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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For It's hard to find a cheaper comfy big cruiser

Against It's hard to find an uglier big cruiser

Verdict It's a cheap, cushy barge that's nice to be in

Go for… 2.9 V6

Avoid… 2.5 TD

Ford Scorpio Saloon
  • 1. There's masses of room for five - some Scorpios even have adjustable rear seats
  • 2. Unless there's a full service history backed up by MoT certificates, you can't be sure the mileage is genuine
  • 3. Look for rust around the rear wheelarches, sills and front floorpan
  • 4. When you take a test drive, pay close attention to the condition of the gearbox, especially if it's an automatic
  • 5. Be sure to check out the brakes and suspension, which can both cause problems
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Ford Scorpio Saloon full review with expert trade views

Sure, the Scorpio looks awkward and ill conceived, but this is a very comfortable, spacious barge for only a little outlay of cash, either as a saloon or the slightly less ugly estate.

There's masses of room for five - some Scorpios even have adjustable rear seats - and all their luggage. Top models are well equipped.

The driver gets a good driving position and the controls are laid out intuitively in the conventional-looking cabin. In fact, these are among the comfiest front seats in the business - more like huge armchairs.

The light steering makes it a doddle to manoeuvre around town, but it can feel twitchy at speed. Similarly, the ride quality is fine and comfy in town, but the suspension wallows and floats at motorway speeds.

The Scorpio goes round corners safely, although it always feels a big, heavy car. If you love the sheer thrill of driving, you'll prefer a Vauxhall Omega.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Once caravanning tow car of the year. Not much good at anything else

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Choose the Cosworth-engineered 2.9-litre V6 and hang the extra expense. It's a great engine and the smooth, strong power delivery suits the car so well.

Besides, for low-mileage use, the extra fuel cost won't be that punitive - and the Cossie 2.9 will be easier to sell on. Anyway, if you're a high-mileage driver, we'd recommend you get something newer, more refined and more fuel-efficient than a Scorpio.

Don't confuse it with the earliest 2.9 V6s (January 1995 to August 1996), which had 148bhp. The Cosworth V6 (January 1995 to July 1998) is significantly better and has 208bhp.

The 145bhp 2.3 petrol is a good second choice, but steer clear of the 2.0-litre models (113bhp and 134bhp) and the noisy, gruff 2.5 TD turbodiesel.

Or favourite trim, Ultima, brings the best of everything and is the most sought-after, although Ghia is pretty well stacked. Even the entry-level Executive trim is decent.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Saloons are bangers, some demand for late Ghia X estates

James Ruppert
Used car guru

No Scorpio is that easy on fuel. Even the 2.5 TD can manage only an average of about 35mpg.

Our preferred model, the 2.9 Cosworth V6, should give about 25mpg with sensible driving, while the other petrol models hover around 30mpg.

The petrols go for 10,000 miles between services, the diesels 6000, and the Scorpio can be serviced by any decent independent garage, so it shouldn't cost too much.

Most parts are reasonably cheap, too, although there is a lot to go wrong on high-spec cars - but you probably won't have to worry about that if you choose your car wisely.

Whatver you choose, you'll be looking at a high-ish insurance bill: group 13-16 for the Cosworth V6; group 15 for the 2.3 petrol and 2.5 TD; group 12-13 for the 2.0s.

You should still be quids in, though, because the Scorpio is dead cheap to buy and that biggest running expense - depreciation - is virtually nil now.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Once caravanning tow car of the year. Not much good at anything else

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Buy on condition, rather than mileage. It's an old car now, and Scorpios used to be a target for clockers - crooks who wind back the mileage reading to make a profit - so unless there's a full service record backed by every MoT certificate, the mileage may not be genuine.

A stack of past bills is a good sign - better than stamps in a service book, which don't tell you what work has been done. Parts wear out on any 10-year-old car, so look for evidence of replacements and maintenance.

Specifically, pay close attention to the condition of the gearbox (especially autos), exhaust systems, brakes and suspension.

Look for rust around the rear arches, sills and front floorpan. The air-con is problematic and expensive to fix. Watch for knackered electrics, too.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Saloons are bangers, some demand for late Ghia X estates

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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