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Fine Ford Mondeo shines even brighter

22:27 01 October 2015

Mondeo is one of the finest cars Ford has ever built and you appreciate that more with fewer on the road due to downsizing.

Mondeo is one of the finest cars Ford has ever built and you appreciate that more with fewer on the road due to downsizing.

Ford

Private buyers and fleets down-sizing to smaller cars mean the Ford Mondeo is not as common as it was on our roads but motoring editor Andy Russell hopes it means that people will finally fully appreciate its qualities rather than just dismiss it as a ‘repmobile’.

Fresh-faced for more presence

The new Ford Mondeo seems to have more presence than it used to. It’s partly because, with trend for down-sizing to smaller cars, there’s fewer on the road but also because it now gets the new Ford family face with that big, classy grille.

That’s no bad thing because the Mondeo is still very much Ford’s halo model, a showcase of technology, so it’s actually becoming rather exclusive especially when you consider it is outsold in the UK by prestige-badged models – the Audi A3, BMW 1 and 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

And I think that makes the Mondeo more special. It’s always been a cracking car but familiarity bred contempt. Take the Ford badge off and it could pass as something prestigious on looks, feel and quality alone.

Ford Mondeo

Price: Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Titanium hatchback, £23,795 (range from £21,095)

Engine: 1,998cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 9.3 seconds; top speed 134mph

MPG: Urban 55.4; extra urban 70.6; combined 64.2

CO2 emissions: 115g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 21%

Insurance group: 23E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,871mm; width (including door mirrors) 2,121mm; height 1,482mm

How does it drive

It may have lost sales volume but the Mondeo hasn’t lost any of its driving appeal. It’s up there with the best mainstream family cars and can give some considerably more expensive premium models a run for their money.

That upmarket feel shines through with a supremely comfortable, controlled ride quality - a pleasant surprise given my test car’s optional 19in wheels. I wouldn’t pay an extra £500 for them but, if you do, you won’t feel short-changed on ride quality.

The Mondeo is a big car but a fine chassis disguises the bulk well in the way it turns into corners crisply with excellent steering feel and a poised, well-balanced stance through fast corners.

Space and comfort

Where you really appreciate the Mondeo’s dimensions is in the cabin with acres of space so five adults can travel long distance in comfort with plenty of leg and headroom all round for six-footers.

And the hatchback’s enormous boot – 541 litres with the seats up and space-saver spare – is actually bigger than the estate. It goes back so far that, if short like me, you almost climb in to reach to the back of it but you can get four decent suitcases in there and still have room for some small squishy items and bags.

Rear seats split 60/40 and lay flat, although there is a little step up from the boot floor, to create a 1,437-litre load bay packed to the roof.

The biggest issue is the reach to the high-opening tailgate which is also heavy and needs a sharp tug to shut it securely.

At the wheel

The thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster looks busy and a little daunting at first but the SYNC 2 connectivity system is one of the best around with an eight-inch touchscreen and voice control.

Ford interiors have felt special for some time now with soft-touch quality materials and gloss black panels and tasteful brightwork highlights to add to the upmarket feel.

The heating and ventilation system is one of the best I have come across, both for clearing the screen and the flow or air and how quickly it warmed up for a diesel.

Under the bonnet

The Mondeo has always boasted a good spread of engines and, while there are 160PS 1.5-litre and 240PS 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engines, diesels still lead the way with a 115PS 1.6-litre and 150 and 180PS 2.0-litre models.

If emissions and economy are your priority the 1.6-litre diesel will do the job but the extra power and pull of the 150PS 2.0-litre is more rewarding.

It pulls willingly for low revs but, with tall gearing for economy, needs a few revs on the clock before it really comes alive. A couple of times approaching junctions slowly in second gear, the Mondeo not only refused to pick up but actually stalled when I put my foot down.

That said, it never feels strained or sounds gruff when worked hard and returned a creditable 45 to 55mpg overall depending on driving style.

Equipment and technology

Ford has always given good value when it comes to equipment with an emphasis on safety and useful technology features. But delve into the affordable options list and you raise the level of protection even further for occupants and other road-user with the likes of inflatable rear seatbelts to spread load forces for £175 and automatic city braking for £200 – not a lot of money but it could save a lot of grief.

Final say

I’ve always liked the Mondeo and rated it as one of the best mainstream family motors on the road. But it was the ‘Ronnie Rep’ and Mondeo man image, sheer volume and resulting mediochre residuals that put me off.

Hopefully, now there are fewer of them being sold, we’ll see the Mondeo in its true light and appreciate those often overlooked qualities that make it so good to drive and live with.

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Meet the Editor

Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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