pm
  • Can you help me about my TX3, I have problem with air flow, I can't find in my country.... btw ford part very expensive in Indonesia, thanks

    sandhi of Surabaya Indonesia Posted on 22 November 2010 5:29am
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