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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Rewarding drive, delightfully practical, keen prices

Against Engines lack refinement; car lacks a hard image

Verdict Compelling combination of driving pleasure, practicality and affordability

Go for… 1.8-litre LX

Avoid… V6 petrols

Ford Mondeo Hatchback
  • 1. Warranty Direct tell us that the axles and suspension are among the biggest source of problems
  • 2. The brakes can also give problems, so insist on a good test drive to check them out
  • 3. The best all-round engine is the 1.8 petrol - avoid the noisy 1.8TD and thirsty V6 petrol
  • 4. Hatchback offers excellent practicality - the boot is large and access is very good
  • 5. There's enough space in the back for three people to sit abreast comfortably
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Ford Mondeo Hatchback full review with expert trade views

You won’t find a more enjoyable family car to drive for the money. The Mondeo was the class of the field in its day, and even now its responses feel sharp and rewarding.

The ride quality may seem a little firmer than some of its rivals’, but it takes very poor surfaces to actually upset its composure. It remains unruffled at motorway speeds, too. The Mondeo will cruise at the legal limit all day long in hushed calm, although the diesel models are noisier than the free-revving petrol units.

The driving position should prove comfortable for most people, the controls are a model of sensible design and there’s enough space for three abreast in the rear. The middle-rear passenger will have a three-point belt on all versions, too.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Needs to be late model with at least Zetec spec to fetch decent money

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The hatchback and saloon both offer a selection of 21 models – 16 petrols and five diesels - but although the diesels deliver more than 40mpg, they lack refinement.

The 2.5-litre V6 petrol isn’t as sweet as you’d imagine, either, so our favourites are the eager four-cylinders. Of those, the 1.8-litre offers the best balance of performance and economy, just shading the 2.0.

As for equipment, the basic Aspen trim is decent enough, but it’s better to head up the range to LX, which is our choice. It brings you all the creature comforts you need and nothing you can’t do without, although GLX raises the bar higher still. Ghia and Ghia X bring leather, wood trim, CD changers and cruise control, while Si and ST are the sporting models. Most Mondeos gained air-conditioning from February 1998.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Good reliability and average repair bills, but watch for suspension faults

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Many Mondeos were sold to company car fleets and hire firms, who are masters of scrutinising the bottom line. And, the running costs continue to make pleasant reading as a used car, especially for the private buyer.

The 1.8- and 2.0-litre models should run beyond 30 miles for every gallon of fuel, and the diesels will extend that to more than 40. The V6 petrols are a bit thirsty, though. You can reckon to get a good 5mpg or so less than with the 1.8s.

Insurance ratings are competitive and parts' prices are generally low, while average repair costs, including labour, are also good. According to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, a Mondeo is typically about one-third cheaper than a Vauxhall Vectra to fix. You can also save roughly 35% on labour rates by having it serviced at a good independent rather than a franchised dealer.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Needs to be late model with at least Zetec spec to fetch decent money

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Even the newest examples of this Mondeo will be long, long past their three-year manufacturer warranty by now, so you’ll be on your own if anything goes wrong with them – unless you buy yourself a used car warranty. So it's good news that Mondeos are pretty robust and reliable vehicles.

Claims made by Warranty Direct customers highlight the need to examine the suspension and axles carefully before you buy, as well as all the electrical equipment. The brakes, too, can also give problems.

The engines give very little cause for concern, however, provided that they are serviced on time and to the manufacturer’s standards, so look for a complete service history with your potential purchase.

Above all else, remember to be very choosy over condition and history. There are so many used Mondeos for sale out there that you should settle for a first-rate example only – and nothing less than that.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Good reliability and average repair bills, but watch for suspension faults

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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