Complete Ford Tempo lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1988 Ford Tempo - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1987 - 1995 Ford Tempo SedanTempo4 Trims 99 to 132 Hp 1988 Ford Tempo Coupe - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1987 - 1995 Ford Tempo CoupeTempo Coupe3 Trims 99 to 132 Hp

The Ford Tempo is a compact car manufactured and marketed by the Ford Motor Company from 1984 to 1994. The Tempo and Topaz were the second in a series of aerodynamically-styled cars from Ford, preceded by the 1983 Ford Thunderbird and followed by the first generation Ford Taurus. Although Ford tried to portray the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique that arrived in 1995 as new, up-market models, they are generally seen as the successors of the Tempo and Topaz.

History of the Ford Tempo

First Generation Ford Tempo (1984–1987)

The first generation Tempo and Topaz were unveiled on the deck of the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that had been turned into a floating museum in New York Harbor. They were released on 26 May 1983 as 1984 models. As Ford's first downsized compact car, the Tempo arrived four years after GM's compact X-Bodies in 1979 for the 1980 model year, and two and a half years after Chrysler's compact K-cars were introduced. The four-door Tempo had three windows in profile, somewhat similar to the European Ford Sierra, while the four-door Topaz received a more upright C-pillar without rear quarter windows. The first generation Tempo came standard with a four-cylinder gasoline engine or an optional Mazda-built diesel engine. In late 1985 the four-speed manual transmission was discontinued and the five-speed became standard. In early 1985, the Tempo became the first production American automobile to feature a driver's side airbag as a supplemental restraint system. In 1984, Ford entered a contract with the General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation to supply 5,000 airbag-equipped Tempos. Half also received a special windshield designed to minimize lacerations to passengers, and all were early recipients of the high-mounted brake lights that became required by law in 1986.

1986 Refresh

In October 1985 the Tempo and the Topaz received several minor changes for the 1986 model year.

Second Generation Ford Tempo (1988–1994)

For 1988 the Tempo and Topaz sedans were redesigned, while the coupes were just facelifted. The new look cars arrived in November 1987. The changes made the Tempo and Topaz look even more like their respective Taurus and Sable stablemates. The front of the Tempo got a completely restyled grille featuring three thin horizontal chrome bars with a Ford oval in the center and two composite flush-mounted rectangular headlamps with restyled front turn signal housings on either side. For the 1991 model year the all-wheel drive Tempo and Topaz and the Canadian market exclusive entry-level Tempo L were discontinued. For 1992, the Tempo and Topaz got a minor restyle, with the Tempo gaining body-colored side trim that replaced the black and chrome trim, as well as full body-colored bumpers. Also in 1992, the 3.0L Vulcan V6 engine from the Taurus and Sable was introduced as an option for the GL and LX models, and as the standard engine on the GLS. The 1992 model year was the last year of the GLS, as it and its Topaz counterpart were discontinued in 1993. This left the Tempo with only two trim level options: GL and LX. A revised body with eight headlamps was previewed late in 1991, and a redesigned Tempo was expected for 1993 or 1998. No new Tempo model appeared.


In 1994, Ford Motor Company retailed the Ford Tempo with a starting MSRP of $10,360 for the base model, rising to $12,230 for the top-spec LX variant.

  • GL - $10,360 ($21,365 in 2023)
  • LX - $12,230 ($25,222 in 2023)

Specs and Performance of the Ford Tempo


  • 2.3L HSC/HSO I4
  • 3.0L Vulcan V6

The Ford Tempo's 3.0L engine delivers 135 hp (101 kW) at 5,500 rpm and 150 lb-ft (204 Nm) of torque at 2,600 rpm. Ford marketed the Tempo as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 5-speed manual transmission. Dimension-wise, the Ford Tempo measures 4,496 mm (177 in) long, 1,735 mm (68.3 in) wide, and 1,344 mm (52.9 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,537 mm (99.9 in) and has a curb weight of 2,659 lbs (1,206 kg).

Release Date

The Ford Tempo was released and manufactured between 1984 and 1994. It was discontinued together with the Mercury Topaz to make way for the new Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.