The Ford Mondeo is a piece of automotive architecture in the UK. Back in the 1990s, PM Tony Blair targeted the votes of ‘Mondeo man’, confirming its entry into the lexicon of Great Britain. Today, sales aren’t what they were – models such as the S-Max and Edge provide internal competition, while Mondeo man today prefers his Audis and BMWs. It’s still an important vehicle for Ford in the UK though, ensuring its company car portfolio is comprehensive.
Did you know? The word Mondeo is Latin for ‘world’, but the name itself doesn’t now have a global presence; in the United States, the Mondeo is known as the Fusion.
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A decent large family car but one that’s no longer as standout as it once was. Older Mondeos used to handle really well, which gave base-level BMW and Audi buyers reason to pick a well-specced Mondeo over their default choice. The current one no longer has quite the same flair, and is a bit more humdrum as a result. Without this USP, the reason to pick one over a premium alternative is dialled back a little – despite the presence of the premium-wannabe Vignale versions.
Design & Exterior
Interior & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Spec & Trim Levels
Running Costs & Fuel Economy
Good-looking and very spacious car
Strong equipment levels
Pretty good value when compared to an Audi or BMW
We Don’t Like
Interior quality ought to be better
1.0-litre better in theory rather than in practice
No longer drives quite like a Mondeo ought
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Design & Exterior: (7/10)
The latest Ford Mondeo is a good looking car. Ford has been braver than many expected with the styling, giving the latest Mondeo a distinctive front end (squint and you’ll see a bit of Ford Mustang in it), clean body sides and an almost coupe-like rear end. In the right colour and with a big set of alloys, it looks very striking – particularly on the move, courtesy of its ultra-bright LED running lights.
It’s at its best in more upmarket trims. The base Style’s wheels are too small, and its body isn’t fully colour-coded. Crucially, it’s missing those LED running lights. Ford does good business with its ST-Line models, which add a body styling kit, and some estates even get a rear spoiler, ensuring plenty of company car park kudos. Your colleagues will certainly think you’ve got one over them on the engine choice list…
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Interior & Comfort: (7/10)
The Mondeo’s interior is decent and workmanlike enough, but not as impressive as the exterior. The style is rather plain, with an expanse of grey plastic, and the materials themselves also lack premium class. It feels just a bit too cheap in places, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to go up against Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Both the centre console and steering wheel are packed with buttons, and the dials look downmarket unless you choose a more upmarket model with a 10-inch TFT dial cluster. The dash lacks the attention to detail some now expect in this sector: it seems particularly downmarket in areas such as the air vents and lower dash sections.
Equipment levels partly compensate. Every new Mondeo gets the latest Ford Sync 3 infotainment system, with 8-inch colour touchscreen. This has DAB, Apple CarPlay connectivity, and helps add tech-laden substance to the interior. Graphics are crisp and it’s an intuitive system to use. All models also get an electronic parking brake, to clean up the centre console, and dual-zone climate control.
Another Mondeo boon is interior space. It’s enormous within, with an extremely wide-ranging driving position with the space and adjustment to surely fit everyone, no matter how big or small they are. Those in the rear are well off as well: there’s good legroom (even if it’s not a match for the Skoda Superb) and the plunging roofline doesn’t hurt headroom for most people. It is a bit odd to see manual rear window winders in the basic Style, mind.
Yet another Mondeo strength is boot space, particularly in the hatchback. That gigantic tailgate opening reveals a 541-litre load space, which is extended to 1437 litres by folding the rear seats. The estate ranges between 500 and 1605 litres; the saloon, because it’s a hybrid, has a much smaller 325-litre boot. The batteries have to go somewhere…
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Technology & Connectivity: (8/10)
Ford fits its Sync 3 infotainment system to all Mondeos. This is a boon: it’s a comprehensive system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Applink connectivity, meaning pretty much any smartphone and device should hook into it via the USB socket without bother. It lets drivers control their smartphone through the crisp 8.0-inch touchscreen without having to pick it up.
The swish screen lets you operate it with multi-touch and swipe gestures, just like a tablet computer. You can customise the home screen as well, forward-loading your preferred apps as you do on a smartphone. More than one person using the car? You can set up several home screens with settings preloaded when you unlock the car. Potentially less successful is voice control, although Ford promises the latest system is an ‘enhanced’ set-up so should recognise more British accents: if it can understand you, it will let you alter pretty much everything, from climate control, to sat nav, to text messages, to phone calls.
The Mondeo offers other tech gadgetry too. Active park assist promises to slot you into a parking space just 20% bigger than the car itself – without hitting anything around it. The system extends to park-out assist as well: if others have squeezed you at both ends, let the car take over and get you out of the space stress-free. All Mondeos come with the Ford MyKey system: this lets, say, parents pre-programme a key for their children, which will restrict the car to a set top speed.
Meanwhile, the Mondeo Vignale comes with active noise-cancelling tech. This uses electronics to silence the interior, making it even more refined than the regular model.
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Performance & Handling: (6/10)
Fords are generally good-to-drive cars, with crisp controls and plenty of well-developed feel. The Mondeo, despite extensive development in the United States, does not initially disappoint here. All the major controls have linearity and a premium feel; the gearshift is nice, steering isn’t slack or spongy, and the car proves responsive in corners while also riding nicely at speed.
The emphasis has been dialled back on the sportiness of previous models, though. Showing its US roots, the Mondeo is nowadays a bit more of a cruiser, without quite the poise or sharpness of the previous car. Given high expectations set by previous Mondeos, this will disappoint a few, perhaps, but the payoff is pretty accomplished motorway abilities, albeit without quite the same feel of control when roads start to get more challenging.
Most Mondeos come with diesel engines, despite Ford offering several petrol alternatives. The 2.0-litre TDCi has several power outputs and the 150 horsepower unit is an OK all-rounder; we’d choose it over the downsized 1.5-litre TDCi 120, and not bother with the 180hp 2.0-litre. If you really want petrol, go for the 160hp 1.5-litre Ecoboost: the 240hp 2.0-litre is too much, and the 1.0-litre 120hp isn’t nearly enough for a car of this size.
Ford offers a so-so hybrid Mondeo called the iVCT. Frankly, you’re better off with the 1.5-litre TDCi if ulitmate economy is all, while the 2.0-litre turbodiesel isn’t far behind and, unless you’re really worried about diesel car emissions, would be our pick every day of the week. Meanwhile, Ford’s near-baffling array of drivetrains lets you pick from manual or automatic, front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. Again, we’d keep things conventional with a manual front-driver: economy suffers as soon as you start to add on more.
Recommended engine: 2.0-litre TDCi 150
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Safety Features: (7/10)
Euro NCAP assessed the Ford Mondeo in 2014 and awarded it a five-star crash safety rating (to back up strong results when tested over in the United States too). Adult occupant protection was good at 86%, and child occupant safety scored 82%, although safety assist was a bit more average on 66%. Features such as autonomous emergency braking were reserved for the options list, and even speed-limiting cruise control was optional. Lane-keeping assist was also available, but as an option.
Today, Active City Stop remains an option on every car rather than a standard-fit: if the Mondeo were retested today, it thus may not score five stars, because the Euro NCAP tests have become more strict. Ford does offer a rather standout option for rear seat passengers though, that’s worth noting: inflatable rear seatbelts, that help spread forces over an area five times greater than a regular belt in an accident. Serious injuries are thus less likely to occur as a result.
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Specs and Trim Levels: (8/10)
Pick from 10 colours with the new Mondeo – but only one, Blazer Blue, is a standard hue. So-called ‘Premium’ metallics include Frozen White, Magnetic, Moondust Silver, (the gorgeous) Deep Impact Blue and Shadow Black; ‘Exclusive’ colours are Tectonic Silver, Guard Green, White Platinum and Ruby Red.
Our favourite, by a clear margin, is Deep Impact Blue. Once you’ve seen it, chances are it’ll be your pick of the range too.
Base Mondeo Style is a box-ticker that you sense Ford doesn’t really want to sell to you – see it as a fleet special. At least it ticks the essentials, with Sync 3, DAB, climate and cruise control plus alloy wheels (albeit rather meagre 16-inch rims).
Zetec is the effective entry-level model. This adds more body-colour styling features, 17-inch alloys, Quickclear heated windscreen, LED running lights, cruise control with speed limiter plus side windows finished in chrome: once you’ve seen a basic Style with its black window surrounds, you’ll quickly err towards Zetec. Above this is ST-Line, which has more sports body styling features, 18-inch alloys, front sports seats and sports suspension.
Titanium is where things start to get feature-packed, with all-round parking sensors, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, auto lights and wipers plus keyless entry with the ‘Ford Power’ starter button. ST-Line X adds part-leather seats, and a whole host of interior styling features, while Vignale is super-posh: it has premium leather, Sony audio, heated steering wheel, LED headlights and all the VIgnale styling features that extend to rear privacy glass.
The Mondeo offers standard alloy wheels between 16-inches and 18-inches: no regular model has standard 19-inch wheels, although they are available as an option on ST-Line and Titanium models, should ride quality be less of a concern to you. The Vignale? This has 19-inch alloys as standard, which might knock back the luxury aspirations of its ride quality…
Size and Dimensions
The Mondeo is a big car. It’s 4871mm long, 1852mm wide and, once you add in door mirrors, it’s more than 2.1 metres wide. Curiously, the hatchback is a little longer than the estate: normally, estates are stretched over hatchbacks… maybe this is why the estate has a smaller seats-up load capacity than the hatch?
Max towing weight without brake
From 400kg (1.5 TDCi 120) – 750kg
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Running Costs & Fuel Economy: (8/10)
Ford offers some well-targeted CO2-reducing models in the Mondeo range. One of the most striking is the 1.0-litre Ecoboost, which has sub-120g/km CO2 emissions and claimed economy of 55.4mpg. In reality, we think it’s unlikely to be anywhere near as impressive. This is a big car and a tiny 1.0-litre engine will have to be worked hard. Although there’s a big difference on paper, the 48.7mpg 1.5-litre Ecoboost 160 might prove just as economical in the real world…
The 1.5 TDCi 120 claims a staggering 78.5mpg and just 94g/km CO2 emissions, better even than the 70.6mpg of the hybrid. We’d steer clear of both and pick the 67.3mpg 2.0-litre TDCi 150, again because we think that’s most likely to deliver in everyday driving. Want even more? There’s an Econetic version, which claims 68.9mpg. At least you get a six-speed gearbox with all Mondeos, cutting engine revs on the motorway where most of them spend all their time.
Reliability and servicing
Note this carefully: it’s 12,500-mile service intervals for petrol-engine or smaller 1.5-litre TDCi diesel-engine mondeos, or 18,000 miles for the 2.0-litre TDCis. Company car drivers who cover a lot of miles but are looking for the best-value option may still be advised to go for a 2.0-litre TDCI 150 instead of the 1.5-litre TDCi 120, simply because of the convenience factor. Saying that, Ford has the largest dealer network in the UK, so getting a Mondeo serviced is never likely to be troublesome or expensive.
As for reliability, the Mondeo is faring well. It was on sale for several years in the United States before arriving here, giving plenty of time to iron out any faults.
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The Mondeo starts at just over lb22,500 as a diesel, or just over lb21,500 as the 1.0-litre petrol. But the effective entry point is the 2.0-litre TDCi 150 Zetec, which costs from lb24k. For around lb1600 more, ST-Line adds on the styling features and the feature-packed Titanium in our choice 2.0-litre TDCi 150 is similar money – take your pick. VIgnale prices are formidable: just under lb30k for the TDCi 150. You could get An Audi A4 2.0 TDI for that, albeit one without anything like the Vignale’s equipment.
And that’s the draw of the Mondeo’s pricing – more kit than the premium norm, to make up for the lack of premium brand appeal. Factor in some excellent leasing deals, and it’s no wonder why Ford still sells so many of them…
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Zetec – Despite the price-led allure of Style, we’d strongly recommend you trade up to Zetec. You get so much more for your money.
Company Car Buyer
2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec – Sub-110g/km CO2 emissions, decent economy and all the standard kit you need. It’s a company car 101.
Vignale – You’d certainly set a trend with a Mondeo Vignale: for similar money to a working-spec Audi A4, are you brave enough to take the lead?
Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport
The natural arch-rival to the Mondeo is all-new for 2017 with a stylish, tech-packed new upmarket-looking hatchback called Grand Sport
The current sector leader, Skoda’s well-priced Superb aces it in pretty much every respect. It’s also absolutely enormous inside
A well-priced alternative, Kia’s increasingly comprehensive Optima range offers plenty of bang for your buck. A big and good-looking car, too
Another perennial Modeno alternative, the Passat is always there or thereabouts: not flash but very, very well rounded and able
The most value-priced of the big German three premium brands, chances are most Mondeo company car drivers will also have one eye on an A4 in the user-chooser lists…
What others say
“The new Ford Mondeo is more refined, spacious and high-tech than its predecessor, but it no longer sets the class handling benchmark.”
“The new Ford Mondeo majors on space, equipment and value – with a little less dynamic verve than we’re used to.”