Ford facts

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I do not want to harp too much about Ford dependability, because items repeated tend to lose their impact. But I must just tell you that the Ford 2.0 twin-cam XR4x4 Sierra I am driving is living up to the reputation of its predecessor, the 2.8 V6 of the same breed. The latter completed over 42,000 miles before the switch, with not one iota of misbehaviour. The smaller-engined four-cylinder successor has run 22,500 miles with the same 100 per cent reliability. Now I am aware that this is not much of a mileage at which to assess a car. Something in the six-figure mark is more to the point.

Yet when I read of a Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CD that suffered jammed wipers after 2500 miles and the rear silencer of which came adrift at 5000 miles, of a VW Corrado G60 which needed a new gearbox in less than 4000 miles, of a Rover Montego bursting its fuel-pump diaphragm after 7000 miles, of a Seat Toledo GT that expired with a loose alternator, of a new Land Rover Discovery having to be towed away when its alternator fell off and of a Nissan Primera which had warped brake discs, into the bargain failing to start when it had run less than our Ford’s present mileage, why shouldn’t I praise a little my experience of Ford reliability and not only mine, for I hear of a 1.6i Ghia that in 15,500 miles required only a 30p fuse and one tail-lamp bulb…

The Ford Sierra went into dock, not through any fault of its own or its driver, but for body repairs that were the consequence of a third, inattentive party. Indeed, there is little to report since the car was last mentioned in these columns. The tyres wore out a little sooner than on previous Fords. By 18,900 miles, two of its Uniroyal Rallyes would not have complied with the new 1.6 mm minimum tread depth and two of the others were within 1.7 mm of illegality. The Dunlop SP Sport in the boot, which had been bought to replace a faulty Uniroyal, was virtually unused. There had been a tendency, not very pronounced, for the back tyres to wear out before those on the front wheels of this 4WD Ford, whereas on previous 4×4 Sierras the opposite applied.

The solution was a drive to the Kwik-Fit depot in Hereford, en route for the VSCC Brooklands Meeting, where Nigel Evans fitted four of Pirelli’s chunkily-treaded P600s quickly and efficiently, and Kevin Foulkes checked them while we used the waiting room on this chilly morning. Price: £340. Kwik-Fit guarantees all new tyres against manufacturing defects throughout their legal life, which is reassuring. I chose Pirellis because they were in stock, not because of any particular preference. As I said last month, it is difficult to decide on which make of tyre one should fit. It will be interesting to see how they wear, compared to the Uniroyals and Michelins I had on the previous 4×4 Sierras.

Although regularly serviced (£35.11 at 18,000 miles) the driver’s door now refuses to shut completely, impeded by a projecting wiring conduit for the rear window-lift. A legacy of the accident impact, maybe? Then, happy with those new tyres, I was returning along the M40 when the car in front threw up something that blistered the screen. Another trip to Hereford for Autoglass to fit a new screen when time permits. Oil consumption is negligable and unleaded fuel consumption hovers at around 30mpg.

It’s a 100 per cent first time starter, even when it’s been left in the open on a freezing night. The heated front screen is a boon the following morning, as is the pinpoint light in the ignition key on a dark night.

That’s the Sierra saga to date. I remain well satisfied.