This was not the sort of car I was looking for, I find auto boxes very stodgy, but for the equivalent of £400, with a service history 'till 50K I got a very solid car indeed.
This is certainly not the worst auto box I've tried, but with only 2.0 litres and a very heavy car, performance is limited. Unfortunately it seems the engine and gearbox combine to give the worst performance at motorway speeds i.e. 70 to 80 mph. If speed is taken to a cruise at 95 - 100 the car feels more responsive, but with speed cameras everywhere, I am not happy to do this.
Comfort is very good, but the transmission tunnel intrudes to far into the footwell and seems to slightly twist the driver, there being nowhere to put the redundant left peg. Rear room is massive, I have 2 colleagues of 6'5" and they were able to sit in tandem with the rear passenger still with plenty of legroom. This, however, seems to be at the expense of boot space, which always needs the parcel shelf removed for family trips, and when my wife is in a more of a " kitchen sink " mood, the roofrack is planted on. Sound insulation is excellent tho' and even a fully laden rack does not cause too much noise nuisance.
Economy is not too clever, low 20's round town, about 30 on a run. Because of this I sold it after 6 months of Summer trips, but then after another 6 months bought back the exact same car, realising it was a quality bit of kit. During this time I had a drive of a 2.8 and realised that this was the engine for which the vehicle was designed, I could not support the even worse consumption on one of those though. The chap I sold it to changed to an Escort when I bought it back, but I have seen him at the wheel of a 2.0 L manual Granada recently and I believe he has come to the same conclusion as myself.
These cars are of a much better quality than Fords' usual fayre, and incredibly cheap to buy. Twice it has been dented by other drivers and I have been able to pop the dents out without too much trouble or evidence of the damage.
The Ghia has electric windows, mirrors, power steering, anti-lock braking, but only a windup sunroof (which if it leaks is probably only a blocked rain channel, mine was). Another colleague has the Ghia X, but I think the extra buttons look a bit tacky, and are not of much use anyway. My interior is very, very clean and creates a cosseting sensation when getting in.
Insurance, group 12, is a bit steep for such poorly performance.
To sum up, although the exterior lacks streetcred, the comfort, interior space and quality of drive makes these absolute bargains and as long as finances, allow I'll keep this old slug and the little extra spent on petrol is easily saved in repair costs, and when you need one, there are loads in breakers.