UK CAR Reviews: Ford Granada 2.9 Scorpio Hatchback

Ford Granada
Laughable Lardy Lump, or Laudable Load Lugger

The motoring cognoscenti will no doubt agree with the first part of the above statement and its not too difficult to see why. Even in its heyday the bloated inflated Sierra styling was hardly the last word in elegance, and Ford's venerable V6 lump only shoved out a fistful more horses than a good two litre four cylinder unit. On paper at least it looked old even when conceived. Inside no amount of leather and toys could rescue the Blue Peter sticky back plastic wood effect and chaotic scattering of dials and Lego land switches. 

Looking now at a old and tired F registered version, its easy too be far kinder to it. Especially as it can be bought for so little money . This particular one  sitting  squarely half way in the Bargains column almost down at nominal prices.  Its definitely an ugly thing, not  so much in its basic concept but more in execution and detail. The wheels look lost in the arches and the volumous rubbing strips which wrap the body may save a thousand scuffs but look truly awful.

Yes its lived an obviously hard life, as pointed out by the neglected dull paint , almost polished away on the front wings probably by a few too many trips through the Car wash. The drivers seat was also well squashed and in need of minor repair,  but other than those a few stone chips around the rear wheel arches, a missing front badge ( presumably vandal damage) and a little surface rot on the sunroof  trim it was remarkably solid considering its Age and an Interstellar type mileage. 

Fully loaded the Scorpio was then and heavily loaded it still is now. The equipment  list would still shame many a modern vehicle.

Leather Seats , Air Con and Electric sunroof.

Electric windows all round, Electric mirrors..

Electric Adjustable , Heated front seats, with Air Adjustable lumbar support.

Heated Front and rear screens, Headlight washers, front spot lamps.

Centre arm rests Front and rear.

Auto gear box , Cruise control.

Fuel Computer, Central locking , Alarm

Ford may have skimped on the wood and the fine detail but they sure lumped in lots of the big details by the bucket full and its to the Granddad's credit that all its toys still worked perfectly 

Whilst details like the plastic wood grate insanely, other touches like the large swing out glove box contrast with their superb practical usefulness. Pockets in doors and behind seat, add to the dash and console trays and arm rest cupboard to provide adequate storage for all those little items that end up collected in your car. The Ford radio with separate amp/equalizer look a little on the HMV side of old but still worked excellently.

Tackiest things on the Granada which really give away Ford cost cutting measures are the aforementioned Sticky back plastic, the cheap dash, the modified standard heater controls to run the Air-con and a shiny plastic and ugly steering wheel.. Worst is the lockable fuel cover which is actually flimsy plastic not metal.  Almost as bad are the doors which are seem to be flimsy metal and give a hollow clang like a FIAT pandas 

 To be fair to it this Granddad had sat neglected in a corner for a few weeks with no fuel in, so it came as little surprise when it refused to start and then sat chuffing away on a single bank until the cobwebs had blown off. After that it started perfectly. It was in need of a service mind and had a little trouble with stalling  As the gas was pressed the Auto box would load up the revs drop and if on a slight incline the Granada did not move, more gas lurched it  too fast and lifting the foot stalled it. Are very delicate (or heavy ) right foot cured it but it lead to a few anxious moments reversing in tight car parks.  Its the sort of minor fluff you would drive around in a manual, and disappeared once warmed up. 

Despite its size the range of adjustments to the drivers seat and excellent all round visibility make it easy to drive,  even my vertically challenged other half being able to find a perfect and happy driving position and was unintimidated by its size.

Ride wise it was a strange mix slightly wooden on light undulations but superb over bigger bumps. The suspension does seemed well judged, never wallowing about as you might suspect  it too.  

The Granada never claimed to be the finest handling car of its generation, but despite it slightly vague power steering,  grips and turns remarkably well for its size. It image may be jalopy but it certainly never drives like one. The only problem is that whilst the seats are remarkably comfortable they have little or no lateral support and you do tend to slide around a bit. It does encourage you to go a little less frantically though and at a more sedate pace they are fine.  No matter what pace you choose the Granada's brakes are strong and powerful  hauling you to a  fuss free stop every time,  with a well judged easily modulated balance of power against pressure stopping you hard without grabbing . 

The Ford V6 may make a good boat anchor, but on paper its difficult to see how it managed to last so long as an Automotive power unit. It was not the last word in high tech when launched and was really quite old by the time the Granada inherited it.  Low down torque and mid range is good  but the top end was outclassed by many rivals,  on the Road it still feels like it has plenty of urge in a somewhat  noisy bombastic manner although the figures never reflect the seat of the pants feeling. For most of us it has adequate go just where we need it.

Being the ultra practical hatch back version this one offers some real versatility in the carrying compartment. My gut feeling when I opened the hatch is that the seats up boot is some what smaller than the saloons. Seats down it opens up into a truly mammoth space that I would be hard pressed to fill. The only disappointment was that although the seats backs split fold the base doesn't , but its a minor compliant  that I would not lose sleep over. Nice touches in the rear are head restraint that tuck into the seat backs so you don't have to take them off either to fold the seats or see out the back.

I don't normally find on board  computers either interesting or useful. Fords rendition of one here is fairly limited in functionality but does boost the useful Point, Average and Remaining Range figures. It did show up though that pussy footing about on very light throttle around  B roads gives no real economy advantages over more liberal throttle applications,  Low to Mid teens is what you get at Accelerating on anything up to two thirds throttle. Better just to get to 30 - 40 mph fairly swiftly and then cruise along rather than crawl slowly to that speed. A heavy right foot is rewarded by single figure MPG returns during acceleration.  Without the aide of the computer I would have said the Auto box slips down a little to easily but the computer confirmed the truth that lugging in the high ratio used no less fuel than easing along in the intermediate ratio. 

Changes from the Auto box are smooth under normal conditions but they do get slightly abrupt under heavy acceleration, Kick down response though is fine and on the move your never left waiting for power to arrive  even if it does come with a fair old Rev screaming wallop. The only real time the Autobox gets caught out is braking down into slow 90 degree turns and then attempting to accelerate hard out as it stays in top and then  pauses momentarily before it has to double shift before taking up drive again, a smoother driving style fixs that problem, but it can hunt a fair bit around tight switch back country lanes. To be fair with only 3 ratios and no mode switches the torque converter is always going to have to work hard to cover the gaps, manual shifting can improve the situation a little but most of the time hinders more than it helps so you dont bother..  

In its natural motorway habitat fuel and gear ratio worries fade away.  Cruising above 70 still returns a fairly remarkable 30+ mpg, and its not until your cruising above 85 that it slips back below 30mpg. At speed the Granada is a relaxed and able cruiser. Stability is excellent  and you can switch in the simple but effective cruise control to allow you than too sit back and relax. This is the first time I've used cruise control and I have to say that despite my skepticism I was won over by it. It would be a boon on long trips able as it is to finely control the Throttle far better than I could and of course helping to stop that inbuilt complacent ness that comes from long motorway stints where your speed grows ever larger as the trip progresses.   In this environment its difficult to find fault with the Granada as it eats up the miles in total relaxed comfort.

Fords Granada/Scorpio range  has to be the most car you can buy for a little money in the used sector. Long model life and healthy sales mean there are lots out there to suit all pockets. When you consider how many people buy guzzling  4*4's that never go off road in the name carrying capacity, seating and strength, then you cant help thinking that many would be better off with a nice one of these, it will ride better carry just as much, tow just as well , go faster and be far cheaper to run/repair.  If you want a lot of car but don't see the need to invest lots of capital in its purchase and are not too concerned about image, you cant go far wrong Fords big bus  

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