The diesels are most popular, and for good reason. The 2.0-litre, whether in 138bhp or 161bhp guise, is smooth and exceptionally strong. The 113bhp 1.6 diesel is just about brawny enough to cope with the Mondeo’ Estate’s bulk, too, but it struggles when you’re loaded up. The 2.2 diesel is disappointingly flat at low revs. Most of the petrol engines feel gutless, with the exception of the 2.0-litre Ecoboost engine, which is available in two states of tune.
The Mondeo is all things to all people. Keen drivers love its sharp handling, ample grip and responsive steering, while high-mileage drivers appreciate its unflappable composure on any road. When the family’s on board the Mondeo’s comfortable, well-controlled ride comes into its own. You can specify adaptive or sports suspension, but when the standard model is this good, why bother?
Only the merest flutter of wind noise is noticeable at the national limit, and although some road noise does intrude over coarse surfaces, it's never a major annoyance. Engine refinement is equally impressive. A slight vibration at tickover and a hard-edged note under heavy acceleration are all that betray the diesel nature of the 138bhp TDCi.
The Mondeo is by no means the cheapest of the family estates, and residual values aren’t as strong as those of some other cars in the class. However, Ford will happily give you a huge discount to ease the financial sting. The cleanest versions give sensational fuel economy and CO2 figures, too, so tax bills will be reasonable for company car drivers. Leasing rates are also affordable.
The Mondeo's interior features a soft-touch covering for the top of the dashboard and all the switchgear operates with slick precision. There are also high-gloss centre console coatings and modern graphics. Some of the plastics in the lower reaches of the cabin do have a rather hard, grainy texture, but they're pretty solid.
The days when you could get into a Ford with a bent coat hanger are long gone, and the Mondeo is one of the most secure cars you can buy. Safety, too, is right up with the best, with crash and pedestrian safety very much a driving force in the Mondeo's overall design. All cars come with electronic stability control and seven airbags, including one for the driver's knees.
The first thing that strikes you on sliding behind the wheel is just how big this car is. The high window-line forces you to sit with the seat cranked up, and even then it's not easy to judge the extremities of the car. Fortunately, the seat is supportive and there's masses of adjustment to help you make yourself comfortable. The standard dashboard layout is simple, too, but satellite-navigation brings a touch-screen that makes things overly complicated.
Getting in and out of the Mondeo is a doddle, thanks to wide-opening doors and minimal wheelarch intrusion, and once ensconced, there's oceans of leg- and shoulder-room. Additionally, there's a boot you could get lost in, as well as split-fold rear seats which may make you think twice before placing your order for that MPV.
Ford hasn't skimped on equipment on the Mondeo. All models come with air-conditioning, cruise control, remote central locking, powered front windows, a heated quick-clear windscreen, Bluetooth phone connection and a CD player with MP3 connectivity. There are several other trims beyond the basic, all with varying amounts of luxury equipment.
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The Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 140 Zetec is well worth the extra over the less powerful diesel, this 2.0-litre is the best Mondeo for those doing the mileage to warrant a diesel.