In 1982, Ford decided to start doing the middle class differently and replaced the traditional Cortina (on the Taunus continent) with a modern and unusual design Sierra. What was celebrated on one side of the English Channel (sales in Germany were amazing) found it difficult to find fans on the conservative pudding island.
In short, the very aerodynamic design of Uwe Bahnsen and Robert Lutz did not excite everyone, and in addition, at first there was no traditional sedan (common for the predecessor and competition), but only a liftback. The automaker corrected this mistake only with a facelift in February 1987. However, many Britons could not get used to the car based on the Probe III concept for a long time, so sales languished until the stock curtains were sold out and the malls took it to the mercy of the market. Nevertheless, the premiere took place in Britain, specifically on September 22 in Birmingham.
Project Toni, as it was called during the development of the Sierra, was officially launched in 1978. Production was not only in Britain and Germany, but also in Belgium and other countries scattered around the world. The new name was to symbolize the demise of several decades of established names (Taunus was produced for 43 years, Cortina for 20 years). As I said, customer interest was strong in Germany and tepid in Britain, but it worked in the end. Comparison tests also helped, where the Sierra usually won over the Ascona, Peugeot 505 or Passat. But it wasn’t enough to win the Car of the Year poll, the Audi 100 was simply better that year. In addition to the liftback, coupe, station wagon (a van derived from it) and sedan, the P100 utility pickup was also offered in some markets.
I am testing a station wagon after modernization, which was produced in 1990. The exterior of the car was modified quite fundamentally. It is most recognizable on the mask and new headlights with blinkers in the corners of the car. It was the original lights that were criticized for poor luminosity, this new design already has a better reputation. However, the rear lights and bumpers were also changed, here the ones with an elegant red stripe are used. The Sierra has a design affinity with the larger Scorpio model. The specific station wagon is decorated with wheels from the Cosworth version and it suits it very well.
The modernized interior helps overall comfort
The interior did not seem as radical as the design, but it was definitely modernized. You can recognize it, for example, on the better-shaped steering wheel. A novelty at Ford was directing the central part towards the driver, and the Sierra’s ergonomics are generally very good, except perhaps for the hazard lights switch behind the steering wheel. I must also praise the very comfortable and soft front seats, which make even the longest journey more pleasant. But you can also relax in the back. Additional equipment includes central locking, but this can become annoying in some cars at an advanced age. However, don’t rely too much on extras, you will often find pieces with poorer equipment.
The pleasant Sierra is still betting on the classic concept with the engine in the front longitudinally and rear-wheel drive in the regular versions. But I drive an ATV with an in-line four-cylinder eight-valve DOHC two-liter and a five-speed manual. All-wheel drive has been offered by Ford since 1985, when the XR 4 × 4 version came to the market. It is also not one of the oldest models with a carburetor, but already a version with an engine equipped with EFi injection and a controlled catalyst. Divorce is handled by chain. That means the Sierra has a respectable 123 hp (88 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 174 Nm at 2,500 rpm. A car with a weight of over a ton reaches 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds and reaches a speed of 195 km/h, the engine feels beautifully flexible.
Why is it so cool?
The criticized design meant a significant improvement in fuel consumption, even though the four-wheeler claims 9 liters and the tank holds only 60 liters. Sierra, on the other hand, delighted the drivers as soon as they got going. The independent suspension of all wheels worked great, and the potential of a car that often lacked more power was immediately apparent (especially the thirteen-cylinder or diesel models were criticized for this, not this two-liter).
Driving a quad also means I have sharper disc brakes at my disposal. The standard versions were often criticized as undersized. All-wheel drive is provided by the inter-axle Ferguson planetary differential, which prefers the rear axle in a ratio of 34:66. Thus, the Sierra is still a little inclined in corners, but it is confident and always keeps its track. And it behaves so beautifully that after a while I start to focus only on the ride itself and enjoy it.
But maybe I’d rather go back
There is play in the steering around the center position and I don’t feel as confident behind the wheel as I used to in a classic rear wheel. In short, the car is a bit unreadable, so I take turns with more respect than is necessary. But the car’s reactions foreshadow that the Sierra should work in any weather, i.e. in the wet or snow. And that sports variants that add a good portion of performance to this behavior will be really fun. Ordinary models, on the other hand, are beautifully comfortable and you won’t get tired of a long journey with them.
The Sierra finally lasted until December 1992, when it was replaced the following year by the round, front-wheel-drive Mondeo. In short, the Sierra became obsolete quite quickly next to the Opel Vectra or the Peugeot 405. It was sold out of stock for a while, and then it was very popular as a used car for a very long time, eventually becoming one of the ten best-selling cars in Britain. You see, they didn’t want her in the beginning.
And actually it still is today, only it’s getting harder to find a nice Sierra for sale and you’re more likely to get lucky in Germany for a few tens of thousands of crowns. However, you can easily pay a million for well-preserved Cosworth versions. If it “fails” you’ll be plagued by corrosion, but otherwise it’s a very reliable car, especially in this version.
It is worth noting the engine leaks and the faster-wearing silent blocks on the front axle and the front half-axle on four-wheelers. However, keep in mind that parts are no longer the easiest to find, but at least consumables are not expensive.