What's the used Ford Mondeo like?
Once upon a time, if you wanted a good-value and spacious estate in the large family or executive class, you went as a matter of course to the Ford Mondeo Estate, especially if you wanted one that was good to drive, too.
The same still holds more or less true today, although rivals have certainly caught up a bit since the days when the Mondeo was still a fledgling. This latest fifth-generation version is larger than ever on the outside, while inside it’s still large, practical and comfortable. Now, though, it finds itself up against a number of particularly good and notably spacious wagons, such as the Skoda Superb Estate and Volkswagen Passat Estate, of which some are equally attractive financially.
Things start well, though, with a large range of punchy and efficient engines. Diesels are the most popular, and these kick off with the 1.6 TDCi, which is brisk enough for relaxing everyday use. This was replaced in later models by a more efficient 1.5 TDCi. The 2.0 TDCi is available with two power outputs: the 148bhp version is satisfyingly quick in most situations and makes the 178bhp option hard to justify. It's also available as an Econetic version with even lower CO2 emissions.
There are three turbocharged petrol engines, too: a 1.0 with 124bhp, a turbocharged 1.5 with 158bhp and a 2.0 engine with 237bhp. All are really nice to drive, and any thoughts that the tiny 1.0-litre engine might not be up to the job of hauling around the huge Mondeo Estate will soon be dismissed once you’ve tried it.
All engines get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, apart from the 2.0 petrol, which has a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Trims range from entry-level Style, coming with dual-zone climate control, cruise control and alloy wheels, through Zetec, which adds electrically folding door mirrors, a heated windscreen and electric rear windows, up to Titanium, which adds sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers and larger wheels. Titanium X brings lots of high-end kit including adaptive LED headlights, a leather interior, and keyless entry, while luxurious Vignale adds a panoramic glass sunroof, a 12-speaker Sony sound system and a noise-cancelling system.
Being one of Ford’s 'world cars', the Mondeo was developed largely in the US, and on the road, it doesn’t actually handle quite as sharply as Mondeos of old. It’s more grown-up, certainly, but it’s no longer as rewarding a car to drive enthusiastically. That said, the steering is light and there’s plenty of grip. The ride’s good, too, with the Mondeo absorbing large bumps and road imperfections admirably. Added to that, refinement is top-notch, and there’s little doubt the Mondeo is one of the quietest cruisers in its class, especially on the motorway.
Inside, it has comfort to add to that refinement. The driving position is excellent, with good visibility in all directions, the seats are supportive and there’s huge amounts of room in the front and back, with plenty of head and leg room. The rear seats even come with a novel inflatable seatbelt design, adding an extra element of safety for if you have an accident.
Bizarrely, the Mondeo estate actually has slightly less room in the boot with the rear seats up than the saloon, but in truth there’s not much in it and in both versions there’s seemingly almost enough room to house a small aeroplane. There isn't a height-adjustable boot floor, but what you get is easily accessible and usefully shaped and, above all, huge.