As far as image goes, some self-appointed car critics don't seem to like it. It's Granada heritage doesn't help this either, particularly when it's referred to as a 'Granny', which is most annoying. But aside from those few, most of my peers are impressed by the sheer size and extravagance of the thing. I bought the car partly to fit the image requirements of my job, and this it achieves well.
This car is extremely well equipped, and has just about everything, ABS, Self-levelling suspension, PAS, airbag, seat belt pretensioners, air con, cruise control, auto gearbox, fuel computer, alarm/immobiliser, electric boot catch, remote stereo controls, CD changer, dual zone climate control, electric memory drivers seat, heated front and rear screens, electric windows with global closing, etc.
Unlike it's predecessor the Granada Scorpio (which I owned a few years ago) I was surprised to find that it has no electric passenger seat or electric rear seats! In addition the seats aren't heated. Some cost cutting here I think.
Ride quality is extremely good, engine and gearbox silent and smooth, and very little road noise. Apparently Ford spent a fortune on R&D to make this car uber-smooth. In comparison to the older model, this car handles better, although is not quite as smooth over bumps and potholes, but I'm being super critical here, it is still excellent, and just as smooth as a 7 series beemer.
Interior space is vast, huge boot big enough to sleep in (this is the estate). Plenty of rear space and legroom, enough to read a newspaper in comfort. Much more spacious in the rear seats than my Volvo estate. And the seats are cushy too.
Performance is OK, 145bhp is not spectacular these days, but it is still a fairly quick car and out-powers the average family tin box or reps car. The auto box is very smooth and pleasing too. (If you want mega-power buy the 2.9 24v Cosworth, which does of course drink even more fuel). More importantly for this type of car it will cruise at speed on the motorway in near silence. Although it handles well in the corners and gets around country roads surprisingly well it is still a big lumbering cruiser and was never meant to burn off hot hatches around town.
Overall this is a lot of car for not much money and despite bad press a tidy example still looks an expensive car. My advice would be to buy a tidy one, fix any little defects, valet it, polish it, service it, and you'll end up with a very nice motor indeed.