Looking for a big car on a small budget? Then you’ll probably already know where to look first. Ford’s Granada offers a lot of car for the money – no question if you are looking for cheap used cars. Nor is there any lack of choice. The Granada was replaced by the questionably styled Scorpio. In its heyday, however, a trip along Britain’s motorways could easily have convinced you that the blue oval’s flagship was Britain’s best selling car. Back in the late Eighties and early Nineties, a Granada was a mark of faithful service for the middle management reps whose daily task was to pound around round to Potters Bar. A mild (or not so mild according to model) pat on the back for years of successful sales targets. Even today, Henry’s big saloon is a common sight. However, the drivers at the wheel are second-hand buyers who’ve bought into big car motoring for supermini money.
The ‘rounded shape’ Granada, with its flush-fitting glass, made its debut in 1985, a large five-door car with a huge interior. Initially, the engine line-up was unremarkable; underpowered 1.8 and 2.0-litre four cylinder units; 2.4 and 2.9-litre V6s. Plus a nasty, noisy 2.5-litre diesel. The 1.8 and 2.4-litre variants didn’t last long fortunately, and the carburettor 2.0-litre gave way to a fuel-injected engine of similar size in 1990, when a saloon was also added to the line-up. There was also a 4×4 option on 2.9-litre models, which lasted between 1987 and 1990. At the beginning of 1992, design specialists IAD masterminded a restyle which actually looked quite handsome. An estate was also announced at the same time and a 2.5-litre turbo diesel launched a year later. The range was replaced by the bug-eyed Scorpio (essentially a Granada with new nose, tail and cabin styling) in 1994 but you’ll find lots of 1995-registered Granadas about. A rather dowdy image but a lot of car. Arguably, the later Granadas were pretty good looking; they were certainly huge inside and very well equipped. The major drawback is the fuel consumption and high insurance premiums.
Granadas are uncomplicated cars – but that doesn’t mean that you won’t end up with a rogue example if you’re not very careful. The car has been around long enough on the used market for many cars to have gone through two or three owners. The more rounded Granada was introduced in 1985, initially only as a five-door, and vehicles from this era are priced very much on individual mileage and condition these days. You best bet is to go for the latest model possible. Prices for a 1993 K-plate 2.0-litre LX start at £800, while a 1994 M-plate Executive Estate with the same engine will be £1,100. A 2.5-litre turbo diesel from 1994 will be in the region of £1,600 and the last of the thirsty 2.9-litre petrol engined models cost around £2,000 on a 1995 M-plate. Avoid 1.8-litre and early 2.0-litre petrol cars and the normally aspirated diesel. Look out for ex-police cars and ex-taxis. The estate models are so large that many tradesmen use them instead of vans. Steer clear of high mileage examples; the odometer might lie but sagging driver’s seats and shiny steering wheel rims won’t. A lot of car for not a lot of money. If image, manoeuvrability and fuel consumption aren’t an issue, you couldn’t do much better.
(approx based on a Granada 2.9 V6) As you might expect, parts are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. A clutch assembly is around £90. Front dampers are in the region of £40 each and a set of rears around £55 each. Front brake pads are around £40, a full exhaust about £200, a catalyst about £250 (plus a £10 surcharge for the old unit) and an alternator around £150. A starter motor is just over £160 (plus a £30 surcharge for the old unit), a front wing about £115, a door mirror is around £70 and a tail lamp is about £50. A headlamp is about £160 (for vehicles with an additional beam), a radiator is about £130 (plus a £10 surcharge for the old unit) and a windscreen is around £120.
On the road, the big Ford handles pretty well for a car of its size – though potholes can be a little unsettling for it. The steering, though a little light at first, builds in ‘feel’ as your speed rises enabling the car to be hustled along with surprising pace if the need arises. Neither the two-litre or the 12-valve V6 versions are exactly balls of fire – but do more than enough to satisfy the likely demands of potential owners, the V6 reaching rest from sixty in 11.3 seconds on the way to a top speed of some 122mph. More importantly perhaps, the big Ford is user-friendly. Behind the wheel, everything falls to hand easily. In the rear passenger compartment, head and leg room remain unmatched by any contemporary rival.