Most folks wouldn't pick the Mercury Capri as their first choice for an early '90s roadster, but we thing the XR2 variant is at least worth a look.


In 1989, Mazda introduced the Miata, sparking a renaissance of traditional sports roadsters that continues until this very day. Miata fans are more rabid than ever, and for good reason – the Miata is a terrific car.

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When the Miata concept was still fresh and exciting, however, many manufacturers wanted a piece of the pie, including Ford. That's when they did something wholly unusual.

Ford turned to their Australian division, and their Mazda 323-based Ford Capri. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? The car would be sold here as the Mercury Capri, and for a short while in the 1990s, they were relatively commonplace on the roads here.

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Of course, the Mercury Capri wasn't quite a direct competitor to the Miata. For one thing, it was front wheel drive, with a greater focus on comfort and luxury than pure sports car thrills. It even had a pair of jump seats in the rear for occasional passengers.

That's not to say that the Capri was slow, though. In fact, there was a turbocharged version, dubbed the XR2. The XR2 was powered by a turbocharged DOHC 1.6 liter Mazda four cylinder making a very respectable 132 horsepower and 136 lb/ft of torque.

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That was about 15 horsepower more than the Miata, although this was more or less a wash as the Capri weighed roughly 250 pounds more than the sprightly Mazda. Still, the Capri stands as an interesting automotive footnote, one that's worth a second look in a world filled with more or less identical jellybean-shaped crossovers.

We found this very clean, very purple example for sale on Craigslist in Buffalo, New York for $5,500.It has just 66,000 miles and appears to be in terrific shape. If you want to own a Mercury Capri of this generation, you could do a whole lot worse than this one.