1995 Ford Scorpio GXL 2.9i 12V from Norway


Very pretty car that's a bit costly to run


Electronic issues never solved.


Automatic gearbox.

Leaky manifold gasket.

Rear wheel bearing and driveshaft.

Several sets of front brake discs.

One set of rear discs.

A few bushings in the undercarriage.


General Comments:

From the day I got it, the car had electronic issues; issues that got worse as the years went by. Despite spending 10 days in total at the dealer, the source was never discovered. Power would vary greatly, which also affected the gearbox, cruise control was inconsistent in every way imaginable, climate control would lead its own life and ignoring the request for a certain temperature, heated seats could get anything from uncomfortably hot to lukewarm. In the end, the heater fan would only blow when it felt like it, be it in automatic or manual mode, making the car impractical for daily use in our northern climate, forcing a sale.

Alternator was gone when I bought it, a costly repair, but I was aware of this.

Automatic gearbox was also gone when I bought it, which I didn't know about. Repair was the eqv. of 4,000 Euros back in 1999. Ouch! To avoid these failures, it makes sense to change the oil and filter every 25,000 miles and also lock it in 3rd (or even 2nd in extreme cases) when going uphill and the car fails to stay locked in top (or 3rd) gear. Failing to lock it in a lower gear will make the 'box go in and out of lock, greatly increasing wear.

The inlet manifold developed a minor leak and required new seals. Not cheap, either.

A rear wheel bearing failed completely, destroying the driveshaft with it. About 1,000 Euro to fix.

I think I replaced 6 sets of front brake discs. The problem is the design; they should be glued to the axle because they are only held in place by the wheel and wheel nuts. If not glued, they will come partly unstuck during wheel changes, allowing dirt to enter between the flange and disc, warping it. In addition to warping problems, they also tend to wear unevenly, causing a vibrating sensation similar to that of warped discs.

One set of rear discs were also required. Both front and rear discs had actually rusted so badly after just 4 years on the road that the circumference fell apart.

Rear brake calipers are sensitive - if you do not pull the handbrake every time you park the car, you can expect the calipers to get stuck within a couple of years. Repair is not cheap.

A few bushings were replaced over the years in the undercarriage, but nothing worth complaining about.

The instruments had been replaced before I got the car, apparently a weak item.

The suspension was fine on the motorway, but horrible over speed bumps. The worst was going over really broken roads at a walking pace, when the car would bounce/move sideways instead of back-forth, making for a very uncomfortable ride as passengers where shaken sideways into the doors.

Ground clearance was sportcar low, a problem over speed bumps and other bad roads. This didn't seem to be the case with later models.

Enough about the complaints. This was the first of the frog face models, which in my opinion is one of the best looking cars ever made. Ever since I first saw a picture of one on the back of a bus late in 1994, I wanted one. But they were very pricey at first. However, my particular car had dropped from the eqv. of 75,000 Euro to less than 19,000 Euro in just 4 years and 154,000 km. How great that most people found these cars ugly!

The interior held up very well save for the outer edge of the rear seat, where the material around the pinstriping wore through where trouser bottoms had scraped over every time anybody went into the car for a drive. Apart from this minor imperfection, the interior looked virtually brand new after 245,000 km (over 150,000 miles).

The seats are comfy, but my lower spec car lacked the ability to adjust the angle of the seat, something I missed a little as I like to have the seat high up front and low in the back. Also, a bit more lumbar support for the lower back would have been nice on longer drives. Still, the seats are huge and well padded and excellent for most people. Rear seats are likewise very good, but only for two adults. The person forced to sit in the middle of the back seat won't be all that comfortable, and there is no headrest or proper seatbelt for this "emergency" seat.

The engine, when it ran like it should, had good power and a satisfying sound under load while being almost silent during cruising. Fuel consumption varied from the best of 8.3 litre / 100 km to a worst of 17.5 litres / 100 km. Typical consumption in mixed driving (mostly town and suburban) was around 1.35 litre / 100 km.

Being of pushrod design, there are no cambelts to replace. Also, hydraulic adjustment means you can ignore the valves.

The gearbox, once the new unit was in pace, was wonderful. It would change down from 4th to 2nd gear instantly, without delay or the annoying visit to 3rd that is so common for automatic boxes. Being of the old design, it had no settings available (sport, economy, winter) - the only option was 2nd gear starts during winter driving if grip was poor.

I would have liked a little shorter gearing overall, because the car was totally unable to pull maximum revs in top gear. Acceleration and pulling power and top speed would all have improved with shorter gearing.

It also shifted too early into 3rd gear; 2nd gear came at 22 kph at the earliest, with 3rd following shortly at 27 kph. This lead to a lot of slurring. I usually locked the box in 2nd gear during tow driving to reduce the slurring and the amount of gearchanges.

4th gear came at an indicated 70 kph, at which point it would also lock up (like a manual) if the load was light. Set in 3rd gear, it would lock up at the same speed. It would have been better to have this lock-up at different speeds because if you were stuck in slow moving traffic, you would risk the box going in and out of lock constantly regardless of gear unless you wanted to scream away in 2nd gear.

Interestingly, the rev counter gave green light to 6300 rpm, whereas the rev limiter cut in at 5700 rpm.

The overall build quality on my car was magnificent, and only the electronic issues made me sell it in the end. I replaced it with a low-mileage 1997 2.3, which didn't seem equally well built; more interior noise, noise from the electric windows when moving up or down and the odd rattle from the interior. You can read about it in the 1997 section - if you're not bored stiff already.

Overall, this car suits me better than any other car to the point that I'm looking for a well equipped, low-mileage Scorpio to replace my much newer Mondeo.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 17th May, 2010

1995 Ford Scorpio Ultima 2.9i 12v from UK and Ireland


Phenomenal. Mind blowing


Rear Brake Discs replaced as pads had not been replaced by previous owner.

Apart from that, just routine service items.

I understand that certain Scorpio Ultima owners find lots of electrical faults. My advice is don't go fiddling with the OBD system, as you will create and then 'find' problems which probably aren't there in the first place.

Just drive the car!! Service it regularly, and enjoy.

General Comments:

This has to be the most luxurious car on the road.

It gets admiring glances wherever I go.

When it was first introduced the styling was considered weird, but now, in 2006 it fits in very well indeed.

Where else can you buy a £33.000 car for under £1000.

The car has every conceivable extra with self dimming interior mirror, A/C, wing mirror dip on reverse, electric heated seats with memory positioning, floorwell lighting and under door lighting to illuminate the pavement.

Interior is the most comfortable and impressive I have ever seen. Incredible!! Go get one"!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th May, 2006

3rd May 2007, 17:19

How does the Scorpio compare to the Volvo 940?

4th May 2007, 02:40

I think that you will find both cars very different. The Ford will have more toys and be cheaper to run, but the Volvo will be MUCH more solid and safe - also likely to last longer. YOu should really compare the bigger engined Scorpio with the Volvo 960 rather than 940 (960 is plusher with bigger engine and sleeker design). The Volvo is square in appearance, but the Ford is more 'unique' - not everyone will like the look of either. To sum up, if you want a keeper, or safety is of concern, buy the Volvo. If you want a lot of metal or gadgets for your money for the short term, buy the Ford.

8th May 2007, 01:26

I've had both the Volvo 940, and the Volvo 960.

Buy the 940. The 960 has nothing going for it that the 940 won't do. As for interiors, the Ford is AWESOME, and the Volvo 'plastics' are just outdated.

I'd have another Volvo as they are hard wearing, and as tow cars, they rule, but for a comfortable ride, this car has to be the best buy I've ever made.