So addictive that I bought another one!
Water pump broke at 93000km, NZ$800 from Ford. Two weeks later cooling hoses burst, Ford refused to accept responsibility, NZ$300 to replace.
Ford "claimed" that the front sway bar links were broken when I foolishly took it there for a Warranty of Fitness, $500 to replace, 92000km.
Alternator packed in, 150000km, replaced with custom built part adapted from a Ford Explorer, NZ$1200 including new battery.
8 months later that packed in (just this month); after much arguing the auto electrician accepted responsibility and replaced it. The moral to this story is to import the genuine Ford parts from America, which is also a lot cheaper than NZ parts, provided you can wait for them to be couriered over.
Transmission is starting to feel tired at 150000 km, but still going for ordinary driving.
Electrics failed mysteriously and one function at a time at around 130000km. This turned out to be the rubber seals around the Engine Control Unit failing and letting water into the computer. NZ$180 to fix, would have done myself if I had known what the problem was.
All bulbs went around the 9th year, easy to fix.
At the current mileage, the driver's seat is only a little bit worn.
This car represents serious good value in New Zealand. I thought it was cheap in 1998 at $30,000, but the prices these days are impossibly low thanks to Japanese imports.
In my opinion this car has no competition, as everything that comes close to it is at least twice the price. The Australian Fairmont Ghia and Holden Calais are no comparison to it, as it is lighter and more powerful than them, and therefore much faster and more economical by about 5MPG. The interior is up there with BMWs and Mercedes, apart from a lack of woodgrain, which is a minor detail that only slightly lessens the sumptuousness of the interior.
All my friends have commented on the pillowy soft ride, and it's my vehicle of choice for long trips. Apart from a lack of upper back support, the seating position is perfect for my 5'11" frame.
This is a great looking car, but that's a sensitive topic with some people who think that there is nothing uglier. I put it down to unsophisticated tastes.
In 2005 I happened to see one for auction fresh in from Japan. It had done 87000km and was in good condition, as you would expect from such a low mileage vehicle. It was a beautiful shade of blue, not that there was anything wrong with the condition of my Toreador Red paint job. I sat in on the auction, not intending to buy, but when the top bid was just NZ$5200, I couldn't resist and put it on Visa.
It was an impulse buy, and I discovered later some minor faults such as a (previously disguised) tobacco smell, broken CD player, and small dent on the lower downward facing part of the curvaceous rear door. For that price it was an absolute steal, so it didn't really matter to me.
These cars are great to drive, or just be in, or even just to look at gleaming in the driveway, but they have Jaguar-esque repair bills and are shockers to work on, due to the tightly crammed engine bay. When the alternator broke, the sub chassis had to be removed to get at it, hence the huge bill for that.
This is a fantastic car to own, provided you can do most repairs yourself, and are willing to accept substitutes. When the transmission does pack in, if I still own it then, I will probably replace it with a 5 speed manual. The 3 speed overdrive auto is the only thing that holds it back from being a top performer, with aerodynamics that ensure strong acceleration from the lusty V6 all the way to 180.
I had no problems for 7 years with the first car, so if you are considering buying one, look for a 2000 model or newer. That isn't an option in NZ, but if you are buying here, make sure you get it from the auction! At a dealer, the blue one I bought would have been NZ$11000+.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th March, 2006