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