The 1.6 TDCi isn’t quick, but it’s more than adequate in everyday use
Diesel options kick off with a 1.6, which is our pick of the range for company car buyers. It accelerates smoothly from low revs and is brisk enough for relaxing everyday use, as well as offering the best company car tax costs. So don’t be put off by the prospect of a small engine in a big car – it does the job well.
The 2.0-litre diesel is available with two power outputs. The 148bhp version is satisfyingly punchy in most situations, although it can feel a little sluggish in top gear on the motorway when you need more acceleration. It doesn’t feel much slower than the 178bhp option, though, so the higher-powered model is hard to justify.
The 148bhp 2.0 TDCi is also available as an Econetic version, which has slightly different gearing to the standard version in order to get lower emissions, but doesn’t feel very different to drive and is worth considering.
There are three turbocharged petrol engines: a turbocharged 1.0-litre unit with 124bhp, a turbocharged 1.5 with 158bhp and a 2.0-litre engine with 237bhp. We’ve driven the 1.5, which offers smooth acceleration and doesn’t need to be worked hard despite the small capacity, and is really nice to drive in general, but running costs will rule it out for most Mondeo buyers.
All engines – diesel and petrol – get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, apart from the 2.0-litre petrol, which has a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Ford Mondeo Estate ride comfort
Avoid big wheels for a really comfortable, settled ride
Unlike the Passat Estate and the more expensive ‘executive’ rivals such as the BMW 3 Series Touring, the Mondeo isn’t offered with adaptive dampers. Instead, you get conventional suspension that does a good job regardless of the road surface, particularly if you opt for a model with smaller alloys. The suspension soaks up big bumps and fine cracks and ruts, leaving you feeling well isolated in the cabin.
Cars with 19in alloys (optionally available on Titanium) can feel choppy over poor town roads, although even these versions settle well on the motorway.
Self-levelling rear suspension, which keeps the ride height the same even with heavy loads in the boot, is available at a reasonable cost on all trims.
Ford Mondeo Estate handling
Very close to the more expensive BMW 3 Series
The Mondeo handles well for such a large car; it feels agile, turning in to corners eagerly, and stays planted and upright through tight twists and turns. It’s also worth noting that the Mondeo benefits from this wieldy handling without the aid of any pricey optional adaptive dampers, which the VW Passat and BMW 3 Series estates need if you want to get the best ride and handling balance them.
It’s just a shame that the steering, while precise in its responses, can feel a bit light, is too keen to self-centre, and doesn’t give you a great sense of how well the tyres are gripping.
Ford Mondeo Estate refinement
The quietest cruiser in the class
All the diesel engines are quiet and smooth, being a touch more free-revving than the engines offered in the Passat and quieter than those in a 3 Series and Mazda 6. The 2.0-litre units are particularly hushed, with only moderate noise at low revs that quickly fades to a distant hum when cruising on the motorway. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is even more refined.
Very little vibration can be felt through the steering wheel and pedals of all versions. There’s also minimal wind noise, so road noise is the most noticeable background hum at speeds. The six-speed manual gearbox has a light and precise – if long – shift action.
The entry-level model, which looks temptingly cheaper than the diesels and is only available in Zetec trim. This engine is great in smaller cars like the Fiesta and Focus, but those considering it should be wary of the poor resale values, and the fact that it’s likely to need to be worked hard for decent performance.
Great to drive, being refined, smooth-revving and punchy, and offering better performance than the 1.6 diesel, which costs the same to buy. It’s worth considering if you plan on doing lower mileage. Also available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Our pick 1.6 Duratorq TDCi Econetic
Our pick of the diesels for private buyers and company car buyers, thanks to a good balance of costs and performance. It’s a smooth engine, and while it doesn’t feel fast it’s more than responsive enough for easygoing everyday use. We achieved 53.3mpg in real-world tests of this engine. It’s not available with an automatic gearbox.
2.0 Duratorq TDCi 150 Econetic
Worth looking at for private buyers who value strong performance, but you’ll be paying substantially more up front than for the 1.6. It offers fairly strong mid-range response and revs cleanly and fairly quietly unless you really rev it out towards the red line. The hatchback version returned a slightly disappointing 45.1mpg in our real-world economy tests.
2.0 Duratorq TDCi 150
Much the same as the Econetic, only this engine is fractionally faster because it has slightly shorter gearing, but it’s barely noticeable in the real-world. It’s available in a high spec only, which makes it less recommendable than the Econetic in cheaper Zetec trim. Available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
2.0 Duratorq TDCi 180
Really refined by diesel standards, and decent acceleration, although it has a slightly more stepped power delivery than the 150 version. It doesn’t feel that much faster in the real world, either, not to mention being substantially more expensive for private or company buyers. Surprisingly, it returned slightly better real-world economy than the 150 version, at 49.3mpg. Available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
We haven’t driven this sporty turbocharged petrol version of the Mondeo, which is only available with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic, but it’s unlikely to be very recommendable over the similarly priced 2.0 TDCi 180, which offers much better costs and similar performance.