Road Impressions - The Ford Granda 2.8iS

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Another Triumph for Ford

Ford, who so frequently top the sales charts, having got their new baby car, Fiesta, off the styling-board and into production, and other new concepts of their so successful small-and-family-car models into the showrooms, have turned their attention to the top Fords of the range; with replacements for the older Granadas, etc.

I was recently able to try one of the top cars (the Ghia is more expensive) of this top-of-the-European-Fords range, the new Granada 2.8iS. Let me say right away that it is a very impressive car. The Ford V6 engine may have been devised years ago with the Zephyr Mk. IV and Transit commercials in mind, and very fast these vans are, but it has been admirably developed for the privateCars. This latest luxury Ford utilises the German developed, 2.8-litre 93 x mm. (2,792 c.c.) fuel-injection version instead of the Britishdeveloped Essex-type V6, which is now made only for the British Capri, Transits and industrial applications. This German V6 is a notably smooth-running power pack, providing excellent performance with 162 ft./lb. torque at 4,300 r.p.m. It is not only exceedingly smooth but has no rev, limit inscribed on a tachometer, that gives a top reading of 7,000 r.p.m. yet normally there is little call to ever approach the 5,700 peak r.p.m.; 70 m.p.h. in top gear conies up at 3,300 r.p.m. Yet here is an engine which gives 160 b.h.p., or an increase of 22 b.h.p. over the former 3-litre Granada V6 and it likes to be turning above 4,000 r.p.m. if performance is to he maintained. It is coupled through a rather tooeager clutch to a four-speed gearbox (on the car tested) which offered the expected very pleasant gear change, the lever possessing however a quite long travel and first-gear sometimes being reluctant to engage. The Suspension is to some degree on the harsh side but it gives very fast, roll-free cornering. In this the new Ford Granada is undoubtedly helped by the brilliant tyre performance of the new Michelin TRX radials which were specially selected for this car. They are phenomenal “clingers”,. in the wet or the dry, and quiet with it. The feel of the rack-andpinion power steering is odd on first acquaintance and needs getting used to. The tyres appear to be too soft and contrive to lack any real feel, until confidence is gained in this remarkable combination of Michelin tyre-technique and the S-Model Granada’s variable-rate springing. Then the sense of safety and the enjoyment of fast cornering knows no bounds. I can vouch for the fact that in torrential rain, a driving cross-wind, at dusk, on a busy Motorway blacked-out by the Power-workers, I drove this Granada faster than most, not because I was in a hurry or in any way brave but simply because Ford have made a car in which this felt absolutely safe.. . .

The new Granada has a fresh body-style, of good lines, although the frontal aspect is so different from previous Fords that I found the car difficult to tind in crowded car parks. This is a body of ample passenger and baggage-carrying capacity, with excellent vision for the driver, and a discreet interior decor, with a perhaps forbidding black facia containing, behind the steering-wheel, the 140 m.p.h. speedometer, tachometer, and the fuellevel and water temperature dials. As on other cars thesedays; including the Rover 3500,. there is provision for dimming the lighting of the instruments but not for totally extinguishing the light. There is a clock away down on the console, with the cigarette lighter.

The uncalibrated oil-gauge, on the left of the instrument panel, worried me by indicating only very sluggishly, after the engine had started, hut a check with the dip-stick showed plenty of lubricant in the sump and oil-thirst worked out at a modest 1,350 m.p.p. For easy inspection it would be better if the oil and fuel gauges were transposed.

This latest Granada has very comfortable seats, nicely upholstered in cloth, hut there is sonic body resonance and exhaust drum. The driver soon comes to appreciate the fairly small turning-circle from steering asking 31-turns, lock-to-lock, and the light action of the powerful, but juddcry, brakes. The I.h. Control stalk works the turn-indicators, as on German cars, along with the horn, two r.h. stalk-controls looking after the lamps and screen-wipers. The luggage boot lid no longer has to be unlocked with a key and there is the convenience of central door-locking on this new Ford. It also has another 1110st acceptable piece of equipment, an external driving mirror adjustable from inside the car, and by manual means instead of with the electrical complexity used by Rolls-Royce and BMW.

Plenty of useful stowages are provided, from a lockable under-facia well and big nearside open parcels shelf, to two smaller open wells. The former excellent Ford heating and ventilation arrangements have been improved, the claim being 30 per cent more heat output and a complete change of air every 20 seconds at 40 m.p.h. There is 3-speed heater-fan, the knob of which matches that for rear-window de-misting, and the screen-wipers have an intermittent action which can be adjusted so that they wipe intervals varying from every four to every 20 seconds. Add to such individual amenities the splendid sunshine roof, and it will be seen that this road-test Granada lacked for very little. However, such extras as the sunshine roof, central locking and remote control mirror had added £380 to its £5,910 basic price.

I would not necessarily rate this fine new Granada as a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW eater so much as a most acceptable luxury car in its own right—there is nothing to be ashamed of in owning a Ford and Ford-fans will surely regard this as a very inspiring example of what this great Company can do with European expertise. If you are looking for a biggish car that feels unbreakable, not in any way ostentatious, but which will go to 117 m.p.h. if you let it, accelerating; from rest to 60 m.p.h. in nine seconds, just like the big V8 Rover, and gave me 26 m.p.g. of 4-star fuel in hard motoring, need look no further. The fuel tank gives range of some 320 miles. It is such a that on a car of outstanding driver-vision the wipers left a blind-area on the off-side of the windscreen, however.—W.B.

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