The Probe should have been the right answer for the sport-coupe import market dominated by Honda Prelude, Toyota Celica, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Nissan SX. But it couldn't match their pace.
Designed and engineered together with Mazda, the car was built on the Japanese G-platform. While it was longer and wider than its predecessor, it was lighter by 125 lbs (56 kg). The Ford customers were afraid that that would be the future for the Mustang and blamed the carmaker for ditching the pony-car. The second generation of the Probe only lasted three years before Ford axed it from the assembly line.
The sleek, aerodynamic lines of the vehicle were fit for a sporty coupe. Its pop-up headlights and slim light bars for turn-signals in the bumper and the standard fog-lights should have made the car more appealing to the market. A raked windshield, short roof, and sloped back made the greenhouse aerodynamic.
Mimi Vandermolen, the first female designer to become a design executive for small cars, made the interior layout. The instrument cluster featured six dials, and that confused the customers. On the center stack, she put the stereo and the knobs for the climate control unit. It was difficult to seat two adults in the back.
The car was available with a choice of two Mazda engines: a 2.0-liter inline-four and a 2.5-liter V6. For the European market, both were mated to a standard 5-speed manual, while for the U.S. market, a 4-speed automatic was preferred. But the Ford fans were unsatisfied with a sporty, front-wheel-drive car, and the Europeans had more options such as the Opel Calibra or Volkswagen Corrado.