The change was slick and smooth, although you didn’t need it much due to the engine’s flexibility.
“It revs smoothly and freely, the balancer shafts obviously doing their job well so that at idle the engine can hardly be heard or felt,” we continued.
“The torquey engine is willing, so that although the car is hardly sporting in character, it is still enjoyable to use its good acceleration around town. By the same token, the smooth, silent low-speed running helps to take some of the strain out of nose-to-tail, stop-start commuting.”
Due to its large capacity, we expected poor fuel economy of the motor, but it returned a competitive 22.4mpg; we got 20.9mpg out of the rival 2.3 Ford Sierra Ghia automatic and 23.3mpg out of the Galant 2000.
Although we had an issue with the driver’s door pulling back at 70mph, creating a hiss and rustle of wind, “the Lonsdale proved quieter than many competitors” despite its “dated design”, with “remarkably little wind noise” bar that particular issue and little road noise. Very little vibration translated through to the car’s occupants.
“The fairly stiff-suspension set-up does allow the occupants to feel a poor road surface, but in fact ride comfort is very good considering the rigid-axle set-up," we wrote.
“The steering is possibly the car’s worst point from the British point of view. As we commented when we tested the Galant 2000 GLS, if there is one thing worse than low-geared recirculating ball steering, it is adding feel-less power assistance.
“At speed, there is more weight (the power assistance was speed compensating) but it is difficult to know exactly what the front wheels are doing in fast cornering.
“The vagueness may make it difficult to hold the car precisely on line through a fast corner, but at least cornering behaviour is well-mannered and quirk-free. Roll is moderate, and the car can be driven enthusiastically on winding roads, due to high limits of adhesion.” The brakes, too, proved to be “of above-average efficiency”.