Depending on your taste Ford actually produce some
radical looking cars nowadays. The Cougar, Focus and Puma at least show
that Ford's designers attempted to make something original of these cars.
The trial run for these was probably the Ford KA which at least gained a pretty face even if the other half of the design team forgot to do anything with the rear end.
Ford had tried radical before, with the Sierra that to start with went down like a lead balloon, that seemed to dissuade them from trying for a good while.
Step 1) Just like some Hollywood Screen Idol - Give the old has been a facelift
Step 2) Just like a petulant Pop Star - Give it a new name - but keep it recognisable by association. So the dinosaurs top of the line name Granada Scorpio became the new improved young gun, the Scorpio. So far so good, only problem was, the design team chosen to facelift the bodywork seems to have been the KA rump team, who for some reason choose to impose some fishy rendition of the KA's ugly rear on to the front of the Scorpio. Many cars are boring, many cars are ugly, but not many are as downright distasteful as the Scorpio. There is just too much Americana about its shape with its big droopy boot. Though for serious ugliness go for the hatchback for it is truly wicked!!! Get a big black saloon though and it will look like so much a hearse people will give way to you at junctions.
Anyway enough of the exterior which thankfully, I was
already fully aware of so it wasn't too much of a shock.
Lets take a look at the interior instead, as peering through the window I can see a big leather three piece inviting me inside.
Arrrghh!!! What a dash. It looks like they gave multiple shaped and coloured blocks to a one-year-old and where he chucked them they stuck. Yes its more modern than the previous Granada set up. But it's still pretty awful with an array of differently sized switches slung about everywhere. Let's press a few and see what they do. Stacker CD, Air Con, Cruise Control hmm not bad, Electric windows, mirrors, sunroof, Electric Seat adjusters, pretty good! And what's these down here, Electric Memory seats, pretty flash!! And heated too! Very flash indeed!!!
And a real godsend too as the temperatures plummet deep into negative figures.
The pretend wood is probably the least authentic you will ever see, but at least Ford haven't gone overboard and capped every thing with it. Instead as you come back from the dash the capping and trimming are remarkably high quality for a Ford. The dash surround even looks quite good just a pity what it surrounds. You really can't complain about the equipment levels though, fully loaded this car definitely is.
I'll just use up the output of a small power station
getting comfy and then we will be off.
On second thoughts what's that rev-counter up to. With a red line starting at 6250 and stretching on to 7000. And why the hell as this old bus got a sport button on the Auto-transmission.
Flip the bonnet something strange is going on here. And yes there it is writ large across the Engine the only word that can conjure up more teenager fantasies than Melinda Messenger.
The messiahs of all things measured in horsepower have cast their spell across the big Scorpio and in place of the V6 boat anchor sits a 24valve V6 that pumps out over 200 rampaging horses.
The only question now is does the Scorpio have the chassis
capable of reining it in.
Re-adjust the power sofa and head out into the unknown. At parking speeds I'm beginning to worry, the steering is finger light and the word Cosworth is being whispered in my ear by some little devil on my shoulder. I stick the transmission into E - laughingly referred to as Economy mode and hope not to embarrass my self by power sliding around the roundabouts, whilst fighting with a steering wheel that doesn't seem to be attached to anything.
Such thoughts are dispelled as soon as we move off, the steering firms up on the move and around town in E mode it behaves exactly as you would expect a 12 valve V6 Ford to do. Slurring along shifting up around 2000 rpm. The steering wheel is nicely proportioned; leather wrapped and more importantly moves the wheels adequately quickly. The Auto box creeps forward when you release the brake and the long throttle gives plenty of sensitivity to even the most leaden footed. And the suspension cushions the normal everyday potholes. Stick on the Air-Con load up the CD and even driving in traffic becomes a pleasure as you float along in you big leather arm chair, so comfortable and enabled with electrickery that even Jimmy Saville would be begging you to swap. For such a big powerful car it really is easy to punt along in dense traffic.
This is one comfy cruiser. Once your moving you can't see the exterior and you only glance at the speedo reading occasionally. So your pretty well sheltered from the evil exterior. Your elbows fit perfectly to the door arm centre rests, and you can swan along ignoring the mocking laughter of small boys, 5 series owners, Jaguar owners, Audi A6 - A8 owners, Lexus owners etc etc etc. They can laugh at the cosmetically challenged Scorpio as much as they like. But at least your Bank manager will be smiling and you will be smiling too next time you compare service prices with the German buying rent - a - crowd sheep.
Out on deserted roads where no one can see me make a fool of myself, Im smiling too. Switch into sports mode at the lights and as they change press the throttle down long and hard to the carpet.
Your head is hurled back and your shoulders pressed deep
into the seat back , as the Scorpio fires off the line with only a trace of
wheel spin. Beyond 4000 rpm, the Cosworth magic come into play, boosting power
by over a third and the rev counter sprints around toward the red line. The
auto box kicks up a gear just short of the red line and the big car charges
on again barely pausing for breath. With sport mode selected the car transforms
from lazy old yank slug to European traffic light tiger. The selections are
nicely judged, in E you just flop around changing up at the first opportunity
and need a long press to bring the engine back to life, But its perfectly suited
to the V6's torquey character, in S it holds gear more tenaciously, Revs out
to perfect changeup point, and makes excellent use of the Cosworth top end urge.
Luckily Ford have also uprated the chassis a little, the old Granddad was stable if a little Barge like and float when rushed, the Scorpio just feels that little bit sharper and better controlled whilst retaining the ride qualities that made the Granddad so endearing. The Scorpio just allows you to push that much further and later, and probably gives you more chance of gathering it all back up when that power puts the back end out of joint. 200+bhp, rear wheel drive, wet winter roads, sports mode selected, along with the power comes the responsibility, don't say you haven't been warned. To be fair the Auto has another mode, winter mode that locks off first gear to try and avoid wheelspin. But whether you will ever select it until the day you get stuck on ice is another question.
The rest of the Scorpio is much as you expect huge rear room and huge boot, it has more goodies than you can shake a stick at, it handles tidily considering where its market aspirations are. It is supremely comfortable and in this guise is genuinely quick. What more could you want from a car.
Well you probably want one that's looks
nice too, well fair enough, there is stuff out there that looks good, is this
quick, is this comfortable and has all these Toys. But I'll bet the odds of
finding it at Scorpio prices are pretty slim.
Click here for readers comments
here to access
specifications for over 30,000 UK cars.
Car information and car pictures.
Many more used car road tests.
For all Saab cars specifications and data from: