Cruising comfortably

The Ford Mondeo is more refined, spacious and high-tech than ever before, but rivals have leapt ahead in this class

The Mondeo is available as either a hatchback or an estate, and both body styles have an abundance of space for passengers and luggage, making them very practical for families. The engine line-up is blessed with performance, but the diesels are very smooth and efficient, and offer enough power to get by on the road.

The disappointment with the current Mondeo is that it lacks the handling characteristics that made its predecessors shine. It’s not woeful by any means, but the fun of the old cars has been lost to a more comfortable set-up that’s more at home on the motorway than on a fast country road. That’ll deter some drivers, but the Mondeo is still a good family car nonetheless.

Despite the shift upmarket, the Mondeo is still a little behind the curve compared to higher end brands, and although it used to be a common sight in company car parks, its popularity with buyers has clearly waned since it first went on sale 25 years ago.

Whether you choose a basic Mondeo, an upmarket Vignale or the Mondeo Hybrid, you’re getting a spacious family car with plenty of kit and handsome looks. An update in 2019 saw those looks given a subtle revision, although the Mondeo still has hints of the Mustang sports car about its appearance, especially up front.

The current Mondeo platform was developed in the US, and its bias towards comfort over sharp handling was a distinct change for the Mondeo.

Engines, performance & drive

Thanks to the fact that the latest Mondeo is part of Ford’s ‘One Ford’ philosophy, more emphasis has been placed on ride comfort and interior quality than driver enjoyment and handling agility. Where the old car was the sharpest steer in this class, the new one feels softer and less focused. The steering, for example, feels much lighter and has less feel, and the body leans more when you’re cornering at speed. It also feels cumbersome around town thanks to its sheer size and tricky visibility. ST-Line cars with sports suspension do handle with a bit more composure, however.

That said, the Mondeo is a far more refined prospect than before, with a notably better ride quality. It’s softer around town, particularly on models with smaller wheels and standard suspension, while it’s excellent on the motorway too, thanks to well isolated wind and road noise.

It’s still reasonably pleasant to drive, but it has lost its sparkle that made the older models special – or the class-leader, the highly enjoyable Mazda 6. Optional self-levelling rear suspension is worth considering if you’re towing or carrying heavy loads regularly, while four-wheel drive is also available on some models.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

Ford now offers the Mondeo to buyers with either diesel or plug-in hybrid options. The 163bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol is no longer included on the price list, but this engine has greatly impressed us. It doesn’t have a major slug of low-down torque, but it revs very cleanly, sounds good and is supremely quiet when cruising.

Ford also offered a 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol Mondeo with 237bhp, although it’s no longer offered. It wasn’t badged as an ‘ST’, but it was the fastest model in the range when it was for sale. 

As for turbo diesels, Ford focuses on its latest 2.0 EcoBlue motor. It comes in 150PS and 190PS forms with 148bhp and 187bhp outputs, although Ford also sold a 207bhp version in the past. As it stands, the 148bhp model is the manual and the 187bhp version is found with the auto gearbox, although neither feel especially rapid.

The petrol-electric Mondeo Hybrid accounts for only a tiny handful of UK sales. Emissions from 127g/km aren’t particularly competitive, and the car’s increased weight blunts the Mondeo’s stodgy handling even further, while the CVT transmission makes the powertrain unpleasant to use under acceleration.

MPG, CO2 & running costs

Overall the Mondeo range doesn’t quite have the fuel economy figures to match the best in class, even though Ford has introduced a new range of EcoBlue diesels. It doesn’t help that the tougher WLTP fuel economy test also brings the figures down.

If you’re after maximum frugality, the best engine of the bunch in terms of efficiency is the 2.0 EcoBlue 150PS. This has a WLTP best of 56.5mpg with the manual gearbox, and 52.3mpg for the auto version.

Go for the more powerful EcoBlue 190PS, and Ford claims 50.4mpg for the auto (there’s no manual gearbox option), which is the same maximum achieved by the 2.0 TiVCT Mondeo Hybrid. Adding four-wheel-drive to the diesel sees a return of 46.3mpg.

Looking at emissions, the Mondeo Hybrid just beats the diesel models with a lowest CO2 figure of 127g/km. The 148bhp EcoBlue oil-burner produces from 130g/km, while the 187bhp version is higher at
147g/km of CO2. It’s important to remember that adding automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive will impact emissions and overall economy.

Insurance groups

Insurance is very competitive by class standards. The 1.5 EcoBoost and least powerful 2.0 EcoBlue have the lowest insurance grouping at 23. The 190PS EcoBlue is in group 26, while the Mondeo Hybrids are group 27 and the priciest Vignale is still a respectable group 29. 

Depreciation

Ford says it intends to sell only 20,000 Mondeos each year – that compares with 100,000 units in the model’s heyday – but even so, residuals aren’t as strong as the VW Passat due to the perceived badge value. Make sure you secure a good discount if buying new.

Interior, design & technology

While the Mondeo is undoubtedly still recognisable, Ford’s emphasis is to take it away from the humdrum rep-mobile of old, and make the model stand out from the crowd. The styling was first seen on the US-market Ford Fusion back at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, but production delays caused by the global recession pushed back the car’s European launch until 2014, while a facelift arrived in 2019.

The sleek front is similar to the latest Ford Focus and Fiesta, complete with an Aston Martin-style grille, while the rear end has a clean and smart appearance. The shape looks – and is in fact – more aerodynamic, thanks to an arching roofline. Ford claims the new profile, active grille shutters and underbody panels contribute to a 10% reduction in drag. 

ST-Line models look even smarter thanks to 10mm lower suspension, a neat bodykit, honeycomb grille and tinted windows.

Inside, the Mondeo is not only a major improvement over the fussily styled old car, but better than the US-spec Fusion too. Sober (but solid) materials lend it a mature, premium look and feel. It’s a shame that the centre console plastics let it down a bit, but the rest of the touch points are nicely soft to the touch.

The range-topping Vignale version adds chrome detailing on the outside, unique alloy wheels and a bespoke leather dash. It’s certainly plusher than the standard model, but not yet plush enough to see off the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class with which the Vignale competes at this price point.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The touch-sensitive climate control panel fitted to the Mondeo in America has been ditched in favour of a far more user-friendly physical button set-up. You still get a large eight-inch central touchscreen for things like the radio and sat-nav, but the climate control and heated seats are now controlled via conventional buttons.

A DAB radio/CD system is standard (including sat-nav on the Titanium grade), or a premium 12-speaker system is optional. Two USB connectivity ports are provided, while the latest SYNC3 voice-activated connectivity system enables you to make hands-free phone calls and hear text messages. It also lets you control music by using your voice, and allows wireless connections to your devices. Connectivity features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.

Practicality, comfort & boot space

The Mondeo’s rakish looks don’t compromise its interior functionality, thanks to the fact the car is so big. There’s plenty of space for five adults and a big boot. A deep centre armrest, big cupholders and extra space behind the floating centre console mean oddment storage in the cabin is another Mondeo strong suit. The optional panoramic sunroof makes the car feel much more spacious inside, too.

The large exterior dimensions make this a cumbersome beast, and the hatchback’s narrow rear screen limits visibility and makes parking tricky. You might therefore consider Active Park Assist, which can steer you into parking spaces at the push of a button. Having located a suitable space as you drive past, it then steers you in.

Size

At 4,871mm long and 1,852mm wide, the Ford Mondeo is definitely among the largest cars in its class – although surprisingly, the estate is fractionally shorter than the hatchback (at 4,867mm). 

Overall the Mondeo range comfortably outsizes its main rivals like the Vauxhall Insignia (4,842mm long), Skoda Superb (4,861mm), and VW Passat (4,767mm).

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Getting into the Ford Mondeo is very easy thanks to its wide-opening doors. And because of its large dimensions, it comfortably accommodates five adults. Even tall people will enjoy lots of space in the back, although headroom can be tight for the centre rear passenger. 

The Titanium X Pack model gives you 10-way adjustable heated electric front seats, which are very comfortable indeed. 

Boot

The standard hatchback boasts a whopping 541-litre boot, which expands to 1,437 litres with the seats down. It has the distinct advantage over saloon car rivals like the VW Passat and Mazda 6 that the tailgate opening is huge, so it’s very easy to load. 

The estate has slightly less room with the seats up, at 500 litres, but it offers more seat-down capacity at 1,605 litres. The boxier shape proves more practical in
day-to-day use, too.

However, the Hybrid disappoints – it has only 383 litres of boot space because the massive battery pack sits bang in the middle of the load area, eating up space. Even worse, the rear seats can’t be folded away. It’s a real shame that the batteries aren’t hidden under the floor.

Reliability & safety

The Mondeo scored a maximum five stars in its 2014 Euro NCAP crash test, thanks to a plethora of passive and active safety systems on board, plus a stiff body structure. Its adult occupant protection score was 86%, children 82% and pedestrians 66%.

Driver alert and lane keeping alert are standard on high-spec models and optional on others. 

Most of the best safety features are optional across the board, however. These include Active City Stop and Active Braking (two automatic emergency braking systems), adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and pedestrian detection. 

Warranty

Ford is very much middle-of-the-road with its three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. 

It’s possible to extend the warranty, at extra cost, to either four years/80,000 miles or five years/100,000 miles. Some rival brands do offer more generous standard cover, like Toyota (five years), Hyundai
(five years) and Kia (seven years).

Servicing

The Mondeo range has a service interval of 12,500 miles, which is about the industry average, but you do need to have a service at least once a year to keep the warranty intact. 

Optional ‘Protect Premium Plan’ service schemes can spread the cost of servicing. Ford offers two years/two services over 80,000 miles or three years/three services over 100,000 miles.

Verdict 3/5

Positives

  • Handsome looks
  • Good engines
  • Refined when cruising

Negatives

  • Feels big and heavy
  • Not the best handling
  • Disappointing hybrid

Price

£24,160 to £32,400

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