For the first time since the Tempo / Topaz was introduced in 1984, FoMoCo took a break from the yearly updates that had been going on with the cars. 1989 was a virtual carry over from the 1988 model year.
The new face of the Tempo / Topaz was selling like hotcakes. The Ford Tempo (not counting the Mercury Topaz) was the #6 best selling vehicle in the US for 1989.
The biggest news for 1989 was the late in the year availability of option # 417, the Sports Appearance Package. This package consisted of a bolt on cladding that was affixed to the lower portions of the front bumper, side sills, and the rear bumper. The package was only offered on the Tempo GLS 4-door and available in just three colors; Black, Oxford White, or Medium Red. When Black or Oxford White was selected, the bodyside molding and lower portions of the car (which were typically two tone on the GLS) were all painted the main body color. The insert in the body side molding was painted Bright Red. On cars that were painted Medium Red, not only were the body side moldings and lower portions painted Medium Red, but the insert in the bodyside molding was also painted Medium Red. Medium Red GLS models with the Sport Appearance Package were a forerunner to the monochromatic look that would debut a few years later.
On All Wheel Drive models, new All Wheel Drive decals were added in mid-year 1989 to the rear portion of the front fenders just above the body side moldings.
On the inside, the passenger assist handles that were found on the Tempo GLS (4-door), Tempo LX, Tempo AWD, Topaz LS, and Topaz LTS were moved from the door panels to their original location on the roof just above the door openings. There was no passenger assist handle above the driver?s door, just above the three other doors.
One interior revision happened during the middle of the 1989 model year. The 4-way adjustable head restraints that were found on the Tempo GLS, Tempo LX, Tempo AWD, Topaz XR5, Topaz LTS, and Topaz LS were dropped from the package content and replaced with the 2-way adjustable head restraints found on the lesser models.
Engine choices for this year are the 2.3L HSC and the 2.3L HSO engine equipped with the Mutli-Port Fuel Injection (MPFI) system that featured one fuel injector for each cylinder. Control of this system was again handled by the EEC-IV computer controls installed on each vehicle. The 2.3L HSC produced 98 HP @ 4400 rpm and 124 lb-ft of torque @ 2200 rpm. The 2.3L HSO engine produced 100 HP @ 4400 rpm, while torque is at 130 lb-ft @ 2600 rpm.
Final drive ratios on the MTX-III continue to be 3.33:1 for HSC engines, and 3.73:1 for HSO engines. The final drive for all FLC equipped cars (both HSC and HSO) is increased to 3.26:1. The final drive for the AWD cars remains unchanged at 3.07:1.
AWD continues to be an option on both the Tempo and Topaz. Cars that came with AWD were always equipped with the 2.3L HSO engine mated to the FLC 3-speed automatic.
Ride & Handling
Suspensions remained unchanged for the 1989 model year. The base suspension was found on the Tempo L, Tempo GL, Topaz L and Topaz GS. All other models received the upgraded Sport/Touring suspension. The Sport/Touring suspension featured stiffer springs, revised strut calibration, 14? aluminum or polycast rims, and a thicker front ant-roll bar.
1988 Ford Tempo
1988 Mercury Topaz
Available Tempo Sport Appearance Package
Available All Wheel Drive
Driver-oriented Instrument Panel
All Wheel Drive
2.3L HSO Engine