1992 Ford Tempo: The Oppositelock Review & Sale Post

UPDATE: 2018/11/14 Due to having too many cars and not enough money this car is for sale. Since I wrote this review, I changed the lower radiator hose since the old one blew a hole in it. Otherwise everything is the same. The car still drives, I drove it less than an hour ago.

Oppo Price: CAD $850 Located in Edmonton AB


Hello Oppos, it’s me the BAAAWWWSSSS.

I haven’t posted in almost a year, but I am still alive, I promise. Just been very very busy.


Anyways, a while ago with winter approaching I decided I needed a small winter run about as a Ford Mustang Convertible on bald summer tires, is not the best winter car. I purchased a 1992 Ford Tempo LX with about 124K kms or 77,000 miles on er. As I am writing this, it is currently blizzarding, and it’s March 3rd.

Our winters are quite lengthy here in definitely not southern Alberta.

Exterior: 4/10

Here we see the Tempo in the permanent winter wonderland outside my house. I didn’t have time to wash it today. My wife has the flu and I have a one year old. If you think that scenario leaves time for shit like “car washes” you don’t have a 1 year old.

I have always thought that the Ford Tempo was a bridge sort of car. It’s styling is a cross between that of the ultra boxy Ford LTD’s and Chevy Caprices of the late 80's


but not as curvy as the Taurus that came out in 1992 (2nd gen).


The Tempo’s 2nd generation styling also came out in 1992 but was less curvy than the Taurus of that same year.

I have never been a fan of the “grill less” style that came out in that period, but I guess since this is the 2nd 1992 Tempo I’ve owned (find the first review here on the previous one that I crashed in 2008) I accept this styling.


The rear is far more curvy and I’ve always enjoyed the chrome luggage rack (utility very debatable) on the back of these things, so I’ll give this car a 4/10.


Interior: 6/10

The interior of this car is blue.....I’M BLUE DA BA DEE DA BA DIE

Blue throughout. Blue dash. Blue wheel. Blue seats. Blue belts. Blue ceiling.


However, aside from the sheer “blueness” of it all, (which I don’t mind) it’s a pretty pleasant place to be.

Mine is pretty clean. One thing I notice before pesky airbags or whatever, is that the distance between the top of the dash and windscreen is not very long. Makes it easy to clean. The seats are comfy, and the drivers seat is power. I also have power windows and power locks, but the power locks only work on the back doors and the power window doesn’t work on the drivers side.To get the drivers side window down, you must be stopped at a light and open the door in order to grab the windows by both sides and force it down a bit. Then once it’s down a little you can use one hand and the switch to move it down further.


People give you odd looks when you do this in the street.

Sometimes the old ways, like roll down windows are the best ways. But we ain’t in no Tempo GL here we got the LX because we ball out of control. Overall I give this a 6/10. Maybe this summer I can get that window working again.


Acceleration: 2/10

The Ford Tempo LX is powered by a Vulcan Transversly Mounted 3.0 V6 that when new put out 140 HP with 160 Lb ft torque.

That’s pretty modest by today’s standards. It was about the same as my Cavalier which was a full decade newer. However the Cavalier had row your own, and the Tempo is an automatic. The Vulcan was only designed as a fuel injected version (no carbourated version exists)


If this was the Doug score, we’d be giving this a 1/10, but the V6 Tempo is much faster than a 4 cylinder Tempo so therefore we give it a 2/10. Acceleration is not hindered by the engine so much...as it is the woeful 3 speed automatic gearbox which even by the standards of 1992 was very outdated.


Braking: 2/10

Something ain’t right in this cars brakes. It shimmy’s and I havent had the time nor desire to check out what the hell the problem is. It was worse when I had a screw in the right rear tire and that side was always flat-ish. With the tire fixed it’s more balanced, but there’s still something wrong. Whenever I go to drive the Focus I almost face plant because the brakes in the car are so much better.


Ride: 5/10

The Tempo’s ride is okay. It has a suspension that was replaced entirely in 2014, so that’s nice to know and it’s doesn’t clunk, thunk or whump over bumps. I once had a car that rode on it’s bump stops. That was much much worse than this.


Handling: 4/10

With the flat tire, the handling was a little unpredictable. That’s not really the cars fault. With all the tires fixed this has improved, however the handling is a bit numb and ultimate cornering speed is held back by those tiny 14 inch 175 MM width tires. Maybe I should order custom rims and tires for this puppy. Then again, that might cost more than the entire car did. Plus, if I am spending money on tires, my Mustang desperately needs new tires...and these tires on the Tempo are just fine...so there’s that.

The Tempo on it’s first ever road trip to Lethbridge AB

Gearbox: 0/10

The three speed automatic transmission in the Ford Tempo sucks. There is no other way to sugar coat that harsh reality.


Mine shifts just fine, and does what it’s supposed to do, but 3 speeds is not enough. I drove a bloody Volvo L120 the other day, and even that thing had 4 or 5 speeds.

The fuel economy on highway trips is woeful because at 70 mph, you’re at 3100-3200 RPM. And it’s a V6 so you’re burning fuel like crazy.


The only redeeming feature of this transmission is really, when you think about it, you have the first ever created “manumatic transmission” Your lever has 1,2, and D. In a car with 5 or 6 speeds, you can only get 3 gears this way. There would be no way to shift into 4th gear. In the Tempo this is not a problem, because 4th, 5th and 6th all don’t exist.

I drove it like that once for kicks, but as I’ve said with previous reviews, it’s not really a favorite way of mine to drive. The 5 speed manual was much much better Ive been told. I have only ever had automatic tempo’s though so I don’t really know. But how could it be worse.


Toys: 1/10

AM/FM radio from the Ford parts bin with a cassette deck. Cools. There is also a cup holder. But the cup can’t be too tall otherwise it won’t fit.


Audio: 3/10

3 speakers of 4 work. That’s not bad. One point for each. Math.

Value: 9/10

I paid $900 CAd for this car. That is approx $700 USD. For this, I got a running, driving, car with a lot of the major components replaced such as the suspension, newer tires, heater core, and a bunch of other parts. The check engine comes and goes, but I don’t care. All the gauges work. I couldn’t say that about some of the newer cars I’ve owned. The drivers seat power adjustment works. I can’t say that about the Mustang, and that thing cost $20K.

I drove it to Lethbridge, a trip of 1000 kms and it was just fine. Overall, the Tempo was a mediocre car at the best of times by the time the “updated” version came out in 1992, but now it’s so bad it’s good.




Look, if you buy a 26 year old economy car for $900 bucks...are you expecting a 7 series? I thought not. It sure would be nice not to have to get out the car to roll down the window though.

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