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.

Ford Orion MKII grey
Mk2 Orion

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 nametag was dropped altogether in an effort to boost sales of the Escort range.

Orion Ghia
Photo: Ford Orion Ghia Mk1 (1984)

Ford Orion 1.6GL rear end
The rear end of an Orion 1.6 GL

Interior of a 1988 Ford Orion
The interior of a 1988 left hand drive 1.6 Orion

Ford Orion Ghia i Ford Ad Card
An Orion Ghia i featured on an advertising card

Ford Orion engine bay 2
The engine bay of an Orion, although it's not stated by the photographer exactly which model.

1989 Ford Orion 1600E
A 1989 1600E which has seen better days!

Ford Orion ยด84 rear

Rear view of a 1984 Orion

By Marco (Astrobit) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1986 Ford Orion - public domain image

Public Domain image of a 1986 Ford Orion - grey

Ford Orion (22948585922)
By TuRbO_J from Adelaide, Australia (Ford Orion) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ford Orion (22543626867)
By TuRbO_J from Adelaide, Australia (Ford Orion) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1985 Ford Orion 1.6 Ghia (9703742418)
By Charlie from United Kingdom (1985 Ford Orion 1.6 Ghia) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1983 Ford Orion GL in Ocean Blue

Public Domain Photo (free to use) of a 1983 Ford Orion GL in Ocean Blue

Dieppe, France (3959800618)
By Mic from Reading - Berkshire, United Kingdom (Dieppe, France) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Doncaster Classic Car and Bike Show 2014

A Ford Orion with it's bonnet up. We're not suggesting for one minute that they were unreliable, though.

1988 Ford Orion 1.6 Ghia Injection

Although I wasn't a big Orion fan, I always thought this model looked quite smart. I especially like those wheels.

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