Are they as unreliable as even this site suggests?
In my quest to find maximum front leg room and comfort the one I experienced recently would almost put my fathers Lexus LS 400 to shame, though, granted, without the quality and inherent reliabilty! Views of real owners most appreciated.
I own a 1994 Ford Granada Scorpio, pre-hideous-facelift. Great car, all the toys, leather, air con, cruise, heated seats, electric seats / windows / mirros / sunroof etc etc. Very cheap to run, might not be as reliable as a lexus, but a hell of a lot cheaper to fix. IF you do decide to get one I get all my spares from breakers place in south manchester, www.ford-spares.co.uk, great prices and gauranteed for a couple of months.
Very popular as cabs around here, which is probably positive (and a warning to watch out for v. high mileage).
I had both pre and post facelift ones on hire for a few months each when they were new (2-12k miles). The 2 litre was fine but underpowered hence it got overworked. The 2.9 24V 'Cosworth' was much better to drive, and a secondhand example should have spent much less time with the pedal pressed hard into the floor.
We run the site for the Scorpio at www.fordscorpio.co.uk and a quick visit will see that they have their quirks and do not respond well to poor maintenance which is likely to be common as very little knowledge about them is known in the trade - they only produced 96,000 and they are a complicated vehicle.
However they are a cheap purchase - a good 24V (the best of the bunch) on an N or P with 100k can be found for around £3500 - compare that to your BMW or Merc. So any problems can be fixed within a reasonable budget. New autoboxes are £700 from Ford if needed although the 24V seems better on boxes than the 2.0 or 2.3.
Watch out for any wiring loom damage or a missing battery cover as these are very vulnerable and will cause all sorts of problems if they corrode (usally misdiagnosed even my the FMD at your cost).
However they are comfortable long distance tourers with all the gadgets and if looked after they will last and last. Rustproofing was good and it's hard to find a rusty one.
The 24V and the 2.3 have similar fuel economy if driven equally and the 24V has vastly superior performance with it's Variable Inlet System. It also has the highest torque figure of any naturally aspirated production 3 litre so makes for relaxed high speed cruising.
The benefit of the 2.3 is that it will be cheaper to repair the engine if it goes wrong, whereas the 24V was built for Ford by Cosworth using hi spec parts (s**ium valves, forged pistons and filletted and balanced crank).
As a drivers car the 24V takes a lot of beating but each to their own and some may prefer the 2.3 - whichever you choose they are great cars and value for money.
I had the misfortune to own a 1993 2.0 DOHC Auto GLX. It had a catalogue of problems:
Faulty fusebox cost £170 to fix
Auto Gearbox cost £850 to fix
There was a water leak in the head lining. (Sunroof draintubes were clear)
Sunroof mechanism seized.
The factory had actually missed painting the roof where the tailgate hinges were.
Rear wheelarches were starting to rust, car was, at the time, 5 years old.
Catalytic converter monolith was powdering and blocking the next silencer therfore no performance. That was the last straw. I part exchanged it at a vauxhall dealer who gave me a price on it without roadtesting it.
I bought the car thinking that it would be fairly problem free and cheap to run.
It turned out to be a car that stressed me out due to ongoing problems, never knowing when the auto box was going to let go again. Also there was the worry of timing chains breaking. The only good thing was that it was reasonably economical and roomy.