Ford Telstar AT/AV
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The original generation Telstar was replaced in 1987 with a refreshed version (the AT) on the Mazda GD platform. A station wagon was also available, built on the GD-based GV platform, which was unique to Japan and New Zealand, the engines and drivetrain configurations mirroring those of the hatchback and sedan versions. Fuel-injection was now standard on the Telstar (AT) in Australia, although local assembly was short-lived, and for a while the model was almost replaced by the Ford Corsair in 1989.
More aerodynamic styling, improved engines with greater performance and an improved automatic transmission
were the main changes to the Telstar range of medium cars for the KE model launch. The Telstar had a much more rounded face for 1988
, and combined with flush glass, concealed drip rails and wrap around bumpers, the changes reduced the drag factor and made Telstar quieter and more fuel efficient.
Another major change of direction for Telstar was Ford's decision to import all stocks of the car. It was previously assembled in CKD form at Ford's Broadmeadows plant, but the switch was made possible by the accumulation of import credits through Ford exports. The production facilities vacated by the Telstar were swallowed by Falcon
Both the Telstar sedan and hatchback TX5 were more subtle in their packaging. Headlights, door handles, semi concealed windscreen wipers, and wind tunnel tested miles, bumpers and air intakes all contributed to a very 1980s look - which, in the 1980s, was a good thing. A range of other changes graced the specification sheet of the Telstar, including tinted side glass, new mouldings, protection strips etc.
The TX5 was the hero of the range, and featured a lower roofline than before and a lower overall height than the sedan model. Interior space was significantly increased in both Telstar and TX5 with greater leg room, width and height in all passenger areas. The dashboard panel was shallower and repositioned to make the car feel more spacious. Those upgrading from a previous model Telstar would have been disappointed to learn that the damn annoying warning chimes carried over. Warning the driver is OK, but these things really were designed by the devil. The engines for the Telstar and TX5 were probably the biggest news when the car launched, as they continued the trend towards larger capacity engines - something that is only now changing to lower capacity with more economy.
A New 2.2 Litre Engine
The 2-litre carburettored engine of the previous model continued in Telstar and TX5 GL models, while the 2.2 litre fuel injected motor was standard on Ghia models. A 2.2 turbo engine was available as an option on Ghia. The two litre engine continued unchanged, with the exception of mounting points, while the 2.2 litre was a totally new configuration of the same engine. The 2.2 was a long stroke engine delivering its power of 84kW at a relatively low 4700 rpm. Peak torque of 179Nm was achieved at 3000rpm. The engine is able to produce such torque at low revs with the use of a 12 valve head. A single camshaft operated two inlet and one exhaust valve for each of the four cylinders. The two inlet valve design allowed good gas flow with plenty of turbulence for low and mid range punch.
The 2.2 litre was based entirely on the two litre and the extra capacity was derived from an additional 10mm of stroke. The fuel injection system was a multi-point set-up which featured a two bore throttle body and electronic idle control system. In a normal injection system, air would be drawn through a butterfly valve actuated by the accelerator pedal. The Telstar's twin bore throttle body allowed air to be drawn through one barrel at low speeds for greater air turbulence and better fuel/air mixing. As engine speeds rose, air was taken in through both bores and the engine could breath better.
The 2.2 litre turbo engine was an impressive unit with an output of 100kW at 4300rpm and torque of 233Nm at 3500rpm on 91 octane ULP. Changes to the standard engine for that power gain were the addition of the IHI turbocharger
, an air to air intercooler and electronics in the form of ignition advance and engine management. Turbocharged cars were fitted with a then new, tougher five speed manual transmission
with lower overall gearing to cope with the extra grunt. That gearbox and the five speed transmissions for normally aspirated cars featured a synchromesh
on reverse gear. Clutch actuation was by way of hydraulics rather than cable and a bigger beefier clutch was fitted to turbo models.
The Telstar's new automatic-transmission
was a four speed with electro-mechanical valves doing the gear changing work normally done by purely mechanical means. A computer scavenged information from all parts of the car via sensors and then decided on when to change gears. The gearbox also featured a number of driver selected shift patterns, a choice of power or economy models, an overdriven fourth ratio and lock up torque converter. Telstar GL models had the availability of an optional three speed automatic which was a carry over from the previous model with an added external oil cooler.