1997 Ford Scorpio Ultima X 2.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


If you don't mind the styling, and avoid Ford dealers, this is a fantastic bargain


Plastic door pockets on the front doors are broken.

Bulbs blown in the dashboard.

Computer and trip meter stopped working properly. Computer only works in liters, centigrade and kilometers, while the trip meter frequently returns to zero of its own accord.

General Comments:

If you don't find the styling unattractive, this is a fantastic bargain - a big luxury car that costs peanuts second-hand. The dealer who sold me mine had a Fiat Punto convertible of the same age, costing £1,000 more.

It has very comfortable seats, and lots of room both front and rear. The Ultima Ghia X has every extra known to man, except for two things. There are no cup holders, and the (enormous) boot has no anchor points to strap stuff to.

Acceleration and motorway cruising are excellent. The car is at its best on long motorway journeys, when it gives good fuel consumption: driving around town is a different story - very thirsty work.

My previous car was a Mercedes 190, which was very solid and smooth. Despite being bigger, the Ford doesn't even out the bumps on the road like a Mercedes (maybe because of the tires). Again, it's at home on the motorway.

Apart from the above trivial problems, it has been reliable so far. Unfortunately, the Ford dealers who serviced it have been poor. On the last occasion, when I phoned up on Friday afternoon and got through to the sales department (because the service department doesn't call you when your car's ready, or answer the phone), it was too late to get my car back for the weekend. The bill for changing three or four bulbs in the dashboard was about £140! Maybe that's a design fault with the car, but I had to get them to do it twice, since they missed a couple the first time. As might be expected, I switched to a local independent garage for the next service. They found that Ford had put in three spark plugs of one type, and one of another. The engine is so powerful that it ran OK, but it ran even better when it had the right four plugs.

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

Review Date: 4th April, 2005

23rd Apr 2005, 06:55

"Computer and trip meter stopped working properly".

I had this problem for about 3 months, and then my battery went. I had a new battery fitted and the problem was solved.

29th Apr 2005, 14:32

We had the same problem. We got the car just before the weather turned cold, and using the lights, window heaters made the computer go haywire. When starting the computer would zero all settings and the rev counter would flick round. We found that the battery had a dead cell. A new battery was fitted and the problems were cured.

10th Jul 2006, 14:04

With the 2.3 you should get 23 mpg around town and 28 mpg on the motorway.

8th Aug 2007, 06:03

Sadly, the Scorpio is not the only car which is not designed for bulbs that need replacing. To get at them, you need to dismantle the entire fascia, which also involves removing the steering wheel, which contains an airbag. Every time you do this, you need to reset and retest the airbag. On an old Fiat Uno, you can replace bulbs with a screwdriver in about 2 minutes.

4th Sep 2007, 13:38

There is an excellent website, fordscorpio.co.uk, where owners of the car can swap information. I recently had a problem with the ABS modulator unit, which the Ford dealer said would cost £1300 + labour to fix - probably more than the car's worth! Through the owners' website, I found a re-manufacturer, and, with the help of my local independent garage, got the part reconditioned and refitted for about £150.

The fact that there is an enthusiasts' website for the Scorpio indicates that those who know the car like it very much. Mine is now 10 years old, and as I say, not worth much on the secondhand market, but I want to keep it on the road as long as possible, for I can't see me being able to find anything as good that costs as little.

1997 Ford Scorpio Ultima Estate 2.3 from UK and Ireland


Excellent - what will I ever be able to replace it with when the time comes!?


Climate control packed up - turned out to be a broken bus (?) bar underneath the fuse box. Identified and fixed for £65 by local Ford Dealer after independent garage had tried to find the fault for 2 days (without charge thank goodness)

General Comments:

Apart from a magnet like tendency for the (225 profile) tyres to pick up nails and screws it's difficult to fault this car, although the big tyres do make it a bit crashy around town at times.

When we purchased the car it had a full service history and had racked up 123,000 motorway miles over 6 years as a company car. In 5000 more miles it has been a delight.

The 2.3 engine is more than up to the job, as long as you ignore it's thirst around town, the gearbox is fine, and the overall comfort quite excellent (as long as you avoid pot holes that is!)

All leather interior is supremely comfortable, elec adjustment, with memory!) for the heated front seats, climate control, heated front and rear screens, sunroof, 4 elec windows, cruise control, 6 cd changer plus radio and tape player, audio controls on steering wheel, alloys, etc etc.

Track down a good one of these and as long as you can put up with it's exterior look, you shouldn't be disappointed!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st November, 2004