Fiesta ST: Our Full Review – The World’s Hottest Hatch?

Ford took the US hatchback market by storm when they released the Focus ST, and Fiesta ST. Enthusiasts overseas have enjoyed the Fiesta ST since 2008, but in America, we had to wait until 2013 to get the Fiesta ST. The Fiesta is meant to be the perfect blend of performance and practicality. But, does it really live up to all the hype?


Luckily Ford didn’t use the standard little engine in the ST model. Ford equipped the Fiesta ST with a 1.6L EcoBoost that outputs 197 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque. But, these numbers are pretty conservative. Many dyno tests show the Fiesta ST making around 180 whp and 220 wtq (210 hp and 250 lb-ft). However, the important part here is that the Fiesta ST makes peak torque at 2,500 RPM.

This is enough to propel the ST from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. I know what you’re thinking, 7 seconds in slow as hell. The BRZ/GT86 does the same 0 to 60 and it feels slow, but the Fiesta ST feels really fast from the driver’s seat. You can punch the throttle in almost any gear at any RPM and the torque will kick in immediately. That’s what makes the little Fiesta feel so incredibly fast.

The Fiesta really does feel like a fast car from the driver’s seat, and it pulls crazy hard out of a corner. It’s the perfect power level that you can drive really hard, but as long as you don’t go crazy you probably won’t get into trouble with the law. Getting on the gas in the Fiesta ST will make any occupants grin because of how fast it feels.

Of course, as car guys we always want more, so a “Stage 3” kit will be in the future for our Fiesta ST. But, for the average Joe, the stock power level on the Fiesta ST is more than enough to have a great time with. We feel the Fiesta deserves a 9/10 in the powertrain division.


Ford’s ST team did an excellent job making the Fiesta handle like a real sports car. It handles better than many rear-wheel drive sports cars on the market today. Most of this is due to their suspension tuning, but Ford also added a powerful high-end performance technology to make the Fiesta ST handle like a dream.

Often times to make a front-wheel drive car handle well you need to have a super stiff rear sway bar and a not-so-stiff front sway bar. You can tell that Ford used this design philosophy because the Fiesta ST loves to lift the inside rear wheel mid-corner.

The problem is that the spring rates and/or dampers aren’t tuned properly for city usage. The Fiesta is just far too stiff for the street. Seriously sometimes it feels like my 1985 Suburban on a 4″ lift would’ve ridden better. Many suspension companies are claiming to get better ride quality with no sacrifice in handling on the Fiesta with coil overs or lowering springs.

Ford didn’t just use suspension tuning to make the Fiesta ST go fast. Expensive AWD sports cars like the Mitsubishi EVO use a highly advanced torque vectoring system. Torque vectoring send power to the outside wheels to help to car rotate in the direction you’re turning. The only problem is that a torque vectoring system is very expensive. The cheaper alternative is to brake the inside wheels, instead of powering the outside wheels. That’s all brake vectoring really is.

This system allows the Fiesta ST to out corner most high-end sports cars at the cost of wearing your brakes very fast. If you plan on going to the track don’t expect much more than 15k miles out of your brakes pads. This doesn’t bother me a huge amount just because of the massive performance benefits, but for some, this could be a deal breaker.

All of these things combined make the Fiesta ST a great little canyon carver or weekend track toy. Mid-corner rotation is determined by throttle input, making it very easy for beginners to absolutely shred a mountain road in it. If you’re brave enough you can begin to master 4-wheel drifting the ST throughout a corner. The over-steer is very predictable and requires no steering input to correct, just throttle input. We think the Fiesta ST deserves a solid 9/10 in this category.


Ford advertises the Fiesta ST to get 26 MPG city and 33 MPG highway. I’ve found that quite a few people are complaining that the ST actually gets horrible gas mileage. I think it’s fair to attribute this to the ST’s fun to drive nature, which makes it hard to keep your foot out of the throttle.

Initially, when I bought the Fiesta ST I was averaging 25 MPG combined, which is in line with many claims that Ford lied about its fuel economy. But, after driving it for a week I’ve begun to drive it like a normal human would and my fuel economy jumped up to 30 MPG. Keep in mind that I rarely drive on the highway. If you keep your foot out of the throttle the little Fiesta will seriously impress you with its fuel mileage.

The trunk is pretty small, but for what I put in there it’s just fine. The only things I put back there are tools, a backpack, and occasionally random Jeep parts that I need to deliver. If you need space for2 large amounts of groceries or something you might want to look at a Focus ST. We rate the practicality 9/10.

Exterior Styling

The standard Ford Fiesta is what most people wouldn’t consider a good looking car. It just looks like another small car designed for commuting and nothing else. This is especially true with the Fiesta sedan which, quite frankly, is a really ugly car. Ford solved this issue with a simple body kit, which completely transforms the outside of the Fiesta.

The body kit of the ST uses a new front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, and wing. The front bumper uses a giant fish-like grill to help with cooling, and the lower redesign helps it cool the intercooler. The side skirts make it looks lower and more aggressive, as does the rear bumper. The rear wing makes it look like a proper little rally car, and it’s also functional at providing downforce!

I’ve heard a few automotive journalists complain that the styling of the Fiesta ST makes it look larger than it actually is. I have to agree with them because the ST does look like a big car. It’s not until you look directly at the front that you realize the Fiesta ST is very narrow and very small. I think Ford hit an absolute home run with the styling of the Fiesta ST, for this reason, we give it 10/10 in the looks department.


The interior on the Fiesta ST is pretty basic. Ford has seriously increased the quality of their interiors in the last five years. But, the Fiesta ST is still based off of the cheapest car that Ford makes. There are a lot of cheap plastics everywhere, but that parts that you touch feel pretty decent. Our Fiesta ST isn’t equipped with the optional Recaro seats, but the standard seats are somewhat decent. Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will be upgrading to the Recaro seats because they are truly awesome.

My only real problem with the interior is the seating position. I cannot seem to find a position where the wheel is near me, but my legs aren’t scrunched up. Rear seat room is better than I expected, but it’s still pretty small. I can fit behind myself, but my legs have to be on the sides on the seat because they can’t fit directly behind it.

The interior accent lighting is a really nice feature, and honestly, I think all cars should come with accent lighting. It really makes the car feel alive at night, looks awesome, and is functional. Overall the interior of the Fiesta ST is pretty darn good for a $20k car, but it’s still a cheap car interior at the end of the day. The Fiesta ST earns 9/10 for its interior.

Build Quality

Build quality is pretty decent for a $20k car. There aren’t any interior squeaks or rattles and our Fiesta is all the way up to 24k miles now. But the fact that the Fiesta is the cheapest car Ford makes is starting to show itself. The grab handle trim on the door panel moves a tiny bit, and it makes it feel super cheap.

The transmission makes a slightly audible noise when shifting gears, but I figured that could possibly be normal. The gas peddle hasn’t worn out so well, but that’s sort of expected once you start racking up miles. The paint, however, is probably the worst part on the build quality. The paint seriously seems to chip from anything, which is really frustrating.

Other than those few small issues, the build quality of the Fiesta is pretty darn good considering it’s the cheapest car Ford makes. If they could up the paint quality in the coming years I would probably consider the Fiesta to be a pretty high-quality car. But, with the paint issues, I would consider the Fiesta’s build quality to be pretty average. Build quality is 7/10.

The Things I Don’t Like

The Fiesta isn’t absolutely perfect, and there are a few things about it that bug me. The lumbar support adjuster is on the right side of the driver’s seat. I have heard of a few people hitting their arm on it when the shift, but I don’t seem to have that problem. The seating position is also a little goofy; in order for me to have the wheel close to me, my legs have to be a little scrunched up.

I wish there was a little more interior storage, but that’s a little hard to ask for with a car this small. The center console isn’t very big, just tall. Plus a big chunk of it is dedicated to the USB/Aux/SD Card slots. The front storage compartment in front of the shifter is basically useless. Not only is it small, but anytime you accelerate whatever you put in there will slide out.

Another thing I really don’t like is how small the entertainment display is, and I don’t like where it’s positioned. Once again it’s a little hard to complain about this considering the Fiesta is the cheapest car that Ford makes. But, I wish the entertainment/info display was larger, and a little closer to the driver.

The ST’s suspension allows it to handle awesome, but it rides like a dump truck. Interestingly enough many ST owners are reporting better ride quality when switching to coil overs or lowering springs. I understand why the ST is so stiff, but I feel like Ford could’ve tuned it a little bit better.

Why A Fiesta ST Could Be Right For You

The Fiesta ST could be right for you if you need one car that can do it all. Something that gets amazing fuel economy, can out handle most rear-wheel drive sports cars and is practical for everyday usage. But if you have children you may want to look at the Focus ST for the rear leg room. Since I don’t have any children it made sense for me to buy the Fiesta ST.


Overall I really enjoy the little Fiesta ST. It’s the perfect blend of a practical city car and a high-performance sports car. Although there are a few minor let downs in the quality, you need to remember that it’s based on the cheapest car that Ford makes. But the slight quality issues aside the Fiesta ST is serious fun to drive and is pretty darn quick when the road gets twisty thanks to its suspension tuning and brake vectoring. One day in the future I’ll probably upgrade to a Focus RS, but for now, the Fiesta ST is the perfect car for me, and it could be the perfect car for you.

One day in the future I’ll probably upgrade to a Focus RS, but for now, the Fiesta ST is the perfect car for me, and it could be the perfect car for you. All things considered, we give the little Fiesta ST 8.6/10 stars.

Edit – Summer 2017

Temperatures in Phoenix are reaching 100* now, and the stock intercooler is showing its limits. What sucks is that it’s only going to get even hotter. Temperatures can easily reach 115* during summer time. The stock intercooler is getting heat soaked pretty bad and the car is noticeably much slower. The blow-off valve is also quieter, probably because it’s running less boost because the air is just so insanely hot. An upgraded intercooler is definitely coming this summer.

Fiesta ST: Three Features You Didn’t Know About

After about a week of owning my Fiesta ST I have found some things that I never knew about it. I thought I knew this car inside and out from all the reviews I’ve read, but I was wrong. Here are the three things I’ve found that you probably also didn’t know about.

Interior Lights

I’m not completely positive that every Fiesta has this feature, but mine has some pretty nifty interior lighting. I was cruising down the road and decided to see what this random button did, and it turned the foot area on the floor red! You can cycle through and choose from eight different colors, but favorite is red. It illuminates driver, passenger, and rear passenger foot wells, as well as the cup holders and little slot above the glove box.

Hill Start Assist

Right as I left the dealership in my Fiesta ST I was immediately confronted with a hill I had to stop on. I am comfortable hill starting in most manual transmission cars. But I still wasn’t very familiar with the car so I was pretty nervous. Right as I let off the brake and began to let the clutch out I noticed it didn’t roll backward. I thought maybe the hill was less steep than I initially thought, but upon further investigation I found that to be incorrect.

I scrolled through the setting menu and found a little setting called “hill start assist”. As you might’ve already figured out, hill start assist will temporarily hold the foot brake while you release the clutch. The result is you not rolling backward at all when you have to start on a hill. Not sure if this is a common feature on new manual transmission cars but its very new to me!

Rev Hang/Matching

Occasionally I will hear people complain about “rev hang”. You know when you rev your engine up and it decides to hold itself at that RPM for longer than you’d like. In the case of the Fiesta ST the whole rev hang issue isn’t much of a problem. But, it seems like the Fiesta ST helps you smooth out your shifts. Shifting from third to fourth, you’ll find that once you put the clutch in, the revs hang at the correct RPM for fourth gear before you actually let out the clutch.

It’s a little hard to explain, but basically, the Fiesta ST helps you smooth out your upshifts. Downshifts, however, are completely dependent on you being smooth.


So, those are the three weird and somewhat hidden features of the Fiesta ST that I didn’t know about. The interior has some pretty cool boy racer lighting, hill start assist will save you on those steep hills, and the engine computer helps smooth out your upshifts. As I find more weird things about the Fiesta I will continue to update this article.

Ford Fiesta ST: Our Initial Thoughts

As you may know, I just recently purchased a 2015 Ford Fiesta ST. My whole life I’ve been driving very cheap automobiles. My most recent vehicle was a 1992 Jeep XJ Cherokee, which I drove for the last year. Coming from cheap crappy vehicles, the Fiesta ST is very foreign to me.

The Fiesta ST has been praised by automotive journalists for being fun to drive since it came out. It’s lightweight chassis and torquey engine were major selling points. It’s been hyped up to be this amazing benchmark for hot hatch performance. But does it live up to its own legacy?


Initially getting into the interior of the Fiesta ST I noticed one thing, nothing was broken. Everything worked, including heat and A/C! The seats were incredibly comfortable, and the factory Sony sound system sounded great. The Ford entertainment system took some getting used to, although I was familiar with Mercedes’ entertainment system so I wasn’t completely lost.

Interior quality is pretty good, but it’s not something like a Mercedes. The seats are pretty comfortable, but the one we tested wasn’t optioned with the Recaro bucket seats. Once you start looking around you’ll notice almost everything is made of plastic. The touch points all feel good, but the non-touch points are where Ford saved money on this car.

Interestingly enough the Fiesta has more interior space than you might expect. I’m 6’2 and I can comfortably fit in the front, and fit in the rear. Although the rear is slightly cramped, I could definitely sit back there for quite a while. Overall the interior of the Fiesta felt like a very nice place to be. Especially coming from old Jeep interiors.


The exterior styling feels like a small WRC hatchback. It’s the same feeling you get when you look at a WRX hatch. It just looks like a pissed off little rally car. It shares the same sea creature looking front fascia with the Focus. The body lines are also pretty similar to the Focus, but the Fiesta just looks anger.

What’s interesting is that standard Fiesta hatchbacks really don’t look that good at all. Ford did a really good job making the ST stand apart from its base counterpart. The front grill looks much more aggressive, and the body kit screams rally car. I’m not sure if the rear wing actually provides any real downforce, but it sure looks cool.


The Fiesta is also very practical. It gets pretty good fuel mileage, can seat four adults and has a decent sized trunk. Like I mentioned above, I’m 6’2 and I can fit behind myself in the Fiesta. But it wouldn’t be very comfortable for longer drives.

In the first couple days of driving the Fiesta ST I was averaging about 25 mpg. I couldn’t keep my foot out of the throttle and ultimately my mpg suffered. After I reset my average mpg and driving a little less crazy everywhere I was able to manage an impressive 30 mpg combined. That 30 mpg also includes the canyon driving featured in the video below.


The whole reason anyone buys this car is for its performance. Although I’ve driven faster cars, I’ve never driven a car so frantic and fun. Everywhere you go the subtle turbo noises egg you on the go faster. When boost comes on you can’t help but put your foot into the throttle farther.

You can fling the little Fiesta into a corner at ridiculous speeds and it just loves it. The Fiesta is like a little puppy that just wants to keep playing. It always wants to go fast, it always wants you to push harder and harder. At my absolute personal limits I could tell the Fiesta was nowhere near its limits. It will definitely take a few Autocross events to find the Fiesta’s limit.


This car had a lot to live up to after all the good things I’ve heard about it online. Quite frankly it’s even better than I expected. I never knew you could have so much driving a front wheel drive hatchback. The tiny turbo provides tons of torque way down low in the RPMs, and the amazing suspension setup allows it to corner like a dream. I liked it so much that I actually ended buying it.

Fox Body Mustang Buying Guide

Are you in the market to purchase a Fox Body Mustang? Here’s everything you should keep an eye out for, and possibly use to your bargaining advantage.
Before we get into the things to look out for we will quickly cover what changes happened in what years:

  • 1979 – Fox Body mustangs hit the dealership floors.
  • 1980 – 5.0L V8 was replaced with a 4.2L V8.
  • 1981 – Hatchback outsold the coupe, which continued throughout the Fox Body’s lifetime
  • 1982 – 5.0L V8 returns due to popular demand.
  • 1983 – Convertible Fox Body was added to the line-up, and front suspension was improved.
  • 1984 – The SVO (2.3L turbocharged Inline-4) was introduced.
  • 1985 – Slightly revised front facia. Last year for the carburetor.
  • 1986 – Third brake light added, last year for the SVO Fox Body, electronic fuel injection was added.
  • 1987 – Major front end redesign
  • 1988 – GT was named in “Ten Best Cars in the World”
  • 1989 – Speed density induction replaced with mass air induction
  • 1990 – Airbag added to the steering wheel
  • 1991 – Foxbody price rises, sales decline
  • 1992 – Color coated side moldings on the body
  • 1993 – Limited edition, SVT Cobra, and SVT Cobra R were released, last year for the Fox Body mustang


Making sure the frame is good applies to nearly every vehicle purchase you’ll ever make.

  • Look at the windshield pillars for denting, as well as the rear windows for bulges or cracking. This is a sign of a twisted frame.
  • Look at the unibody frame rails for dents, creasing, and rust.
  • Take a look at the shock towers, they are notorious for rusting and cracking.
  • Look at the suspension mounting points from and rear. Occasionally the mounts crack.
  • If it was previously a drag car it may drive a little crooked/sideways down the road.

It’s very common for a Fox Body mustang frame to be twisted, due to the torque monster 5.0L V8 and a weak unibody design. This is especially common for drag cars, so make sure it drives straight down the road before you purchase it.

Fox Body


The 5.0L is an excellent engine, but like all engines, it has its common problems.

RELATED: The Story of my 1991 Fox Body Mustang

  • Leaky rear main seal, look at the back of the engine/front of the transmission for oil. This is a sign of a leaky rear main.
  • Water pump failure, see if the water pump pulley has any play in it, that’s a sign of a failing water pump.
  • Oil pan leak, look at the bottom of the engine for oil.
  • Low oil pressure at high RPMs. Wind the engine out to redline and see if the oil pressure gauge drops, sometimes the factory oil pump is inadequate at high RPMs.
  • If the engine has aftermarket parts on it ask if it has been tuned by a professional.
  • Ask for receipts for aftermarket parts.

Fox body Mustang


If the Fox Body mustang you’re looking to purchase has a manual transmission, there’s a few thing to look for.

RELATED: Top 5 Must Have Fox Body Modifications

  • Make sure it doesn’t pop out of any gears.
  • The clutch should engage about halfway through the pedal travel, if not the cable may be stretched.
  • Broken clutch cable, which is common especially on a Fox Body with aftermarket long tube headers.
  • Broken clutch quadrant, which is also common and a pain in the rear to fix.

If it has an automatic transmission, there are less thing to look for.

  • Abrupt/Harsh shifting. Either the transmission is going bad or it has an aftermarket shift kit
  • Check the fluid, it should be red, it might be a little dark if the fluid hasn’t been changed in a while

Foxbody Mustang


Drivetrain parts are generally a pain in the butt to fix so make sure that everything is in order.

  • Make sure the rear end doesn’t make any strange noises such as howling.
  • Ask the owner if it has stock gearing in the rear end.
  • Is the driveshaft stock or aftermarket?
  • Make sure the u-joints good, having those explode on the road is not fun.
  • If you have the opportunity, make sure it spins both tires. If not the LSD is old and worn out.
  • Knocking when you get on and off the throttle may be a bad transmission/motor mounts.


This is arguably the least important part because the interior has no real affect on how it drives. But, if you can score a Fox Body with a clean interior that is always a major plus

RELATED: 7 Reasons the Fox Body Mustang is the best Muscle Car

  • Cracks in the dash are normal. If you find a non-cracked dash you’re in luck.
  • Make sure all the buttons work.
  • Make sure the A/C unit works.
  • Are all the interior panels there?
  • Tears in the seat can always be fixed so don’t be worried about those.
  • If it’s a convertible make sure the top goes up and down properly.


Unfortunately, in the automotive industry, the money you put into your car is almost always lost. This sucks when you go to sell your Fox Body that you dumped $10k into, but it can be awesome if you’re the one purchasing it. A Fox Body with $2k worth of go fast parts will probably only sell for $500 more than a Fox Body without those parts.

This does not mean to go after any Fox Body with aftermarket stuff on it. Many times owners will cheap out and put crappy parts on their Fox Body. This can result in major headaches down the road if you decide to purchase said Fox Body. If there are any modifications done to the Fox Body you’re looking at, make sure they’re quality parts. A cobbled together Fox Body is worse off than a completely stock Fox Body.

If it has engine work done to it find out what heads, camshaft, and intake manifold it has. This will give you a rough estimate of what kind of power you can expect it to make. If it has any suspension modifcations ask what brand/model the comonents are. If it has a tubular k-member find out how it changed the suspension geometry.


In all, Fox Body Mustangs are generally problem free, but sometimes things happen. Look for strange body panel gaps, rust, oil leaks, and make sure the transmission shifts properly. None of these problems are deal-breakers, but you should try and use these problems to your bargaining advantage.

Top 5 Must Have Fox Body Mustang Modifications

Unhappy with how your Fox Body performs? Maybe you’re looking at picking up a Fox Body and what to know what you should do to it? Well, as an avid Foxbody enthusiast I knew this question needed answering. So, I have come up with a list of the top 5 mods to do to your Fox Body.

1. Intake

I can tell you from experience, a “cold air intake” isn’t going to gain you any power without modifying the rest of your 5.0’s intake system. The 302 that comes in the Fox Body is quite frankly pretty weak, especially at higher RPMs. An upper and lower intake manifold will yield very impressive gains, especially at the top end of the RPMs.

foxbody intake

A common intake is the Cobra intake manifold, but these are getting hard to find and don’t perform quite as well as modern designed intakes. I prefer Trick Flow, their intake manifolds seems to yield the best power overall. However, to see the greatest gains you’ll need an aftermarket camshaft and aftermarket heads.

  • Hp gain: 30+ rwhp
  • Price: $500- $1,000
  • Install: Easy

2. Heads

The key to making more power with any engine is in the heads. The stock heads on the 5.0 flow air very poorly, and are made of heavy cast-iron. Swapping your heads might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty easy and will transform your Fox Body. Much like the intake manifold the most common swap is Cobra (GT-40) heads. The GT40 heads flow better than stock, but are still made of heavy cast-iron.

RELATED: Ford Coyote vs Chevy LS: Which One is Better and Why?


An aftermarket head is most definitely the way to go, with modern technology companies like Edelbrock are able to blow the factory Fox Body heads out of the water. Edelbrock E-Street heads are made of lightweight aluminum and flow better than stock, I love these heads because they’re pretty cheap.

  • Hp gain: 30+  rwhp
  • Price: $850+
  • Install: Advanced

3. Camshaft

The cherry on the cake is an aftermarket camshaft. The intake manifold and the heads perform best when complimented with a new camshaft. The most popular 5.0 cam is the Ford Racing E303 cam, providing excellent low-end torque, decent top end power, and an incredible sound at idle.


The E303 is a street cam and won’t provide maximum power at the track. Other popular cams include Ford Racing B303, F303, and Anderson N41. I should mention that if you are really serious about your Fox Body, then stay away from the 303 camshafts. Ford designed the 303 cams 20+ years ago and they don’t have the best quality control. The 303 cams also won’t make as much power as a modern design camshaft. You can read more about this in our 303 Cams article.

  • HP gain: 25+ rwhp
  • Price: $200
  • Install: Advanced

I should mention that the first three modifications should be done at the same time since all three of them heavily compliment each other. Seriously, just save up and do all three mods at the same time.

4. Suspension

Unfortunately, the Fox Body chassis doesn’t handle very well in stock form. Plus stock Fox Body suspension sits WAY to high. Most Fox Body owners swap the front suspension to coil-over and put lowering springs in the rear. This generally makes the fox chassis much more balanced, helping eliminate most of the understeer and the tail happy rear end.

RELATED: 7 Reasons why the Fox Body is the Ultimate Muscle Car


Raceland makes a nice set of coil overs that are very budget friendly, and really help your Fox Body handle less like a boat. An aftermarket K-member is also an excellent modification. It essentially changed your suspension geometry to a much more desirable setup.

RELATED: How to Choose the Right Fox Body K-Member

If you plan on going to a coil-over setup I would strongly recommend also getting a tubular k-member. Not only will it improve your suspension geometry, it will also save you a ton of weight, and improve chassis rigidity a ton.

  • Price: $500 – $2000
  • Install: Easy

5. 5-Lug Swap

This last modification is something I wouldn’t consider necessary, but if you have the time and the budget then do it. Going 5-lug makes your rear axle MUCH stronger, and gives you a larger selection of wheels to choose from.


The most common swap is a rear axle from the newer SN95 Mustang, which has rear disc brakes which are a massive upgrade over the Fox Body rear drum brakes. Going 5-lug also makes your choice of wheels larger, which is always a plus.

  • Price: $400+
  • Install: Advanced

Bonus Mod – Chassis:

Of course, there are a few modifications I really wanted to mention but didn’t fit into the list of five modifications. If you really want to get serious about your Fox Body, you need to stiffen the chassis. The weak Fox Body chassis can make proper suspension setups very hard to obtain.

RELATED: The Story of my 1991 Fox Body Mustang

Subframe connectors are a popular modification that really helps the chassis, as well as the ever popular strut tower brace. Do not cheap out of these parts. Cheap chassis parts will not help your chassis whatsoever and will be a waste of time/money.

A roll cage is also a good idea. Let’s be honest, you’re reading this article because you want your Fox Body to go faster. Nobody is a perfect driver, even professionals crash. If you crash whilst racing without a roll cage you may be rolling the dice on your life. Even a simple bolt in half cage may save you and your occupants lives, plus it’s great for chassis stiffness.


Whether you own a Fox Body, or you are looking to buy one, we would definitely recommend doing these modifications. The head/cam/intake can gain you 100+ hp. The suspension and chassis modifications will add to the handling performance while giving it a mean, aggressive stance.

7 Reasons The Fox Body Mustang is The Best Muscle Car Ever

Over the past 5 years the Fox Body Mustang has exploded in popularity, especially with young hot rodders. The funny thing is, most youngsters don’t even know what a Fox Body Mustang is, and I don’t blame them. The Fox Body is a hidden gem in the automotive world, so you better get one before they’re all gone. Before we jump into why you need one, let’s quickly cover what a Fox Body is.

What is a Fox Body Mustang?

drawing mustang concept ford 5.0

A Fox Body Mustang is a Mustang produced anywhere from 1979 to 1993. It doesn’t matter if it’s a coupe, convertible, or a hatch. It also doesn’t matter what engine is has either, or transmission. As long as it’s between the ages of 1979 and 1993, it’s a Fox Body.

Why is it called a “Fox Body”? I know, it’s a really weird name to give to a car. But, it’s called a Fox Body because it’s on the Ford Fox platform. Ford designed the Fox platform as a unibody chassis and used it across a wide range of Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles. Ford’s main objective with the Fox platform was to downsize the massive cars they made in the ’70s.

Why is it called the “Fox” platform? I am unable to find a sure reason why Ford identified this chassis as “Fox”. But, I assume it has something to do with how it downsized their vehicles. Ford’s vehicles went from being big like a cow to small and nimble like a Fox.

Now that you know what a Fox Body is, let’s talk about what makes them so awesome. Also, if you doubt my knowledge or credibility: The Story of my 1991 Fox Body Mustang.

7. ’80s Goodness

Ah, the ’80s, something that the Fox Body represents strongly. No other car can you drive today without previous Fox Body owners striking up conversations about how much fun they had in these cars back in the day. Hell, even my mother had a Fox Body back in the day, although she ended up totaling it. The day I came home in my Fox Body she was dying to take a ride in it. What other cars can bring people from completely different generations together? The only vehicle I can think that brings people together like a Fox Body can is a Jeep.

Fox Body Mustang

Fox Body Mustangs also represent vehicle styling from the ’80s and ’90s. The long horizontal tail lights, the factory GT body kit, the simple body lines. Look at a BMW E30 and try to tell me it doesn’t look similar to a Fox Body couple. Even the interior screams the ’80s, which is awesome because back then interiors weren’t cluttered with fancy junk. All you have is a steering wheel, pedals, gear shifter, and a basic radio.

Another great thing about ’80s cars is that you have to drive it yourself. What do I mean by this? Modern Mustangs come equipped with traction control, stability control, line lock for burnouts, and ABS. The Fox Body has none of the above, your right foot is the traction control. If you throttle mid-corner you better know how to control a drift or you’ll end up crashing. If you want to survive driving a Fox Body you’d better learn how to drive really well.

6. Camaro Killer

Back in the ’80s and ’90s there was always stoplight racing between the Camaro and Mustang. However, the Fox Body was almost always faster in a straight line. They both have similar power and torque, but the Fox Body’s low weight give it an advantage on the Camaro. The Fox Body weighs in around 3,000-3,200 lbs depending on the model and body. The 3rd gen Camaro weighs in around 3,300-3,400 lbs. A few hundred pounds might not sound like a huge amount but it’s a huge advantage especially when drag racing.

RELATED: Ford Coyote vs Chevy LS: Which One is Better?

Fox body Mustang

The Camaro had a more advanced rear suspension and braking system, which makes it stop and handle a little better. But, these are American cars, and most people never take their cars to a road course or Autocross. The Fox Body’s lack of rear pan hard bar holds it back when it comes to autocross and circuit racing. Simply adding a pan hard bar to the rear axle will greatly improve the Fox Body’s handling.

The 3rd gen Camaro LT engine is based entirely off small-block Chevy engines before it. But, the TBI and TPI fuel injection systems aren’t very popular with tuners. For this reason many 3rd gen Camaros are carb/aftermarket EFI swapped. When is comes to the aftermarket I would definitely say the small block Chevy is more popular. But, that’s not to say the small block Ford isn’t popular in the aftermarket.

Both the Fox Body Mustang and the 3rd gen Camaro are unbelievably fun to stoplight race. Even in their stock condition, they’re an absolute riot, but the Fox Body will almost always take the win. 3rd gen Camaros also have this weird stigma. If you drive a 3rd gen everyone thinks that either you’re a hillbilly, or have a mullet.

5. They’re Sexy as Hell!

Whether you love or hate the style of the Fox Body, you’ll probably agree that it’s interesting. But, it doesn’t really resemble Mustangs of the past. Lack of “tri-bar” tail lamps and the wonky front end definitely set it apart from the typically Mustang. The Fox Body definitely has it’s design flaws, for example, the GT’s rear bumper is hideous. The GT’s bumper literally a giant square with a weird lip at the bottom, and the LX’s rear bumper is to short.

Like I said earlier, the Fox Body represents vehicle styling of ’80s automobiles. Many enthusiasts considered cars like the BMW E30 to be one of the best-looking cars to ever be created, and the Fox Body shares much the BMW’s ’80s styling. I think that’s partly why the Fox Body is becoming really popular with the younger generation. Just look at the Fox Body below and try to tell me it’s not a good-looking car. If you decide you need to buy a Fox Body, be sure to read our Fox Body buying guide.

Fox Body Convertible Cobra Mustang

The Fox Body Mustang came in a Fastback, Coupe, and a Convertible. This was the last generation Mustang that was available in a fastback before the 2015 Mustang. In the eyes of the younger generation, the Fox is incredibly good-looking. Like I said above, this is probably due to its ’80s styling and small size compared to new Mustangs. Performance shops such as Saleen put their own twist on the body styling of the Fox Body. Arguably the best-looking body kit for the Fox Body is the Cobra style body kit on the convertible Fox Body seen in the picture above.

Saleen Fox Body

Fox Body Mustang

Generally, the Notchback (Coupe) is more desired, mostly because of its rarity, but also because it has cleaner body lines and looks better to most people. The coupe is also about 100 lbs lighter making it much more popular with drag racers. I’ve always personally liked the LX hatchback more, but that’s probably just 17-year-old me remembering all the awesome times I had in my Fox Body.

4. Factory Performance, 300 LB-FT of Awesomeness

By no means is a Fox Body Mustang a sports car, in stock form they’re known for their boat like handling, and tail happy rear end. However, the Fox Body Mustang was the first car Motor Trend ever tested that pulled over 1G on a skidpad, pretty impressive for a muscle car that “can’t turn”. The infamous 5.0L doesn’t make large amounts of power by today’s standards, but it made respectable power back when they were new, putting 225 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque to the ground.

Although 225 horsepower is pretty lackluster in today’s world, 300 lb-ft of torque isn’t. That’s what makes these cars so much fun to drive, the fact that you don’t even have to rev them out to have a great time, they just want to spin the tires at all RPMs.

Also Read: 7 Weird Things You Never Knew About the Ford Mustang

Fox Body Mustang

Luckily, 225 horses is actually a good amount considering the Fox Body weighs in at 3,100 lbs in stock form. With a bit of weight reduction (fiberglass hood, a/c delete, etc.) can achieve a weight of under 2,900 lbs, less than a modern VW Beetle. My personal Fox Body Mustang had a pretty significant amount of weight reduction; gutted interior, A/C delete, aluminum heads, etc, and it could achieve 0-60 in about 5 seconds. That puts it on par with a 2015 Mustang. For specifics visit: Foxbody Wikipedia

My personal 1991 Mustang LX

1991 Foxbody Mustang LX Light Blue Cobra R Rims sexy arizona cars

Check out: Top 5 Must Have Mods For Your Fox Body

With such a light car, you can imagine how fun this car is to drive around. They’re not a role-model when it comes to handling, mostly thanks to their “live axle” rear end, but that’s okay because they’re cornering characteristics are fun, not fast. Like I said above, 300 lb-ft of torque makes the Fox Body want to spin tires at any RPM, and who doesn’t like burnouts?

3. Aftermarket Performance

It’s a Mustang, what do you expect? The aftermarket parts are nearly endless, from engine accessories to suspension components. Factory performance parts are extremely abundant too since the Fox Body Mustang shares many components with Mustangs as new as 2004. This is because SN95 and New Edge Mustangs are on the same Fox platform as the Fox Body Mustang. So, I’m sure you can imagine how many parts are available for the Fox Body.

Fox Body Mustang

Ford saw an opportunity to get their foot in the aftermarket, and they created Ford Racing Performance Parts. Ford Racing makes some of the most popular parts for the Fox Body Mustang such as the E303 and B303 camshafts, as well as the GT40-X aluminum cylinder heads. I will say that the Ford Racing engine components aren’t as good as aftermarket companies. The GT40 heads will never flow as well as a true aftermarket set of heads, and the Ford Racing cams are also heavily outdated. However, the Ford Racing components are dirt cheap compared to the normal aftermarket prices for similar parts.

One of the interchangeable parts between the Fox Body and newer Mustangs is the Cobra independent rear suspension, which is a near bolt-on part. The Cobra IRS makes the Fox Body Mustang platform handle like a true sports car, getting rid of all the classic Mustang “wheel hop” that can happen if you hit a bump mid-corner. Other Cobra parts like the steering rack are also easily interchangeable, just imagine all the praise the 03-04 Cobra gets, but in the 3,000 lb Fox Body chassis.

Also Read: Why are Jeeps so Ridiculously Expensive?

There are countless amounts of companies that produce engine components, suspension, and ascetic parts for your Fox Body. One of the biggest and best sources for Fox Body parts is American Muscle, they only sell Mustang parts and really know what they’re doing when it comes to building Mustangs.

2. They’re like Legos

What’s your dream build? Drag car? Drift car? Street cruiser? Well, you can literally do anything you want to a Fox Body. Since Mustangs from 1979 to 2004 are almost identical under the skin. You can plop in a built 302ci or even a larger engines like a 351w and build a drag car. Installing a Cobra IRS (Independent Rear Suspension), some steering changes and you’ll have an awesome drift car. You could build a mild little 302ci and cruise around the streets racing from stoplight to stoplight having a good time. World famous drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. uses a Fox Body for his “Drift Missile”, and he says “The Fox Body is the best-kept secret of drifting”

Foxbody Drift Car

Maybe you want a canyon carver? You can build a Fox Body Mustang like Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire, with fender flares to fit stupid wide tires at all 4 corners, big brakes from a Cobra, IRS from a Cobra, steering rack from a Cobra, and a bunch of chassis/frame stiffening. All of this combined with a slightly built 302, and you’ve got a stupidly grippy Fox Body that will run down nearly anything in the Canyons.

Check Out: Ford Goes all Aluminum, When Will Chevy Follow?

Want an even crazier Fox Body? Well, shove a Coyote 5.0 or an LS engine in it and you’ll be putting down 400whp+ and you’ll have one stupidly fast, and stupidly reliable Fox Body Mustang. If you’re really a diehard Ford enthusiast you could even put a supercharged 4.6L Terminator motor in it.

No matter what direction you choose to go with your Fox Body, people have already done it, documented it, and are willing to share information on what works and what doesn’t. Plus, with all the parts you can source from the Cobra, you can keep the factory reliability, but make it much faster.

1. It’s a Classic

If it’s older than me, it’s probably a classic…. right? The Fox Body is now wandering into the 25+ year-old range depending on what year you own, which means it’s starting to become a “classic”. When cars start to be considered classics, their prices go up. CNN Money even mentioned the Fox Body Mustang in their Top Ten Investment Cars under $5,000. On top of it becoming a classic, it’s also facing a similar issue to the 240sx’s “Drift Tax”. Youngsters getting into hot rods are scooping up Fox Body Mustangs left and right, causing the prices to go up even more.

Fox Body Mustang

Seriously, hop on Craigslist and try to find a nice Fox Body for less than $2,000, it’s literally impossible to find a rust free Fox Body that’s been taken care of. On top of youngsters and collectors driving the price up, enthusiast drivers are also picking these up for their next project, and I don’t blame them. 3,000 lbs, endless parts to choose from, and endless directions to go with your build, who wouldn’t want a Fox Body as a project car? Think of it almost like a stock market, if you invest in a Fox Body, it’ll be worth way more 10 years from now. The rising prices are already happening, just 5 years ago they could easily be had for a $2k – $3k, and now decent condition Fox’s are $5k+.

Is a Fox Body Mustang For You?

Ask yourself, have you ever wanted to go do donuts and street racing just for the thrill? Have you ever been jealous of that one old guy in your neighborhood who owns a classic car? Do you love the feeling of a cammed muscle car? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to start looking for a Foxbody for yourself.

As a matter of fact, we love the Fox Body so much that we listed it in our “Top 4 Sports Cars for Under $4,000

When I was 17 I LOVED tuner cars, but then I took a ride in my friends Fox Body, and I fell in love with it so much that I traded my Jeep for a Foxbody a few days later. So, even if you are a die-hard tuner, or maybe you just don’t like Mustangs at all, I promise you from the bottom of my heart, the first time you drive a Foxbody Mustang you’ll fall in love with it.


Overall the Fox Body chassis is extremely good in almost every way. It has that ’80s and ’90s nostalgic feeling, and that awesome ’80s look. With a plethora of ground effects to choose from, it will always look sexy. It hammered Camaros back in the day, and still will today if it has enough modifications.

If you have the money to get a Fox Body, do it today, seriously. It will be the best car you ever bought. Plus if you end up not liking it you could always hold on to it for a few years and double your money. Let me know what you think of Fox Body Mustangs in the comments below!

Ford Temporarily Cuts Production of F-150

Ford was recently forced to cut back on the production of its Mustang, due to slowing demand. Unfortunately, it appears as though the Mustang isn’t the only model getting cut back. Ford is set to temporarily shut down production of its F-150 pickup. They produce this truck at multiple facilities, and reports show that their Kansas City plant will be the one to get the temporary shut down.

Ford also will be shutting down their Louisville plant temporarily. This facility is where the Escape and Lincoln MKC are produced. The cut of the Escape is due to a 12% dip in sales last month (August 2016). This dip is caused by the refreshed model of Honda’s CRV, as well as the refreshed model of the Nissan Rogue.

On top of these two US production facilities being temporarily shut down, Ford also plans to temporarily shut down two of their Mexico facilities. These Mexico facilities produce the Ford Fusion, Ford Fiesta, and Lincoln MKZ.

This is all caused by a dip is US auto sales in the late second half of 2016. Sales of the F-150 are down 2.6% compared to September 2015, however, year-over-year sales are up 5.5%. Sales of the Escape are down a massive 12% compared to last month, which is due to the refreshed CRV and Rogue.

These massive temporary shut down will cause 13,000 workers to be laid off until further notice. About 9,000 of those workers are here in the US, with the other 4,000 in Mexico. Don’t be to surprised if Donald Trump mentions something about it in the coming days.

The Story of my 1991 Fox Body Mustang

If you read the story about my 1993 Jeep Cherokee, then you know I ended up trading it for a 1991 Mustang. In this quick article I’m going to share everything I can about my 1991 Mustang.
Please excuse the poor quality photographs. At the time of ownership I only had an iPhone 4 to take photos with.


I never had an interest in getting a Mustang for any reason, but that all changed when I took a ride in my friends Fox Body Mustang. His was a mild 306ci, but I was blown away by how torquey and fun it was. So later that night I began my search for a Fox Body of my own. What I found was a 1991 Fox Body that had previously been used as an autocross car. I texted him asking if he wanted to trade for an XJ Cherokee and he said yes.

It had nice Cobra wheels, lots of engine stuff I didn’t understand, and it was Fox Body. In my mind it sounded like a perfect scenario.

Getting the Mustang

The next day my friend and I hopped in my Jeep Cherokee and drove to the other side of Phoenix, Arizona. I checked out the Mustang but didn’t really know what I was looking at under the hood. We did a little test drive and I liked how fast it was, so we went through with the deal.

Intake manifold gasket replacement


It drove back home perfectly fine, but the flaws quickly became apparent. Holes in the firewall caused a lot of heat to come into the cabin which was super obnoxious. It wasn’t until I got it home that I noticed it was burning oil. Not just a little oil either. Upon start up there was noticeable smoke, and at full throttle there was also quite noticeable smoke. But, it was really fast and really fun so I overlooked the flaws.


It’s has been a few years since I owned that Mustang, so I can’t remember every single part that was on it. I do remember most of them though, so i’ll do my best to tell them all to you.


  • Unknown coil overs up front.
  • Lowering springs in rear.
  • Cobra R wheels.


  • Radio delete
  • Aircon delete
  • Rear seat delete
  • Center console delete


  • Factory 302 block
  • Edelbrock E-Series street heads w/ port & polish
  • Ford Racing E303 camshaft
  • Unknown 1.7 rockers
  • Summit carb intake
  • Summit 600 cfm carb
  • MSD Ignition system
  • 6,500 rpm limit


  • Stock 5-speed transmission
  • Stage 3 clutch
  • 3.73 rear gears


  • Unknown shorty headers
  • Unknown X-Pipe
  • No catalytic converters
  • Flowmasters 40 series
  • Dumped before rear axle

If you are familiar with Fox Body Mustangs, then you know that some of these are very common mods. To put it simply, it had the typical HCI (Heads, Cam, Intake), a carb swap, and a gutted interior. I will never know why it was carb swapped, but there were a lot of interesting things going on with that Fox Body.

Stage 2 clutch/rear main seal/new flywheel install


RELATED: Top 5 Must Have Fox Body Mods

Although I never had it dyno tested, it should’ve made around 300whp with the modifications that it had. The previous owner claimed it made 400 horsepower at the crank but I don’t believe that to be true.


Remember when I told you that it all started when I took a ride in my friend’s Fox Body? Well it didn’t end there. We spent countless nights cruising around together trying to race anyone we could find. Needless to say, we destroyed ALOT of Hondas.

The first race I ever had in my Fox Body was against a Porsche Boxster on the highway. It was an older man driving the Porsche, but he was game to race. It was probably a 60-120 mph and the Porsche put up a good fight, but was no match for my Mustang. As a matter of fact, the only race I ever lost was to another Mustang, which happened to be a sleeper.

Radiator replacement


Before all the awesome races and hooning I had to learn the Mustang. The second or third day of ownership I learned just how powerful it was. I was turning right pretty quickly to get onto the highway onramp. I got greedy with the throttle and ended up spinning out unexpectedly. Luckily I spun out into the gravel on the side of the road and nothing was damaged.

Before you get mad in the comments about how much of a reckless driver I was, understand that I only did these things when it was safe to do so. Races took place at night in low traffic areas. Me spinning out also took place at 2am when no one was around that I could possibly injure.

The Major Flaws

No vehicle is complete without its flaws, unfortunately the Mustang had quite a few. It was basically built as a budget race car, and whoever built it didn’t really know what they were doing.

Factory wires were cut all over the place, makeshift harnesses were created out of all green wires. The carpet looked like it came from Home Depot (It was ridiculously thick), the lack of interior parts made the cabin loud on the road. The holes in the firewall let engine heat in, plus no A/C in the Arizona summer time SUCKED.

The first day of ownership

Fox 5

It burned a good amount of oil, it was carbureted, and after I replaced the clutch it was open header for a while which was insanely loud and annoying.

The way I describe my Mustang to people is this: “It was a POS, but it was a really fast and fun POS”.

Why I got rid of it

Eventually I turned 18 years old, and decided to get a motorcycle. I tried to sell my Mustang for over a month with no bites, so I called up my buddy who had been trying to buy it from me for a while and told to come down to my house with cash. He gave me $1,700, and I immediately got a Ninja 250 that night.

RELATED: 7 Reasons the Fox Body is the Ultimate Muscle Car

Do I regret getting rid of it? Yes and no. It was very fast and very fun, but it was also a POS. It had been ghetto rigged in many different ways by previous owners, and that was really annoying. I plan on building another Fox Body in the future, until then i’ll stick with Jeeps.

90’s Sport Trucks, An Industry Fail.

The pick up truck is America’s bread and butter. Used by farmers, construction workers, and millions of hard working men and women everywhere. But what happens when you want a sports car, but need a truck? American manufacturers, Chevrolet and Ford, tried to answer that question in the 90s.

Chevy 454SS


Chevrolet saw the gap in the pickup truck market. There was no “sporty” trucks at the time. So, they took the standard 1/2 ton single cab chassis, stuck the largest engine they had into it, and called it the 454SS. The “454” in “454SS” rather obviously stands for the 454 cubic inch (7.4L) engine they put into it.

You would think a 7.4L would put down at least 350 or 400 horsepower, especially since it was supposed to be a sporty truck. However, the 454ci put down a hilariously small 230 horsepower and 385 ft-lbs of torque. That is a lot of torque, but 230 horsepower is just pathetic by any standards.

The 454SS was only available in black, with a red interior, and GM only made 17,000 of them. So, yes they do have a collector value due to being rare, but serve no legitimate purpose in the real world. It’s low, heavy, loud, sucks up gas, and isn’t even that fast. Let’s be honest, its not very pretty either.

Performance Data:

  • Horsepower: 230 horsepower
  • Torque: 385 lb-ft of torque
  • Weight: 4,400 lbs
  • 0-60mph: 7.1 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.6 seconds @ 87 mph

Ford Lightning



Ford answered back with the SVT Lightning, which was very similar to the 454SS. The Lightning was also a single cab, short bed truck, and could only be had that way. Ford had a slightly different recipe for their sport truck. They used the existing 351W (5.8L), but added GT-40 heads from the Mustang Cobra,and stronger pistons. The lightning put down 240 horsepower, and 340 ft-lbs of torque.


The 351W under the hood of the lightning makes slightly more horsepower than the 454SS, but slightly less torque. It is impressive that the Lightning makes more horsepower with less displacement, but it’s still weak compared to any other engine, especially modern engines.

The SVT Lighting was only available in black, white, and red. Ford only produced 11,500 of the 1st gen lightning, making it even more rare than a 454SS. Later down the line Ford also produced the Harley Davidson edition, which was basically a 4-door Lightning

Performance Data:

  • Horsepower: 240 horsepower
  • Torque: 340 lb-ft of torque
  • Weight: 4,300 lbs
  • 0-60mph: 7.6 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.6 seconds @ 87 mph

GMC Syclone


Out of all the sports trucks in the 90s I think the Syclone is the coolest. It was a light duty truck which meant it weighed less than the 454SS and Lightning. It was also very unique because its power plant was nothing like the other two. The Syclone used a single turbo 4.3L, which produced an impressive 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.

The Syclone was also unique because it was all-wheel-drive, and had a 4-wheel ABS system which was a first ever for a pickup truck. Many automotive magazines at the time found the Syclone’s acceleration to be comparable to the Corvette, and even some Ferrari models.

Unfortunately the Syclone only lasted 2 years of production. Around 3,000 Syclones were produced, with only a few being a color other than black. Out of all the sports trucks the Syclone was definitely the fastest, and most innovative with its AWD system and advanced ABS system.

Performance Data:

  • Horsepower: 280 horsepower
  • Torque: 350 lb-ft of torque
  • Weight: 3,550 lbs
  • 0-60mph: 5.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 14.1 seconds @ 93 mph


All of these trucks are very interesting in concept, but just don’t work in the real word. The chassis of the pickup truck was never designed to handle well, so sticking a powerful-ish engine under the hood really just makes the problem worse. Dodge later attempted the same with their SRT-10 Ram, but that also ultimately failed.

It’s clear that off-road style trucks are much more appealing to the public. Ford’s Raptor has been a massive success since it was released in 2009. It has become clear that sport trucks will never really catch on in the automotive world.

Let me know what you think of sports trucks down in the comments below!


Top 3 Beginner Off Road Trucks

Are you looking to get into the off road “scene”? But, you have never owned an off road truck? There are a few things you must consider when deciding what you want out of your off road truck.

Do you just want to go camping? Do you want to go trail riding? Rock crawling? What about desert prerunning? Here’s what you need to look for in an off-road truck:

  1. Price: If you’re just getting into the off road lifestyle, you probably don’t want to break the bank. Picking up something cheap to wheel on the weekends is ideal.
  2. Durability: You want something that is tough, and can survive harsh conditions and treatment.
  3. Size: You obviously don’t want to wheel a school bus, but maybe a Wrangler is to small for you. Small off road rigs like the Wrangler don’t allow you to bring many friends and/or gear. Big off road rigs like the Chevy Suburban can’t easily fit on many trails.
  4. Articulation: Depending on the type of wheeling you’d like to do, articulation may be important. If you just want to do simple trail riding or camping, then this is much less important.

Now that you have a good understanding of what you’ll want, let’s look at the candidates. Here are the best beginners off road trucks:

1. Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep XJ Cherokee was made from 1984 to 2001 and was the Predecessor to the original body-on-frame SJ Cherokee. The XJ Cherokee was unlike the SJ Cherokee; it was small, it didn’t have a standard frame, and didn’t come with a V8.

Robert Cumberford, from Automobile Magazine said: “Great designs never grow old, a truth no better confirmed than by designer Dick Teague’s masterpiece, the Jeep Cherokee. Possibly the best SUV shape of all time, it is the paradigmatic model to which other designers have since aspired.”



Generally speaking, most XJ Cherokees are four door, 4.0L inline 6, and 4WD. Which is perfect, 4 doors to more easily hold gear and people. The 4.0L is notoriously bullet proof, and the 4WD system is great for the trails. Since the XJ Cherokee is unibody and 4 link suspension up front, they articulate very well and ride very smooth.

Since the XJ Cherokee was made for such a long period of time, they are everywhere and dirt cheap too! With so many of them around, a huge amount of off road companies started making aftermarket parts for them, making parts dirt cheap too!

Prices for the XJ Cherokee generally range from $1000 to $6500

Too see what a commonly modified XJ Cherokee looks like, check out Coles XJ Cherokee.

2. Chevrolet K5 Blazer

The Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy was made from 1969 to 1994 and was made to compete with the Jeep CJ-5. Almost all Blazers came in 4WD with a 305CI (5.0L) or a 350CI (5.7L) small block chevy. The Chevy Blazer is a frame-on-body design, with leaf springs front and rear of the truck.

Being that they are frame-on-body, they are very heavy duty and very strong. Leaf springs front and rear allowed for cheap manufacturing and add stability while driving the truck.



The leaf spring design doesn’t articulate, or ride very well, but with some modifications can perform very well. Since Chevy trucks have been around for so long, it’s impossible to run out of factory used or aftermarket parts. Much like the Cherokee, the Chevy 350 is also a great engine,it makes plenty of power and torque and retains the old-school, but proven engine design.

The US Military used the K5 Blazer from 1983 to 1986, they named them “CUCV M1009”. The M1009 came with a 6.2L Detroit Diesel and an Eaton Gov-Lock rear differential, and served many purposes in the US Military.

Prices for the Chevy Blazer range from $1000 to $5000

3. Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco was made from 1966 to 1996, and was also built to compete with the Jeep CJ-5. The 302CI and the 351W were the most common engines that the Bronco came with. The Ford Bronco, like the Chevy Blazer, was also frame-on-body, making it heavy duty and strong.

The Bronco had a leaf spring suspension design front and rear until 1980. In 1980 Ford introduced the TTB (Twin Traction Beam), to allow for a smoother ride, on and off road. The TTB suspension system worked very well, it improved handling and ride comfort, but sacrificed wheel travel and is notoriously hard to align.


Both the Ford 302 (5.0L) and the 351 Windsor (5.7L) are great motors, making good power while still being reliable and cheap to maintain. Parts for the Bronco aren’t nearly as abundant as the other two trucks, but parts are still easy available.

The TTB system, lead to the Twin I-Beam suspension, which is the same as TTB, except its not 4WD. I-Beam suspension is what many “pre runner” trucks use and works great for high speed off roading.

Prices for the Ford Bronco range from $1000 to $5500


The XJ Cherokee is great for rock-crawling, the Blazer is great for mudding and trail-riding, and the Bronco is great for going fast in the dirt.

All 3 of these trucks are very cheap to buy and easy to fix, and can take a hard beating off-road. Making them all perfect candidates for a beginner off road truck. The choice is yours to make.