I bought the car for my better half in Oct 05 as an engagement present, and to replace her battered Nissan Micra which she parked in a ditch - on its roof!!
The car is amazing to look at, and a giggle to drive.
If you can find a good one, the they are a good second hand buy, but all that follows is bad news...
The engine, a two-and-a-half litre V6, sound amazingly impressive - until you look at the power figure.
164 ponies to shift all that weight, its pathetic.
We once managed a loud and screaming 130mph, with the whole car shaking itself to bits.
Acceleration from 50-70mph is good, but 0-60mph is pathetic.
We were once beaten away from the lights by a 2.0litre diesel Mercades!
I once raced her on my Aprilia RS125 and slaughtered the car.
Enough about performance. Lets look at the interior. Looks nice and comfy, nicely shaped leather seats, moulded dash and door panels. Looks very pretty. But if you're more than two feet tall, forget it. Theres no room for your legs in the front, no room at all in the back, rendering them COMPLETELY useless. You will be constantly be banging your right elbow on the door, and the window switches are quite awkward to use. The seats, although looking pretty, are pants, you go round a bend, and you slide straight into the next seat, and adjusting them is nigh on impossible.
The plastics used are cheap and tatty, and is a rather nasty Grey colour.
If you hit even the tiniest pebble in the road, the glove box door will slam down on your passenger's legs unless it is locked, and the lock on it itself is useless. It can be opened with a longish fingernail!
Now the drive.
The ride is harsh, and the understeer is abysmal. The handling is OK in the dry, but the slightes bit of moisture, forget it.
Try to pull away quickly, and you will be rewarded with major wheel spin, extreme torque-steer and the front of the car bouncing like mad, shaking all of your teeth out, and probably making you whack your head on the roof or door frame in the process.
Park up less than ten feet away from something, you will have to climb out of the sunroof as the doors are far too big.
The gear change is long and sloppy, with the clutch biting very high (this is a problem on a NEW clutch).
And finally, if you want to go on a long trip, take plenty of petrol money and make sure that there are plenty of fill stations along the way. Whoever got more than 25mpg out of one of these should be awarded a Nobel prize.
Overall, it is a very pretty looking car, decent value for money and is actually quite practical for a single person or a couple. Insurance isn't as high as you would expect (my better half is 20, and she got insured with one years no claims for just over 1k)
The boot is massive, but if you have to have someone hold it up for you, whats the point? we looked at over ten Probes, and all of them had the same problem with the tailgate risers. And don't bother going to Ford to get replacements. If they actually bother with you in the first place, you will pay a HUGE price for them, wait a month of Sundays for them to arrive, and the pack up six months down the line again.
It is quite a good car, but it has a lot of flaws. If you can find a good one, you'll be laughing. It is well equipped, with electric everything, cruise, leather, air con (albeit knackered) and all the other usual mod cons.
We have just traded the car in for a Cosworth Scorpio, so watch this space for a review of that!