I've always thought that the Orion (nicknamed the "onion") was a bit of a pointless and unexciting car. The fact that you were, basically, buying an Escort with a boot just didn't appeal to me whatsoever.
However, one model in the range that was worth considering was the 1.6i. This featured the very same engine as the sporty XR3i, but the insurance was a fair bit cheaper. Apparently, though, the XR3i had a lower ratio gearbox which gave it more acceleration.
The Orion was built for ten years between 1983 and 1993, shifting around 3.5 million units during this time. Despite being a popular saloon and the eighth best-seliing car of the 80s in the UK, the Escort and Fiesta were Ford's most popular cars.
As with the Escort, in 1986 the Orion had a facelift and the second generation models had improved engines, new suspension and updated trim. High-end models had the added luxury of ABD brakes and a heated front windscreen. All models could now run on unleaded fuel without modifications.
September 1990 saw the launch of the Mk3, although the design was rather uninspiring. Three years later and the Orion naemtag was dropped altogether in an effort to boost sales of the Escort range.
Photo: Ford Orion Ghia Mk1 (1984)
The rear end of an Orion 1.6 GL
The interior of a 1988 left hand drive 1.6 Orion
An Orion Ghia i featured on an advertising card
The engine bay of an Orion, although it's not stated by the photographer exactly which model.
A 1989 1600E which has seen better days!
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