The Ford Probe is a liftback coupé manufactured and marketed by the American carmaker Ford Motor Company from 1988 to 1997. The Probe was the result of Ford's collaboration with its longtime Japanese partner Mazda, and both generations of Probe were derived from the front-wheel drive Mazda G platform that underpinned the Mazda Capella. Based on the Mazda MX-6 as a sport compact coupe, the Probe was intended to fill the market niche formerly occupied by the Capri in Europe.
History of the Ford Probe
First Generation Ford Probe (1988–1992)
The first generation Ford Probe was based on the Mazda GD platform and was powered by a 2.2L SOHC 12-valve 4-cylinder Mazda F2 engine. It debuted in 1988 for the 1989 model year and was produced until 1992 in the United States in Flat Rock, Michigan. The Probe was available in several trim levels that differ depending on the market in which the vehicle was sold. In the United States, the Probe was available in GL, LX, and GT trim levels. The 1991 Probe was given a 4-star crash rating in collision tests conducted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Second Generation Ford Probe (1993–1997)
The Ford and Mazda design teams merged once again to give the Ford Probe a complete redesign for the 1993 model year. As before, the Probe was to share its under-structure with Mazda's MX-6 and 626. Mazda engineered the engine, transmission, and chassis, while Ford engineered the body and interior. Technically, the second generation Probe is 60% Mazda and 40% Ford. Despite the car being extended and widened 2 in (50 mm) it was 125 pounds (60 kg) lighter than the first-generation Probe. The second generation Probe was introduced in August 1992 as a 1993 model. The second-generation Probe was designed by a team led by Mimi Vandermolen, who led the interior design of the 1986 Ford Taurus. In 1987, Vandermolen became the first female designer to be the design executive of small cars for an automobile manufacturer, and Vandermolen designed the Probe to improve the driving experience for women. Ford had been hoping to sell around 20,000 Probes each year in Britain as the car market recovered from the effects of the recession from 1992, but in the three years, it was sold there, a total of just over 15,000 were sold - around a quarter of the projected figure for that length of time. Imports ceased in 1997, and its Cougar successor - launched a year later - was even less successful, being imported to Europe for just two years. By February 2016, just 718 examples of the Probe were still in use in Britain.
Proposed Third Generation Ford Probe (1993–1997)
The last Probe was built on June 20, 1997. A third-generation model, using the same platform as the Ford Contour, was under development and intended for release in mid-1998 as a 1999 model. When Ford decided to discontinue the Probe, this new design became the next-generation Mercury Cougar. The name change was intended to attract younger buyers into Mercury showrooms, but this proved unsuccessful. The Escort ZX2, released shortly after the discontinuation of the Probe, was considered the Probe's successor. In June 1998, Ford released what would have been the new Probe as the 1999 Mercury Cougar.
The price range for a used Ford Probe varies based on the trim level you choose. Starting at $2,000 and going to $5,100 for the latest year the model was manufactured.
Features of the Ford Probe
The sleek, aerodynamic lines of the vehicle were fit for a sporty coupe. Its pop-up headlights and slim light bars for turn signals in the bumper and the standard fog lights should have made the car more appealing to the market. A raked windshield, short roof, and sloped back made the greenhouse aerodynamic.
Mimi Vandermolen, the first female designer to become a design executive for small cars, made the interior layout. The instrument cluster featured six dials, and that confused the customers. On the center stack, she put the stereo and the knobs for the climate control unit. It was difficult to seat two adults in the back.
Specs and Performance of the Ford Probe
- 2.0 L 118 hp (88 kW) I4
- 2.5 L 164 hp (122 kW) V6
The Ford Probe's 1.5L engine delivers 164 hp (122 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 160 lb-ft (217 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm. Ford marketed the Probe as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, and it was available with a Ford 5-speed manual transmission. Dimension-wise, the Ford Probe measures 4,539 mm (178.7 in) long, 1,773 mm (69.8 in) wide, and 1,311 mm (51.6 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,611 mm (102.8 in) and has a curb weight of 2,921 lbs (1,325 kg).
Ford Motor Company first released the Ford Probe in 1988. On March 17, 1997, Ford announced the discontinuation of the Probe. It was discontinued in 1997 to make way for the New Ford ZX2 in North America and Ford Cougar in Europe.