Used Car of the Year 2010 - Overall winner

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Winner Overall winner
Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Zetec 5dr
Year '07/07 Price £8600
It’s hard to find fault with the Ford Mondeo. It's a comfortable cruiser for covering motorway miles, yet it's still great fun to drive and makes an extremely capable family car. There's loads of cabin space, and it's solid and well put together. The fact that it's now available at bargain prices means you'd be mad not to put the Mondeo at the top of your used-car shopping list.

What’s it like to live with?
Despite being introduced over three years ago, it still looks fresh, inside and out.

The dash is really easy to find your way around, and even though there are quite a few buttons, they're all big and clearly labelled. There's loads of adjustment for the front seats and steering wheel, so everyone should be able to get comfortable in the driver's seat.

The standard car rides impressively smoothly, although there is still a sporty edge for those who enjoy taking the long way home. Some cars come with the Zetec sports suspension pack and larger alloy wheels, and although the ride is firmer it's never uncomfortable.

We think the flexible and refined 138bhp 2.0 IDCi is the bee's knees, but you might be tempted to save some money and opt for the 1.8-litre diesel with 123bhp, However, it's not as refined and its power delivery is poor. There's also a more powerful 2.2-litre diesel, available from mid-2008 onwards, but it doesn't offer much extra in the way of performance so it's not worth paying much of a premium for.

If there is a fault, it's the car's size - it takes up quite a bit of road space, and it's also difficult to judge where the comers are from the driver's seat. Zetec trim comes with a cracking specification, including alloy wheels, climate control and cruise control. Desirable options include the upgraded stereo system with CD multi-changer and the rare satellite-navigation system.

However, don't get talked into paying a hefty premium for these - they're not worth it.

Click here for our Ford Mondeo spotter's guide
What to look for
The majority of Mondeos start life as company and fleet cars, and some of the best examples spend a large amount of time on the motorway. Look for cars with little or no signs of wear on the passenger and rear seats, and that have generally been well cared-for.

Generally, the Mondeo has proved solid and reliable and no obvious problems have cropped up. However, there have been some engine issues reported, with a few 2.0-litre diesels cutting out unexpectedly while driving. Dealers can solve this with a software update to the car's ECU.

The keyless entry and ignition system fitted to some cars can stop working, stranding owners or locking them out of their cars.

Many owners complain of loose or rattling cabin trim, especially around the dashboard and driver's door, while there have also been reports of seat problems, with the side bolsters of some collapsing after only a short time. Fleet and lease companies have a habit of losing the car's service history and spare key, so make sure you ask the seller to show you both before you agree a price.


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