Ford Mondeo Review

Find out more about the Ford Mondeo in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£11,219
Average Price
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  • Pros
  • Value for money
  • Generous kit
  • Lots of luggage space
  • Cons
  • Fairly high depreciation
  • Feels a bit cheap inside
  • Doesn’t hide its size and weight
  • MPG
    37 - 58
  • CO2
    108 - 172 g/km
History

The Ford Mondeo has become ubiquitous on British motorways, ferrying families from A to B and becoming the go-to saloon car for company fleet organisers.

When it was introduced in 1992, it had undergone one of the most expensive research and development programmes the auto industry had ever seen. And it paid off, because a year later it won What Car? Car of the Year before scooping the title of European Car of the Year in 1994. It would go on to win countless more gongs over the years, and continues to do so today.

With the large saloon car market ballooning with rivals and most families switching to crossovers and SUVs, it’s no surprise to see that Ford has seen Mondeo sales numbers fall over the years.

However, the release of the latest generation near the end of 2014 saw sales almost double for 2015, proving that there’s still an appetite for this icon of British roads.

Latest model

The fourth-generation car that was released in 2014 was beset with delays. First announced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, it was originally slated for launch early in the summer of 2013.

However, because of the closure of Ford’s Genk factory in Belgium, the car was delayed by about a year. This gave the company time to address quality issues encountered with ramping up production – the car had been released in North America in 2013 under the name Fusion.

Once the Mondeo finally hit the road, reviewers noted that it was decidedly bigger than the car it replaced, with a more upmarket appeal thanks to generous equipment levels. What the Mondeo does particularly well is sit at motorway speeds with little noise intrusion from the outside world, meaning it should continue to appeal to fleet buyers.

The range of engines on offer is also well suited to company car buyers, with a good selection of diesels, petrols and a hybrid. Unusually for a car of this size, there’s a 1.0-litre option, which has attractive fuel economy figures, while the hybrid option’s CO2 emissions dip below the magical 100g/km.

Ford also introduced a Mondeo Vignale model, which is part of the company’s premium range of cars that offer a VIP ownership experience. In this trim, there are subtle styling upgrades, swathes of leather inside and your own customer relations person who’s always on hand to help you out.

Value for money

As part of the Mondeo’s move towards a more premium buyer, Ford has given the former rep-mobile a makeover. Some of the plastics and buttons can feel a little on the cheap side, but overall the illusion of class is evident.

The Mondeo comes well equipped, with DAB radio and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard – in 2016 Ford replaced the old, fiddly operating system with the newer Sync 3 software, which made a big improvement. If you can avoid Sync 2 on used cars, do!

Other standard equipment includes cruise control and automatic dual-zone climate control.

Optional equipment includes integrated satellite navigation on Zetec models and above, adaptive cruise control, glass roof and a premium Sony stereo system.

The least expensive entry to Mondeo ownership is a Zetec model with the 1.0-litre petrol engine, costing £21,395. For the same money it’s possible to get a top-spec 2015 model – one of the early versions of the current body shape – which comes absolutely loaded with kit.

Automatic headlights and wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation and a TFT cluster display are just a few of the features loaded on to high-spec Titanium models. Shrewd buyers might also be able to haggle two-year-old ‘Titanium X Pack’ Mondeos down to about £20,000. These cars came with LED headlights, heated leather seats and keyless entry.

Video Review

Looks and image

For its fourth generation, the Mondeo was completely overhauled, and that’s no more evident than in the exterior styling. Many have jokingly compared the car’s front grille design to that of an Aston Martin – and that can only be a good thing.

For motorway mile munching, the Mondeo is easily one of the best in the large family car market. In particular, there’s very little road noise, which makes long distances relaxing, while everything feels well screwed together. However, the improvements in comfort and refinement come at the detriment of the car’s fun handling. Keen drivers looking for a family car that’s also fun when the roads get twisty would be better looking towards the Mazda 6.

However, those on a tighter budget looking for sporty handling from their big saloon or estate would be extremely happy with a second- or third-generation Mondeo built between 2000 and 2014.

Space and practicality

One of the key advantages of the Mondeo’s massive size is the fact there’s a lot of space for passengers and luggage.

Even for tall adults, the rear seats offer decent leg and head room. And if three people are in the back, passengers won’t be uncomfortably cosy widthways, either. The seats are wide and comfortable both front and rear, which help to relax passengers and increase the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin.

The third generation is near enough identical in size to the latest variant so it offers similar practicality, making it great value for those who don’t need the most up-to-date model. The second generation is marginally smaller again, while the original Mondeo is actually smaller than a modern Focus.

The boot is where the Mondeo comes into its own, offering a cavernous 541 litres of space in the hatchback with the seats up. The large boot opening also helps the Ford stand out over rivals as it’s so easy to load. The estate is, perhaps surprisingly, less spacious in the same configuration, offering 500 litres. However, with the seats down that expands to a massive 1,605 litres, while the boxier shape makes it more practical for odd-shaped items.

All of this combines to make you wonder why families need bother with a crossover. There’s plenty of space in the rear for the kids to be comfortable, and plenty of luggage and storage space for all of the toys and accessories that so often travel with youngsters.

The Mondeo rates incredibly highly for safety, earning five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test in 2014. A stiff body structure and plenty of safety systems contributed to the high score.

Engines

Open a Mondeo brochure and flick to the engines page and you could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed at the seemingly dizzying array of options before you. However, once you simplify for variations in transmissions and performance, it’s simpler than it looks.

There are two diesels available in four different power outputs, three petrols with three outputs, and one hybrid option.

On the petrol front, it’s the 123bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost that’s most intriguing. It marks the entry point to the range and comes with impressive economy claims of 55.4mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 119g/km.

However, in such a big car that weighs close to 1.5 tonnes, the little engine has to be revved out so as not to get bogged down. It’s smooth, sounds great and doesn’t feel underpowered, but when you’re forced to sit high in the rev range most of the time, economy suffers.

The other petrol engines are a 1.5-litre unit making 158bhp and a 2.0-litre making 236bhp. The former offers a good compromise between performance and economy, while the latter will be much more expensive to run long-term.

As for diesels, there’s a 1.5 with 118bhp and a 2.0 available with 148, 178 and 207bhp. None is particularly inspiring, so either go for the full-fat, high-powered version and enjoy the performance, or opt for the 148 model and enjoy uninspiring but economical motoring.

With official figures approaching 70mpg – it varies depending on transmission and wheel size – running costs should be low, while CO2 emissions hover a little above 100g/km, making it attractive to fleet customers.

Last, but by no means least, is the hybrid. This powertrain will be mighty appealing to business customers thanks to CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, while fuel economy comes in at 67.3mpg.

Running costs 

Long-term running costs won’t be cheap, but they’re mostly in line with rivals in this segment.

Plump for the mid-range diesel engines and you’ll find general costs for fuel and road tax are impressively low. Most engine configurations find themselves in an insurance group between 20 and 25, meaning they’re a little less expensive to insure than an equivalent BMW 5 Series but pricier than the Volkswagen Passat.

Under the new road tax rules that take effect from April 1, 2017, all new cars will cost £140 to tax each year, except fully electric vehicles, which will be free. There is also a one-off road tax charge for the first year of registration, with more expensive and more polluting cars charged more.

The vast majority of Mondeos fall beneath the £200 first-year rate, with the hybrid and 1.5-litre diesel engines offering the least expensive road tax at £120 for year one.

For buyers looking at cars with higher CO2 emissions, used vehicles are a more attractive prospect because those first registered before April 1 will use the old tax rules. For example, the 158bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol mated to an automatic gearbox emits 152g/km of CO2, so under the new rules it will cost £500 to tax in its first year, then £140 per year after that. Under the old rules it would cost £185 per year.

So after three years of ownership, owners will pay £780 in tax under the new rules, whereas they would only pay £555 for a car registered before April 1.

Things to look out for

Unfortunately, reliability isn’t the Mondeo’s strong point. Consumer magazine Auto Express’s owner satisfaction survey marks both the current and previous generation of Ford’s large family car poorly.

The previous version of Mondeo scored third from bottom for reliability, with the current car faring only slightly better.

Some of the most common complaints are related to build quality, with pieces of trim coming apart and requiring constant maintenance. Minor electrical gremlins such as faulty alarm systems are another issue raised by owners.

Rivals

The Mondeo has seen sales decrease over the past decade as more and more families turn to MPVs and SUVs instead of the traditional family estate. However, the segment offers a wide variety of rivals for those not keen on crossovers.

Chief among them is the Mazda 6, which combines a classy, stylish exterior with a choice of frugal engines and plenty of interior space. Where the Mondeo has sacrificed fun handling in favour of comfort, the Japanese rival manages to offer both.

The Skoda Superb, meanwhile, is slightly less expensive to buy and holds its value a little better, too. It’s the best for space and is dynamically more than a match for the Mondeo. If the badge on the front isn’t important to you, it’s well worth a look.

Depreciation warning

The Ford Mondeo doesn’t fare too well in the depreciation stakes, either. Despite the brand’s attempts to move the car to a more upmarket buyer, it still doesn’t quite have the draw of something like a Volkswagen Passat, which will hold its value a little better. Be prepared to drive a hard bargain with the dealer.

The fact the Mondeo is so popular also works against it in the used market because there’s no shortage of cars in the classifieds.

Which Mondeo to Pick

Trims Explained

Like most Fords, the Mondeo comes in a range of trims that appeal to different drivers based on their style and preferences.

Style

The most basic trim level is Style, which comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, cruise control and dual zone automatic temperature control. On the exterior, there are 16-inch alloy wheels and LED taillights, while estate buyers get chrome roof rails and a tonneau cover.

The least expensive option is the 1.5-litre diesel at £22,245.

Zetec

The next trim up is Zetec, which actually represents the cheapest entry to Mondeo ownership as it comes with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, starting at £21,395. Upgrades include larger 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and power folding mirrors

Inside, the infotainment system gets satellite navigation, while chilly mornings are made more bearable by the addition of Ford’s Quickclear heated windscreen technology.

Titanium

In Titanium trim, improvements include front and rear parking sensors, a push-to-start button and sports seats. Extra safety kit such as traffic sign recognition and a lane keeping aid come as standard.

Prices start at £24,345 for the 1.5-litre petrol engine and manual transmission.

ST-Line

The ST-Line trim is designed to mimic the styling of Ford’s sportier models and comes with a body kit, 18-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension. The interior gets sport seats and alloy foot pedals.

Prices start at £25,595 for the 2.0-litre diesel engine making 148bhp.

Vignale

At the very top of the range is the Vignale model, which is part of Ford’s VIP ownership experience programme. It has its own styling touches with unique 18-inch alloy wheels, while the interior is covered in premium leather. Exterior noise intrusions are kept to a minimum by active noise control of the engine and acoustic side glass.

Summary

  1. Used cars can be better value because of high depreciation
  2. Loads of interior space for luggage and passengers
  3. Comfortable ride and quiet at motorway speeds
  4. Not as fun to drive as the Mazda 6, which is just as comfortable
  5. Questionable build quality can cause headaches long-term
  6. Vignale spec offers premium ownership experience, but is pricey
  7. Decent comfort and convenience technology available even in lower trims
  8. It’s slightly more expensive to insure than rivals such as the VW Passat
  9. Wide variety of engines for every need
  10. Still a brilliant alternative to more fashionable MPVs and SUVs