Having just come back from the States where we lived for 2 years, I was looking for a cheap but high spec car. I remembered the Scorpio when they first came out and they were ugly, but it's amazing what 2 years looking at Olds, Buicks and Caddys can do to you as I actually love the shape. I might experiment with a boot spoiler to see if that improves it's backend, but the boot is absolutely cavernous and so I can live with it's bustle shape - I find it no worse than the Omega anyway.
Well I had 5 grand to spend and after looking at very old Mercedes and overpriced BMWs, I came across my 24v Ultima. It was only when I lifted the bonnet that I realised it was a Cosworth engine - no external badges give this away but the engine cover has it resplendantly announced in Silver letters. Actually only the head is Costworth, but what a head! Quad cams chain driven with hydraulic tappets and it really makes a difference from 4000 rpm and up.
Performance is excellent in Sport mode and my favorite trick is holding 70mph on the motorway and flick the Overdrive switch off when the traffic starts to clear. Then floor it and just sit there and grin. It's an amazing feeling with the kick that it gives you up to the ton.
However I have one piece of advice, switch the computer out of mpg mode when you do this (set it on something static like external temperature) as it has a habit of disappearing into single digits. This car is not economical - even though the auto box has an E setting - HA! It's not bad on a steady motorway cruise where at 75-80 it will return just on 30 mpg - but short journeys or spirited driving brings it down into the low 20s.
Comfort has got to be the best available for the price. Leather all round with electric driver's seat with memory, air conditioning and more courtesy lights than you can imagine - it lights up the footwells all round and each door has a downward light to illuminate the pavement/kerb and any puddles you just happen to have found.
I cannot think of anything that Ford have not added into this vehicle - the list is amazing. Just think, for less that 5 grand I picked up an 85k mile luxury tourer with more than adequate power, a full Ford Service History, leather, A/C with temperature control for passenger/driver, switchable auto box, ABS, traction control, heated screen, auto dipping mirror, passenger side mirror automatically shows the kerb when reversing, speed variable power steering with a wheel that adjusts for rake and height, electric windows with one touch on every window, back seats that tip for extra boot space, top of the line stereo with steering wheel controls and 6 CD changer, cruise control and multi function computer. AND ALL THIS FOR LESS THAN 5 GRAND. I still can't believe it. The nearest Merc to this was priced at 12 grand for a 1995 and the garage wanted 10 grand for a beemer of the same vintage, and neither of them came close on equipment.
Would I buy another?