17 November 1995



THE Ford Scorpio estate is something of a frog that turns into a prince.

Fortunately you just need to sit in the driving seat rather than kiss it to bring about this metamorphosis. Seated there, with the radiator grills controversial amphibian grin out of view, the Scorpio becomes quite a handsome beast.

Farmers Weeklys test car was the mid-range Ghia, powered by a 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine. Smooth and refined on the motorway, it was a touch ponderous on lesser roads with much clutch and gear work needed to bring it to life. Despite the cars size, it was easy to both park and handle.

The interior is attractive and well finished but its soft carpeting didnt take too well to a light mudding and resisted all attempts to brush it off. On the farm, a couple of rubber mats are a necessity.

For the driver there are any amount of comfort adjustments to be made to seat position and steering wheel, but the column stalk for the remote radio controls needs further thought. Mixing radio and indicator stalks is too easy, and can lead to all sorts of confusion.

The verdict: While the Scorpio is undoubtedly a comfortable, spacious and practical car, I found it less than exciting. If I was going to buy a Ford estate and fuel consumption was not a priority, I would find an extra £700 and opt for the Mondeo V6 Ghia. It retains much of the Scorpios practicality but scores higher on driveability and good looks. After all, why choose a frog when a prince is already available?

&#8226 Test Model: Ford Scorpio Estate Ghia TD.

&#8226 Price: £20,350.

&#8226 Engine: 2.5-litre turbo-charged diesel.

&#8226 Top Speed: 116mph.

&#8226 0-60mph: 11.4secs.

&#8226 Test fuel consumption: 33.6mph.

&#8226 Insurance group: 15.

Critics panned the Scorpios radical looks at its launch. But sales speak louder than words and a brief glance around the nations roads confirms Fords flagship still has many admirers.