1997 Ford Scorpio Ultima 2.3 petrol from UK and Ireland
If only it was better looking
Mostly electronic niggles were the main pain, temperature and fuel gauge were inaccurate, had to get an auto-electrician to sort it out. Electric mirrors were slow to move, and the windows later in life.
Mechanically, brakes, suspension, exhaust and all the usual stuff was replaced at MOT's over the time I had the car on the road.
Bodywork there was cosmetic rust around the arches, but I kept on top of it preventing it from getting worse.
Servicing was carried out to the letter, the car was looked after as much as possible. Engine and transmission were pretty solid and rarely gave any trouble, there was a slight coolant leak though, replaced pipe and that was sorted.
Well, I was one of those people that slated this cars looks when it came out in the mid 1990's. It is pretty ugly, and oddly enough a lot of people call it stylish as well, but they must be being sarcastic. Mind you, a lot of cars are ugly now, so it does not look too out of place.
My very late R registered 1997 model is the face lifted version, which is an improvement. They moved the Ford badge into the middle grille and darkened the bug eye headlights. Still ugly, but improved enough to make me buy it. The car from the side and back however is OK looking, typical of most executive cars from this era. Best suited in darker colours. Alloy wheels are nice.
Inside is absolutely gorgeous and where this car shines. Ultima is top spec, electric everything and the black leather seats are among the most comfortable I ever sat on, even better than my previous Vauxhall Omega, which had leather also. The Ford is as good in all areas, with acres of space.
The 2.3 petrol is no racing car, but will get you were you want to go. Auto box acceleration is lethargic, and only manages 30 MPG if you drive very slow. 27 MPG is more likely with traffic. Awful by today's standard, but typical of bigger petrol cars back in the day. Would have loved the bigger 2.9i 6 cylinder models, they do roughly the same economy with better performance. Handling is OK for the car's size.
It is essentially kept as a second car now for me, when I got it years ago for a very nice price I was already planning on garaging it for summer use only, but have put considerable mileage on it. It has been relatively inexpensive to repair, if you know an ex Ford mechanic to help you out and source parts. I believe the biggest problem with this car was its looks and the depreciation back in the day, and general higher running costs killed it off. But had this car been better looking, and a bit more reliable it may have been a genuine contender to the German brands in the executive market. Its main rival really was the Vauxhall Omega though, which as my previous car I can tell you there is little in it between them, just depends what you prefer.
Not many left on the road; advice to anyone buying one is obviously find a looked after one, and you'll have a nice comfortable car for cruising in. Go for the bigger engines and better specifications. Mine is sitting in my garage now off the road, can't wait for next summer, will easily pass its MOT and be back on the road!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th November, 2020