The KA Laser
had already extablished a reputation for being a worthy successor for the Escort, the quality underpinning the little car in line with the typically high Mazda
For the KB facelift, the Laser linup offered five models in three and five door hatchback configurations.
There were two engine choices, a 1.3 liter and 1.5 liter, and a choice of four or five speed manual transmissions and a three speed auto. The 1.3 liter engine was available in the three door L or GL models, while the bigger 1.5 was reserved for the 5 door GL and Ghia models, or the three door Sport.
Backing up the Laser was the Meteor - a rather conventional 3-box sedan available in three versions - and all fitted with the larger 1.5 liter engine. The model designations were Meteor GL, Ghia and Ghia HP (High Performance), and the 4 speed manual transmission was not available.
The Laser/Meteor range was a pleasantly straight forward product which had established itself as a number one in the small car market by the end of 1982
, with sales in excess of 50,000. Meteor backed this performance right from its introduction in March 1983
The Meteor update included involved the introduction of new "European" style seating, improved brakes and refinements in the areas of road holding and ride. The engine also met with improvements with the boost of electronic ignition and a more efficient alternator, improvements which helped the little car produce even better economy and performance.
Other changes to engine mounts and exhaust systems resulted in a quieter car all round, and the Aussie made springs and rerated shock absorbers produced a better ride and road holding characteristics.
As for the Laser, changes from KA to KB included a raft of cosmetic improvements which included such things as a new aerodynamic sloping nose incorporating a new design grille, flush fitting headlights, different bumpers and front apron air intakes as well as the
mechanical changes implemented with the Meteor.
Driving dynamics and performance for both the Laser and Meteor were excellent, both the 1.3 and 1.5 engines proving to be responsive. The twin carburetor Sport and Ghia High Performance models were a fun drive, adding a little zest to the range. The handling was light and responsive with minimal torque steering from the front drive system, and you could even option power steering.
Both Laser and Meteor may have been badge-engineered versions, but they did give Ford the most competitive and sought after small cars on the market.