Vintage R&T Road Test: 1975 5-Liter Ford Granada – “The Perfect Car For Mother To Buy”


(first posted 10/30/2016)    The Ford Granada was one of Lee Iaccoca’s bigger hits, and a perfect follow-up to his Mustang II. It started out to just be the replacement for the Maverick, but Lee sensed the market was changing quickly, due to the energy crisis and other factors. So he quickly changed it into a mini-LTD with some Euro-affectations; one could say it was a poor-man’s Seville, with the same basic formula. And he pushed it as a cheaper Mercedes 280 competitor. Predictably, Americans lapped it up.

Road and Track, with a very acknowledged bias towards genuine sporty/small/enthusiast cars, was a bit wary of the Granada, in this case powered by the 302 V8. But except for the very poor (and predictable) rough road handling and numb steering, terrible fuel mileage (12.5 mpg) they found it reasonably adequate enough. Not for themselves personally, but as one staffer said: “it’s a car he’d like to see his mother buy”.


The interior was a mish-mash of European influence (the excellent front seats came directly from the European Granada) with very American-flavors, like the decidedly non-Euro dash. No one will confuse thta with a Mercedes dash.


One could say that the Granada was a precursor to highly successful Taurus ten years later. Both redefined what would become the effective standard-size American car, while the big cars became a cut above. And both had a mixture of American and European influences.


Like so many American cars back then, the Granada handled well enough on smooth pavement, but totally fell apart when the going got rough. That’s one of the very key differences between a crude suspension with a rigid axle on leaf springs and a genuine Mercedes suspension.


It’s a question that should not have ever been asked.


But it sold, and who knows how many Americans were taken in by the ads?


Now if R&T had tested the Granada with the 70 hp 250 six, the outcome might have been a bit different. We awarded that version with a major prize, based in part on the review of one with that engine:
Automotive History/Vintage Review: 1975 Ford Granada Wins “The Most Malaise Car Ever” Award – A Triumph of (Imitative) Style Over Substance