"It's peppy," the salesman said as an enticement to buy... It's not that the Mazda 323/Ford Laser-based first-generation Tracer was a bad car, but the Escort apparently called stronger for our own hard-earned dollar, so we drove home in a brand new 1989 wagon. Ford apparently figured this out with the second-generation Tracer, which was joined with the Escort as part of a comprehensive redesign in the early 1990s.
Must have been a step in the right direction – that car managed to make it onto Car & Driver's 10Best list. A preponderance of Tracers seem to have been painted metallic teal, one of the hottest colors of the time, but even in its second iteration the Tracer was nothing more than someone else's hardware with a badge/grille job.
Out of all the shelved model names it could choose from, Mercury is apparently going to dust off the Tracer name for an interplanetary version of the new Focus. Since the next-gen Focus appears to be so good, the new Tracer ought to follow suit, but why not take this opportunity to remember a time when power mirrors and a tachometer were "features?" On to the videos, then, after the jump.